Sometimes I don’t post stories for months, or even years, on end. This makes readers of Unconfirmed Sources very happy. I like making people happy. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say…quite the contrary…I could, given the right opening line, get as excited as a beered up Tea Partier scrolling through a photo-shopped spread of Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman doing unspeakable things to each other on an NRA banner. But hey, I’ve been busy. Being a slumlord in the Syracuse’s Westcott Nation during student turn-over time can be hectic. That said, I’d like to mention a few things to my new neighbors and tenants who are new here to this Central New York university town:
First and foremost…The Syracuse DPW (Department of Public Works) guys, despite how much we like to rag on them, do a hard job very well. Every week they pick up your trash and recycling, whether it’s festering and maggot infested in the Summer or frozen under piles of dirty snow in the Winter. Their job is hard and disgusting, but if you’re out when they’re on your street and say hello and thank you, they’re also a surprisingly good bunch of guys. So, make their job a little easier- don’t just pile rotting food into an overflowing open garbage can so that it spills out onto the street. Invest three freaking dollars in some trash bags. Don’t overfill the bags either; tie em closed and use two or three so the poor guys don’t have to heave sixty pounds of trash into the truck at once.
And put your recycling in the blue containers (it’s amazing that I have to even tell you this, but I’ve always said, give me a smart person over an educated one any day). Flatten your cardboard boxes. Rinse you plastic containers. Remember, open food brings skunks and rabid raccoons; if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do they’ll spray or bite you as you’re on you way to school and you’ll either die an agonizing death or become a social pariah.
Follow the alternate side of the street parking signs: it’s a pain in the butt, but there’re good reasons for it. Fire trucks and ambulances can’t get through our narrow streets with cars parked on both sides, so you may one day end up being responsible for the immolation death of some pretty young coed who couldn’t get out of her house in time because the rescue guys couldn’t get through and it’ll weigh on you for the rest of your worthless life until you become so consumed with secret remorse that you’ll blow your brains out in front of your children. And in the Winter trucks can’t plow with you’re stupid Mitsubishi Eclipses parked on the wrong side of the street cause you were too stoned or uncaring to move it across the road.
And by the way, the sidewalks are for what their name implies- walking. You’re young and strong (or fat and lazy…only you know the answer to that), but what makes you more important than women with baby carriages and old people with canes that allows you to park blocking the sidewalks with your cars? If you’re young and strong you can park down the street and walk. If you’re fat and lazy, you should park down the street and walk…it’ll do you good. And remember, the police will ticket you (mostly because I call them and ask them to- I actually add up the number of potential tickets and point out that if they hit a certain street, they’ll pay a cop’s salary for that shift. Works like a charm.)
And sitting on your front porch sucking on a penis-sized blunt, babbling inanities and playing beer pong makes you look like a worthless stoner. This is fine if you are a worthless stoner, but I’m gonna start posting photos of you doing it on a Face Book page and tagging your names to them so when you go looking for jobs after graduation your potential employers will find shots of you with vomit dripping down your tee shirt and a big wet stain on your crotches.
And finally, to all you guys who insist on using your houses as band rehearsal spaces: you’re not very good and listening you play at 100Db at two in the morning is annoying. Real students, the ones that came here to learn, are trying to sleep or study. Give em a break and cut your guitar strings, use your drum sticks for kindling and shut up till you’re a better player. Please, we’re begging you. (Yes, K, this means you.)
Now, I’m not a real slumlord, I just play one in the Westcott Nation. And it’s my home too. It’s a great place to live, even for a couple of semesters. We have a fantastic mix of ethnicities, political viewpoints, social and religious beliefs and whether you’re an Army major going for an MBA so you can work at the Pentagon or a worker at the Syracuse Peace Council, you’re welcome here. We’re tolerant and open minded, as long as you’re not acting like a complete idiot. Are be honest, you’ve been acting like a complete idiot, haven’t you? So now that classes are beginning, calm the hell down and act like good neighbors. In return, we’ll be nice to you. Mostly.