One reason I might not be suited for home ownership is that I live in fear of breaking something.*
This is in sharp contrast to my brother-in-law Gary, who is a superhero homeowner. Gary will take on any job, anywhere, even if it’s in someone else’s home, even if that person is a complete stranger. He turned his family’s house into a multi-level, state-of-the art, architectural masterpiece, from its starting point, which at various points early in the process, resembled a tent.
Gary’s philosophy regarding taking on home improvement projects is similar to the one many people have when trying a new hair stylist: if it doesn’t turn out well, don’t worry about it because it will grow back. Gary is simply confident that, if he does screw something up, he will be able to fix it.**
My philosophy, on the other hand, is that pretty much anything is better off if I don’t mess around with it. If I had been in Pompeii when Vesuvius erupted, I would have somehow made it worse.
For this reason, I am reluctant to dig on our property. This is difficult to do anyway because there are so many rocks just beneath the soil. Our friend Joel, who lives nearby, is very proud of all the rocks he has dug up on his property. (“Wait till you see all the rocks I dug up,” he will say, much in the same way people used to show you slides of their family vacation.) Joel grew up around farm equipment and, while I haven’t looked in his garage, it’s possible he owns some sort of industrial-strength professional excavator of the type used to take the clothes off a woman on an ItalianTV show, thus demonstrating that America has fallen far behind the rest of the world in the area of game show stunts.
But even if I had access to major yellow-colored construction equipment, I’d be reluctant to dig on our property for fear that I would rupture some essential underground pipe that is responsible for bringing something into, or taking something out of, our house. I could, of course, also rupture some personal internal organ.
And I’m proud to say that my “hands off the land” policy has proven to be the wise course of inaction, lest I find myself in a situation that one Sausalito resident recently encountered when, while digging in his front yard, he came across a World War II pineapple-style hand grenade. I imagine this must have come as quite a shock, unless that’s what he was digging for.
I figure the grenade got there either because some Nazi had a really strong throwing arm, or because it was left behind during the filming of Steven Spielberg’s 1941, a comedic epic that was poorly reviewed upon its initial release but that, upon repeated viewings, actually is pretty bad.
Not surprisingly, neither of those scenarios is likely to be the case. Sergeant William Frost of the Sausalito Police Department told The Huffington Post: “A lot of WWII vets brought back souvenirs from combat. There was not as tight control of keeping weapons from battle.” Then, in an obvious, but extremely weak attempt to calm the general populace, he added, “as more WWII vets die, there will be more stories of people finding weapons they weren’t expecting to find among their belongings.”
Okay, two things here. First: I think the U.S. military should adopt a new policy of giving discharged personnel a snow globe from wherever they served, so they don’t take home other kinds of souvenirs that could explode 60 years from now when some poor guy is trying to plant a tulip bulb.
And second, anybody want to buy a used spade?
See you soon.
*By no means is this the only reason I’m not suited for home ownership.
**Interestingly, Gary has used the same hair stylist for something like 20 years, primarily because she’s hot.