This is an essay about my former neighbors, who I will call the Garza family. I used to live in an illegal, non-soundproofed basement apartment in a house in which the family upstairs from me consisted of a “mother,” a “father,” and their three spawn. These spawn, who all have names that begin with the same letter (isn’t that precious?) were unfortunate enough to inherit their parents double digit IQs, and are so stupid that they’ll never be able to hold down a real job, which is to say that they’ll follow in the footsteps of their “father” and become cops. I’m sorry. That wasn’t fair. I shouldn’t have referred to Gil as a “father.” And I shouldn’t have called his 250 pound wife, Lauren, a “mother.” Nor should I have referred to them as “parents.” Gil and Lauren are not parents. Parents teach their children common courtesy. Parents instill values into their children. Parents teach their children right from wrong. Breeders, on the other hand, do none of those things. Breeders have children just to have them. Gil and Lauren are breeders.
Let’s start with Gil. Based on his speech, hobbies, mannerisms, and wardrobe, Gil is a fifteen-year-old trapped in a fifty-six year old’s body. Just like with most boys, sports (or, as Gil would call them in his stupid Brooklyn accent, spawts) are the central focus of his life. Since I’m not a caveman, sports mean nothing to me. George Carlin put it best when he said that “sports is just like television in that it’s used to distract the public from how badly they’re getting fucked by the top one percent.” I agree. I hate it how sports fans determine their level of happiness or sadness based on how well a group of overgrown idiots that they’ll never meet chases a ball. News flash: if “your” team wins…you still have to go to work tomorrow. If they lose…you still have to go to work tomorrow.
I hate how sports fans talk. Two fans of the same team will say to one another, “Hey, did you hear that we traded Parker to the Brewers in exchange for two Minor Leaguers?” We? Who’s we? Unless you play for the team, or unless you are the team owner, there is no we. You’re a sixty-year-old plumber. Lose the “we.”
My father is a sports fan, and every few years, I’ll attend a live sporting event with him as some sort of father and son male bonding ritual. He has no idea how much I hate sports. I’m not saying that I sit there and stare at my wristwatch, counting down the hours and minutes until it’s over; it’s only for two or three hours, once a year, that I do this, but it’s true that I would rather be doing pretty much anything other than sitting in a ballpark. This was particularly true about six or seven years ago when I saw the Mets play the Yankees at Shea Stadium. I sat there for hours and watched the fans scream at each other and hurl insults back and forth. There were even a couple of fistfights. I sat there thinking, Are you fucking kidding me? This is actually going to drive you cretins to violence? I realized that Noam Chomsky was correct when he asserted that a love for sports is “misplaced nationalism.”
Since it’s not newsworthy, “news”casts should not cover sports. I particularly hate it when a New York team makes it into the playoffs because then, in addition to the five minute sports report at the end of every newscast, the news dedicates the first fifteen minutes of its reporting to “Playoff Fever.” I don’t care that t-shirts are flying off of store shelves that read that the Yankees are 2010 ALS champions. That’s not newsworthy. I don’t care that a bunch of people that were watching the game in a bar were really excited when Plaxico Burress scored a touchdown. That’s not newsworthy. I don’t care about how Bob from Long Island is such a big Jets fan that his entire basement is decorated with Jets memorabilia (yes, ABC Eyewitness News actually did a story on that). Notice, however, that I did not include the Mets in any of these examples. That’s because the Mets are losers who only get into the playoffs about once every twenty years or so. Appropriately, Gil Garza is a huge Mets fan. Don’t get me wrong. The law of numbers dictates that the Mets will eventually win another championship. But when they do, that will not make Gil Garza a winner. It will make him feel really good for about a day, but then he’ll remember that he has to continue living his pointless life. He’ll remember that he’s married to an ugly cunt, and that he’s stuck “raising” three children that he wishes he never had. But until then, he screams and shouts in his living room when the Mets hit a homerun. Specifically, it’s three “yeah’s” in succession, each one louder and longer than the last.
It’s as if, with each “yeah,” he’s trying to convince himself more and more that what he’s seeing is important, because it’s the only thing that gives his life “meaning.” After all, his wife and kids are clearly garbage, and he never earned an honest living (he was a cop in Bed-Stuy, and everyone knows that the more dangerous the precinct is, the more crooked the cops are). Gil’s cheering reminds me of this passage from the short story “The Coming” by Bosnian writer Andrej Nikolaids:
A person’s degree of primativism in an urban setting can be gauged, I maintain, by the disturbance he represents for other people. A primitive person is unable to exist in quiet discretion: he always creates noise, unsightliness, and stench. He does everything he can to be noticed– he constantly emits his existence. His being is a blow to the senses and an insult to the intelligence. He mistreats us with his very existence. When he celebrates, a considerate, tasteful person unfortunate enough to live next door to him is bound to suffer. What a primitive person enjoys inflicts pain on the civilized.
There’s an image that has always stuck out in my mind that, if I were to have photographed it, I would name it Portrait of Ignorance. Count how many ways this image is both ignorant and destructive. I once saw Gil wearing a Mets jersey with a matching Mets baseball cap and Mets shorts (misplaced nationalism) walking with his three kids (environmental destruction) down to the deli on the corner. They purchased a gallon of milk (animal cruelty, environmental destruction) and left the store with a gallon of milk placed in a plastic bag (environmental destruction, animal cruelty, foreign oil/terrorism). The only way in which he could have been more destructive, ignorant, and selfish would have been if he were to then hop into an SUV. Now one might argue that Gil can’t help it that he’s stupid. After all, they don’t discuss the issues of misplaced nationalism, overpopulation, animal cruelty, foreign oil, and terrorism during Mets games, so how would he possibly know about it? But I’m under the firm belief that in the Information Age, ignorance is a choice. And when your worldview matches Gil Garza’s, which is basically that “might makes right,” your ignorance fucking offends me.
What was probably the best quotation I ever heard about sports came from Bill Maher, who said, “You know, these sports fans walk around wearing their favorite players jersies as if it’s some sort of macho thing. Well, you’re wearing another man’s shirt. How macho is that?” Gil used to wear “another man’s shirt” constantly. Aside from the homoerotic undertones of this, again, does anyone over the age of fifteen wear these things and actually expect to be taken seriously? Even if you love sports, there comes a time when you’re supposed to acquire the wardrobe of an adult. Gil Garza has failed to do that.
One more note on Gil’s wardrobe. Radley Balko is the author of Rise of the Warrior Cop, which is about the alarming and unnecessary epidemic of SWAT teams being put to use against harmless American citizens. Balko describes the look of these demented cops who are eager to sign up for SWAT teams, and describes them as having a “Marines style crew cut with wraparound sunglasses.” What kind of haircut did Gil Garza have? A Marines style crew cut, with the wrap around sunglasses to match. And if that weren’t demented enough, the walking, talking, cliche also has an NRA sticker on his car.
It’s not surprising that Gil’s first wife left him, but what is surprising is that there is more than one woman on this planet that would actually want to fuck him. And that brings me to Lauren.
THE TIGER MOM
Countless surveys have shown that the more educated a woman is, the fewer kids she has. More specifically, these surveys reveal that educated women have, on average, either zero kids or, at the most, one kid. It comes as no surprise then that Lauren Garza has three. Now there’s not much to say about Lauren because, well, she doesn’t do anything. She’s fourteen years younger than Gil, which means that she was looking for a sugar daddy. I know what you’re thinking. If she were going to marry someone for their money, couldn’t she do better than marrying a cop? Well, if you were to take a look at her, you would immediately realize that the answer is no. Lauren wanted to breed, and she wanted to avoid working for a living at all costs, so she married Mr. Testosterone.
I recently came across an article about Megan Fox. Having no knowledge of science or how the scientific process works, she visited the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago in an attempt to discredit the scientific basis of its exhibits. The article’s content bothered me, and it bothered me further when I saw her picture and realized that she’s practically the spitting image of Lauren Garza.
This is the Megan Fox that Lauren Garza looks like.
I was also struck by the irony of the article, because not only does this moron look a lot like Lauren Garza, but they think the same way as well. I say that because I once made the unfortunate mistake of looking at Lauren’s Facebook page, and I saw that she had posted a video of a guy who “disproved evolution in under three minutes.” I won’t waste the reader’s time and insult their intelligence by pursuing this man’s line of “thought” further. Just understand that Lauren Garza looks like the woman above and is just as “smart.”
Before I continue, I should mention what my life was like in my old apartment before the Garza’s moved in. I first moved into that apartment in February of 2001 at the age of twenty-two. At the time, the homeowner/landlord, who I will call Vito, lived right above me (where the Garza’s would eventually live) with his wife and three young children. Even well behaved children are noisy–and like I mentioned earlier, the apartment was not soundproofed–but it didn’t bother me. For reasons that will become apparent, Vito is a piece of shit, but unlike Gil and Lauren Garza, Vito and his wife are parents, not mere breeders, so they were actually able to control their children. Vito and his family lived upstairs from me for about two years, without any problems, before moving to New Jersey. Vito then rented the apartment to a married, childless couple who lived there for about a year. I had no problems with them either. When that couple moved, they were replaced by a married couple that had, at first, three children. They lived there for about two or three years. Towards the end of that time period, they had a fourth child, which is probably why they moved (that apartment was too small to comfortably house more than two children, a fact that, not surprisingly, the Garza’s did not realize upon moving in). I had no problems with this family either. I even got along well with the Garza’s for about the first year that they lived there. At the time, the youngest of Gil and Lauren’s three spawn, who I will call Gary, was only about two years old, so his two older brothers, Gil Jr. and Glenn, were still relatively calm since any sort of roughhousing could really hurt Gary. But once Gary reached the age of three, all bets were off. All three of these little fucktards spent every hour of their existence doing one of two things. Either they wrestled with each other (which meant constant running and jumping off of furniture) or they played some sort of sport in the eight foot gap between Vito’s house (not their house, not my house, Vito’s house) and the house next door. Now when I say that they played some sort of “sport,” I define that word loosely. For example, if someone were to take a basketball and try to throw it through a basketball hoop, then that would be considered a sport. But when someone walks back and forth in a straight line, doing nothing but dribbling a basketball (because they’re “parents” are too lazy to buy them a basketball hoop and too stupid to provide them with the gift of literacy) well, that’s not a sport. Of course, there were three parks in the neighborhood where the kids could’ve gone to play basketball, but that wasn’t an option. I know that it wasn’t an option because I actually heard one of his kids ask Gil, on more than one occasion, “Dad, can you take us to the park?”
Of course he couldn’t take them to the park. That’s something a father would do. And besides, the Mets were on. Yes, Gil was the type of “father” who displayed “tough love” toward his children. Which is to say that when his kids told him that they would love to go to the park, Gil would say, “Tough. The Mets are on.”
One time, the Garza children decided to play baseball in between the two houses, and this resulted in them breaking the outside light of the next door neighbor’s house. He wasn’t home at the time. I was home, and so was my girlfriend, Aileen. After hearing the glass shatter, did Lauren discipline her children? No. Did she make them sweep up the glass? Of course not. She swept it up herself. Most importantly, when the next door neighbor came home a little while later, saw that his light was broken, and knocked on Lauren’s door, how did she respond? She responded the same way that she always responds when someone knocks on her door, which is by opening the door and immediately saying, “Oh no. What did my kids do now?” Aside from the fact that she was “playing” dumb, a normal person would be embarrassed to have to open the door in that manner, especially if they don’t work for a living and have no excuse to not be properly watching their children. When the neighbor asked her about his light, what did she do? She lied, and said that her kids hadn’t even been outside.
Then again, he’s lucky that she even answered the door. A few months before that, when her kids were wrestling and made a sound that was so remarkably loud that I literally thought that they had knocked over their refrigerator, I had no choice but to go upstairs and (politely) knock on their door. I knocked, then waited. Then I knocked again. When I knocked a third time, Lauren shouted “at” her kids, “Are you guys misbehaving again?” I guess she thought pretending to be deaf and pretending to yell at her kids ten minutes after they misbehave (and only if I knock) is equivalent to answering the door, because she never did answer it even though I knocked on the door two more times. And keep in mind, that when this happened, we were still getting along well with each other, so it wasn’t as if she was trying to disrespect me by ignoring me. Rather, it’s an example of her being too scared to answer because she’s a nine-year-old trapped in a fat thirty-nine-year-old’s body. Also keep in mind that I had knocked on their door about a week earlier. It was around 9:30PM, and for about a half an hour, it sounded as if they had been running laps. Cop For Brains answered the door. By nature, I’m not very confrontational, so I tried humor. “Who’s winning the basketball game?” I asked.
“What do you mean?” asked Gil.
“No, it’s just that your kids seem to be running back and forth,” I said.
I stumped him with the basketball metaphor, and since those children don’t have parents, they only stopped after they were too exhausted to continue. That’s how it was every night. I’m not saying that they ran laps every night to the point where it sounded as if a basketball game was occurring, but there was no such thing as bedtime. In fact, one time, at 1:30 in the morning, I heard Gil ask loudly (in his stupid Brooklyn accent), “Whea’s Batista? Whea’s the Unduhtakuh?” It turns out that Batista and The Undertaker are professional wrestlers, and that Gil thought that 1:30 in the morning would be a proper time to have his children start playing with these wrestler’s action figures. Here’s the thing with little boys. When my brother and I were kids, we played with wrestler’s action figures too. This inevitably lead to us wrestling. That made us want to watch one of our wrestling videos, which lead to more wrestling. Sure enough, after Gil brought action figures into the equation, they started wrestling. Well, Keith, if you and your brother did the exact same thing when you were kids, how can you criticize the Garza children? The difference between us and the Garza children is that we had our own house. The reason that we had a house is because my father could afford to buy one because he had a real job, whereas Gil had to resort to framing black people for a living which, apparently, doesn’t pay well. Also, we had to be in bed at a reasonable hour, and to even be awake at 1:30 in the morning was unheard of. That’s because, unlike the Garza children, my brother and I were the product of parents, not breeders. And maybe if the Garza children were to get more sleep, they would do better in school. I say this because one time, as they were walking into the house, I heard the following conversation take place:
GIL JR.: I got a 55 on my test.
GIL: Why did you get a 55?
GIL JR.: A 55 is passing.
GIL: Oh, okay.
Aside from the obvious fact that school must be a lot easier compared to when I was a kid, this must be the most egregious example of Gil’s “parenting” style. To put this in perspective, fast forward a few months to a speech that President Obama gave to a group of teachers. He talked about how his daughter, Malia, had been doing really poorly in Math. At first, she really hated Math, but her parents kept pushing her to do better (and helped her study along the way), and on her next test, she got an 86. When the president mentioned this, the audience started to clap. But before they could fully break out into applause, Obama cut them off and said, “No. Now wait a minute. In our house, we aim for 90 and above.” It turns out that after getting an 86, Malia was both confident enough and inspired enough to aim for an “A” in Math even without the urging of her parents, which she eventually achieved. In fact, Obama went on to say that she now loves Math. Either way, I’m sure you can see where I’m going with this. And the ironic part is that I’m sure that Gil hates Obama since Obama is black and Gil used to beat black people who were already handcuffed. Plus, since he’s illiterate, it’s a pretty safe bet that Gil is a Republican. Either way, let’s compare the two.
“Why did you get a 55 on your test?”
“A 55 is passing.”
“I got an 86 on my test.”
“We aim for 90 and above.”
Then again, this isn’t surprising when you consider the fact that Gil doesn’t even know the ages of his children. More on this later.
Even though I didn’t want to mention anything to Vito, I started to call him on the phone and complain to him whenever the Garza children were being remarkably loud (they were always loud, but I only resorted to calling him when it sounded as if refrigerators were falling). After all, if Gil couldn’t understand my “subtle hints” about basketball games being played, and if Lauren was too chickenshit to even answer her door, what else was I supposed to do? Like all cops, Gil was under the false impression that rules don’t apply to him and that he could do whatever he wants. He resented the fact that I called Vito, so he started instructing his kids to be obnoxious. There were metal bars on my windows, and they started to intentionally throw their basketball into the bars. They had a front door, but for as long as they lived there, they always chose to enter through the side door. When someone entered through the side door, there were two staircases. One lead upstairs (to the Garza’s apartment), and the other staircase lead downstairs, to my apartment. The side door also had a screen door, and the screen was torn. One day, the Garza children were playing with a tennis ball and –what a coincidence–the tennis ball just happened to go through the screen door, down my steps, and into my apartment door three times within the course of an hour. As for Gil, like a fifteen-year-old that is pissed off at his parents, he intentionally blasted music every night from 5pm until 10:00pm. He made sure that he blasted it in the one room that they had downstairs, which was a laundry room that was right next to our bedroom. In fact, when his kids were home before him, he instructed them to go turn on the music. I know this because we heard him do it.
He didn’t teach them any sort of conflict resolution skills. He certainly didn’t teach them how to value other people’s space. Instead, he passed on that “rules don’t apply to me” mentality of self-entitlement that is so typical among cops.
In fact, one time, when Gil was talking to his idiot brother about me and Aileen, I heard him say, “I can’t even do what I want in my own house. Well, there you have it. His house. It’s not Vito’s house. It’s his house. He doesn’t have anyone living below him or above him. It’s his house. That’s why, in the middle of January, it was okay for them to leave the side door of the house wide open. They don’t live in the basement, and they’re not cold, and it is, after all, their house. When they did that (in addition to all of the other problems that they had been causing) I left a nasty note on their door, saying something to the equivalent of that they act as if they’re living in the projects. I shouldn’t have done that, not because the note wasn’t accurate or justified, but because the nasty tone of it gave our absentee landlord another excuse to not give a shit. Aileen and I had done nothing wrong, but Vito cared about one thing and one thing only, and that was collecting the check for the rent. That’s why, when Gil first started blasting his stereo until 10pm, Vito told me that it’s “okay as long as I’m not sleeping” (yes, he really said that). So, since Vito wasn’t going to be of any use, I decided that it would be okay to leave a nasty note. It wasn’t okay, because like I said, it only gave Vito an excuse to be apathetic. He would’ve been apathetic anyway, but now he had an excuse to be that way. So the Garzas kept being obnoxious, and I kept on calling Vito. Vito called Lauren, the chronic liar, and she tried to use the astoundingly cheap tactic of saying that I hate children. Hmm. Let’s see. Vito has kids, so let me tell him that Keith hates kids. even though there’s plenty of evidence to the contrary. When Vito told me that she said that, I reminded him of all the children that lived upstairs from me through the years (including his own three children) and how I never had any problems with them. This made sense to him, but again, he was living in New Jersey now and didn’t give a shit about his tenants. Lauren must have “forgotten” about how I used to stop and talk to her little miscreant children every time I saw them outside, and how I always exchanged high fives with the youngest one. She then had to resort to an even cheaper tactic; she blamed Aileen for all of our problems. “He never had a problem with us until she moved in,” said the huge, orange haired waste of life. Um…to the contrary, when I complained about the “basketball game” being played upstairs, and when I knocked on their door and Lauren was too scared to answer it, both of those things happened before Aileen and I were even dating. And keep in mind that this is coming from a woman who, whenever someone knocks on her door, she immediately opens it and says, “Oh no! What did my kids do now?” Instead of controlling her children (it’s called parenting) she tries to use them as a way to get sympathy from everyone around her. If you see yourself as a “victim” of your own children’s behavior, that’s yet another sign that you are nothing more than a breeder. As a teenager, Aileen raised two of her nieces when her brother was in the military (the mother had died). I’ve met those nieces, and they turned out fine, which is more than anyone will be able to say about the Garza children.
The Garzas were too stupid to realize how much restraint we used. They were the ones who were wrong, and yet they felt the need to constantly gossip to the next door neighbors (on both sides) about us. We didn’t do that about them. By the way, Gil was even more of a gossipy little bitch than Lauren). Aileen and I falsely assumed that when someone has to go around and constantly spread rumors, and has to constantly try to impress everyone around them (especially when the first thing out of Lauren’s mouth is “What did my kids do now?”) then people would see through that and realize that they’re the ones that have something to hide. But those neighbors barely know us, so they fell for the Garza’s bullshit hook, line, and sinker, proving true the words of the French poet Nicholas Boileau Despreaux, who once said, “A fool will will always find a bigger fool to admire him.” But since I’m not a breeder that needs to apologize for my spawn’s selfishness and lack of consideration for others, I don’t need to impress everyone around me. Neighbors should exchange a polite hello to one another and then be on their way. Anything more than that is both unnecessary and a sign of insecurity. I, unlike the Garzas, have better things to do with my time than sit around and chit chat. You want to be more neighborly? Move to Kentucky. No one there knows how to read either, so I’m sure the Garzas would feel right at home.
Restraint. I wonder what would’ve happened if Aileen and I had somehow accidentally broke the outside light of the next door neighbor’s house and Gil or Lauren knew about it. I’m sure they wouldn’t have told on me, right? If you’ve read this far, you already know the answer to that.
Restraint. The circuit box for the entire house was in my apartment. So when Cop For Brains started to blast his music every night, I could’ve very simply shut it off, along with the rest of his electricity. I didn’t do that though. I’m sure that Gil would’ve shown the same level of restraint if he controlled the circuit box, right?
I would like to think that the reason why I exhibited so much restraint was because I wanted to maintain the “moral high ground,” but that’s simply not true. The only reason why I showed such restraint is because I know something they don’t know. Actually, I know something they do know. They just don’t know that I know it.
It Gets Funnier Every Day
In July of 2009, Aileen and I went on a ten day vacation to Ireland. On the day that we came back, as I was walking into the house, Gil and his spawn were sitting on the front stoop. Gil started to laugh. I could tell that it was directed at me, so I “laughed back.” Gil then said, “It gets funnier every day.” I smiled and said, “You’re not going to be laughing much longer,” and then I went inside. Since I’m not the Idiot Whisperer, it took me a few minutes to figure out why he was laughing. Finally, I figured it out. He’s so incredibly stupid that he thought that we had moved out. There was no moving van. We weren’t carrying boxes and furniture out of the apartment. But since he hadn’t seen us for a while, he assumed that, like ninjas, we packed up all of our stuff and secretly moved out in the middle of the night. So when he realized that that wasn’t the case, he got really pissed off (which is understandable; after all, we caused him so much grief, right?), which led to him sarcastically laughing and saying, “It gets funnier every day.” Yeah, Gil. I went on vacation solely with the purpose of “throwing you off” and fucking with your head. Incredible. Nor was this the first time that Gil displayed blatant signs of megalomania. One time, I had ordered takeout and the deliveryman rang the upstairs doorbell (Gil’s) instead of the downstairs doorbell (mine). “FUCKING JERKOFF!” I heard Gil yell, an insult that was directed not at the deliveryman, but at me. Yes, because I was in cahoots with the deliveryman, instructing him to ring the wrong doorbell so as to inconvenience you, right, Princess? That’s the only logical explanation for why a deliveryman would ring the wrong doorbell. If anything, I’m surprised that this only happened once since they used to have food delivered almost every day. Because even though Lauren was a stay at home mom, apparently, she couldn’t be bothered to cook or to help her kids with their homework (a fifty-five is passing). Anyway, Gil was correct about one thing. It does indeed get funnier every day, and here’s why: he paid for our vacation. More on this later.
About a week after I returned from Ireland, Gil and his three little clones were sitting on their front stoop again. Gary, too young to realize that there was an ongoing conflict between me and his family, said, “Hi, Keith.” Gil quickly interjected: “Don’t say nothin’ ta him.” One week after that, while I was entering the house, the three clones were outside again, playing spawts. Smirks formed across all three of their ugly little faces, and then this occurred:
GLENN: Hi Keith.
GIL JR: Hi Keith.
GLENN: Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith.
GARY: Hi Keith.
GLENN, GIL JR., & GARY: Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith. Hi Keith.
I stopped and stared at them until they were done. Then, in a perfectly calm voice, I said, “You were told not to talk to me. Don’t talk to me. Ever.” Then I went inside. Just like the breeders who spawned him, Gil Jr. decided that he was somehow the victim, so the fat little piece of shit ran into the house and told his “parents.” That must have been an interesting conversation: “Mom! Dad! An adult told me to do something! And he told me to do the exact same thing that you yourselves have told me to do, but I ignored you because you have no control over me! Go out there and make sure that he never does that again!” Acting as if I had molested the little shit, Gil stormed out of the house, thinking that I was still outside. Hearing him come back in, I immediately opened the door to my apartment and said, “Your three little special needs kids were told, by you, not to talk to me!” Choosing to ignore what I had just said (and the inevitable cognitive dissonance that would follow) Gil decided to suddenly pretend that we were still on speaking terms, asking, “Well then why didn’t you come talk to me?”
“They obviously don’t listen to you. But fine. Tell your three little special needs children to not talk to me.”
“They’re three, five, and seven years old!” he said.
Um…actually, they were three, ten, and eleven. I’ll come back to this. Before I do, it’s important to note that Gil still hadn’t addressed both the fact that I was referring to his children as “special needs” children, or the fact that his kids don’t listen to him. “Your three little special needs children were told not to talk to me,” I repeated.
Let’s be clear on why he wanted me to come “upsteahs.” One, like I already mentioned, he’s a typical cop with a double digit IQ who doesn’t have the intelligence to resolve problems in any other way. Two, a physical altercation would mean that he gets to avoid answering the question of why his kids don’t listen to him. Three, he gets to put on a big show in front of the naybuhs and show them how he heroically fought with the evil monstuh who needlessly insulted his angelic, perfectly behaved children. And fourth, he could then call up his fellow pigs from the precinct and have me arrested. I refused to take the bait. Instead, I repeated, “Tell your three little special needs children not to talk to me.”
He still chose not to address this (for good reason; there were many times when, after he yelled at his kids, I heard him say out loud, “God, these kids are fucking stupid!”). Instead, he said, “What ah ya gonna do? Tell ya dad?”
My dad had nothing to do with this, but Gil was desperate. I used to sell life insurance, and when I was still getting along with the Garza’s, my father and I sold life insurance policies to all five of them (my dad had been in the insurance industry for nearly thirty-five years, and I was still relatively new to it, so I asked him to help me). Again, my dad had nothing to do with this, but Gil was trying to avoid the topic of why his kids don’t listen to him. So I repeated, “You told your three little special needs kids not to talk to me. Why are they talking to me?”
“Why don’t you come upsteahs? What are you, scared?” replied the caveman. Sceahed.
No, I was not scared. If I was scared of him, I would have gone to a bookstore or a library so that he would never find me. I didn’t say that though. What I said (for the fifth time) was, “You told your three little special needs children not to talk to me. Why are they talking to me?”
“Go back to your glasses,” he said. Once again, since I’m not the Idiot Whisperer, it took me a long time to figure out what he meant by that. He was referring to the fact that Aileen and I drink wine. He knew this because he must have seen the empty bottles of wine outside in the recycling bin. He saw wine bottles, and he didn’t approve of it, not because he’s some sort of reformed alcoholic, but because wine is not associated with testosterone, and “real men drink beeah.” I can only imagine how upset he would have gotten if he had found out that I don’t eat meat! It should come as no surprise to the reader that I did not end up fighting Gil, and it should also come as no surprise that I never got an answer to my question as to why his three little clones don’t listen to him.
A couple of months later, the Garzas moved out. They made it a point to move out on a Saturday, and to rent a semi-tractor trailer for their move (even though they barely owned anything) so that they can put on as dramatic of a show as possible in front of the neighbors. Aileen and I had been out somewhere, and since the Mets weren’t on, Gil made it a point to stand around and linger outside until we got back, hoping against hope that there could be one last confrontation that would result in violence so that he could relive his “glory days” on the police force. As Aileen and I were walking past Gil and his idiot brother (who was there to help them move the dozens of boxes of books and scientific journals into the semi-tractor trailer; I say that sarcastically, of course) Gil decided as always to leave the “smart” out of a smartass comment by saying, “Don’t talk to strangers.” That comment made about as much sense as “What are ya gonna do, tell your dad,” or “Go back to your glasses.” Other comments that would have made as much sense might include “In fourteen-hundred and ninety-two Columbus sailed the ocean blue,” “Buckle up: it’s the law,” and “Two in the hand is worth one in the bush.” Like I said, he was trying to be a smartass, the chief obstacle being that he’s not smart. So when he said to his idiot brother, “Don’t talk to strangers,” even though that doesn’t make any sense, I was supposed to shout, “WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU JUST SAY TO ME?” And then we were supposed to start beating the living shit out of each other. Once again, I refused to take the bait, and went inside.
After the Garza’s moved out, a young married couple with a five-year-old son, along with the the wife’s mother, moved in upstairs from us. The couple were both studying to be doctors, so it was a nice change to live underneath people who were actually educated. Between their working and studying, we rarely ever saw them, and their child (a nice, well-behaved, quiet child) was almost always supervised by the grandmother, who was very sweet. Following the pattern that had been established with every neighbor I ever had–with the exception of the Garzas–we got along nicely with each other. This, despite the best efforts of the unemployed douchebag, Lauren Garza, who, having nothing better to do, waddled her fat ass over to their apartment a week after moving out in order to gossip about us, all while under the guise of “picking up any mail that might still be coming here.” Yes, she really is that pathetic. Aileen said to me, “She thinks that she’s ruining things for us when all she’s doing is showing them how much of a piece of shit she is. I mean, here’s this housewife with nothing better to do trying to tell these doctors that we’re bad people. Does she really think they’re going to listen to her?” Not only that, but when she came over, she brought her three miscreant children, who started to climb the gated fence.
“Don’t do that,” said Lauren, who had probably instructed them to do that on the way over.
“Why not?” said one of them. It’s my house.”
“No it’s not,” replied the thirty-nine-year-old child. “It’s my house.”
So not only was she trying to convince a couple of doctors that we’re bad people who hate children, but she was doing it while her children were acting like animals, and in the process, she was also revealing her delusional sense of self-entitlement by claiming that it’s her house. Yeah. Good luck with that.
And if you’re one of our former next door neighbors, you would be under the impression that the Garzas ended up moving to a house with a big back yard for their kids to play in. You would be under that impression because Aileen heard Lauren tell them that on the same day that she came to “pick up the mail.” But of course, as is customary whenever her lips are moving, Lauren was lying. It turns out that they moved to a house where it’s the exact same set-up, meaning that there is no backyard, and the closest house is about eight feet away.
Aileen and I moved out four months after the Garzas. One might wonder why it took so long. That’s a valid question, and I wish I had moved out sooner. The answer is that I was stubborn. I was there for nearly a decade, and I thought, “Why should I be the one who has to move when they’re the ones who are causing the problems?” I also thought (and this is laughable now that I look back on it) that I would someday feel nostalgic for the place. After all, I spent almost all of my twenties living there. Like I said, it’s laughable how blatantly wrong I was about that. Not only did I end up moving from a basement to a quiet, top floor apartment with lots of sunlight; and not only did I have the comfort of knowing that I was no longer writing a fairly large check every month to an absentee landlord; but the new landlord and his wife are elderly people who like peace and quiet and who actually said, “We don’t want to rent the apartment to anyone who has kids.” You couldn’t make up an ending that good! And, as usual, I don’t have any problems with any of my neighbors.
As for the Garzas, like I mentioned earlier, they’re once again eight feet away from their new neighbors, which means that, for them, the cycle begins anew. Now, a new set of people are probably having their outside lights smashed with baseballs; Lauren is cleaning up the broken glass and telling lies to a new set of people; basketballs are being bounced right outside of the windows of a new set of people; loud music is intentionally being blasted outside of a new apartment. When Glen, Gary, and Gil Jr. are being obnoxious and inconsiderate, a new set of people will hear the excuse that is universal among breeders, which is, “They’re just kids.”
Do the Garzas get along with their new neighbors? I have no idea and I don’t care. What I can assure you of, however, is that they learned nothing from their encounters with me. I provided them with what could’ve been a teachable moment, meaning that Gil and Lauren could have said, “Hey, do you remember how you guys were obnoxious in the old apartment? Don’t be that way in the new one.” But I can assure you that they didn’t say that. After all, half the time the were instructed to be obnoxious. And people who are both stupid and self-entitled don’t turn around one day and say, “You know what? Having to move every three or four years because everyone I come into contact with hates me and my children isn’t working out too well for me. I think I’ll change.” No. People like the Garzas say things like, “Oh my Gawd! We have the worst luck when it comes to naybuhs!” An individual’s personality is based on behavior patterns that have received positive reinforcement. Having to move every three or four years is not positive, but since Gil Garza was a cop for twenty years, the behavior patterns of a being a violent, high testosterone, low IQ bully who believes that rules and common decency don’t apply to him were not only accepted; they were encouraged.
Coming from the idea that “revenge is a dish best served cold,” a friend of mine suggested that I wait one year and then put sugar in Gil’s gas tank. I took umbrage with the lack of creativity in that suggestion, but I seriously did consider the idea of getting all sorts of anonymous revenge much later on. I had really great ideas, and I was going to wait two years to implement them. But something happened after that two year mark: I simply forgot. Because unlike some people who sit around and watch baseball, my life has both humanitarian and intellectual purpose. The fact that it has taken me six years to write this essay tells you everything you need to know about the Garza family, which is this: they’re not important. Every few months, I wrote a little bit of this essay, and only while commuting on the subway. How “important” was it to me that I write this essay? You can find the answer to that question by looking at the rest of my blog and seeing that in their six year absence from my life, I obviously found it more important to write fourteen essays, four poems, one short story, five letters, and forty articles for the Associated Press. I’ve also read hundreds of books since then, and continued to travel. As for my humanitarian work, I won’t discuss that here because I don’t want some mouth breather like Gil Garza to try to jeopardize that.
Aside from forgetting to, there are two other reasons why I chose to not seek revenge. One reason is to not give assholes another tool to use in their asshole tool kit. Like I mentioned earlier, Gil Garza did not fuck with us in a way that was even remotely clever or cunning; he simply blasted his stereo. I don’t know how many more families the Garzas will torment before their kids are old enough to move out. I’m guessing that there will be several of them. What I do know is that the only reason why people have kids in the first place is because they want little clones of themselves, and in the case of Gil and Lauren, they got their wish. And since it’s a rule that stupid, selfish people must breed, those kids will have kids of their own some day, which is to say that a third generation of Gil Garza bullies will walk the planet, tormenting people. If murder were legal, I would do future generations a favor by ending that cycle right now, but I can’t. What I can do (and have already done) is look beyond myself and realize that I have a moral duty on behalf of their future victims to not teach the Garzas how to be clever and cunning. There are dozens of common sense reasons to not want to have children, one of them being the pleasure of enjoying peace and quiet in one’s home. But if you’re unfortunate enough to live near some selfish breeder halfwits like the Garzas, your right to enjoy that pleasure is taken away.The good news is that at some point, either they or their future victims will move out. And at that point, their victims will finally be able to come home and enjoy that peace and quiet. I know from experience that even though one should never have to fight for it–that even though it should be a right and not a privilege–once you finally have that peace and quiet again, it’s one of the greatest feelings in the world. By fucking with the Garzas in clever, anonymous ways, what’s to stop them from doing the same things to the innocent people that they already torment? What makes the world a better place doesn’t always come down to what a person chooses to do; it also comes down to what they choose not to do. I choose to not help the Garzas grow a brain.
That concept ties in with my third reason to not pursue a “revenge is a dish best served cold” strategy. This probably seems obvious by now, but by simply reviewing my history of neighbors, I realized that revenge isn’t necessary. With every neighbor that I’ve ever had–regardless of how many kids they had–I never had any problems with any of them…except for the Garzas. Why is that? It’s because I’m considerate and polite, and because I’m an intellectual and I have purpose. Unfortunately, when you go through life that way, you’ll occasionally come into conflict with those who don’t share those values. But consider the alternative. Consider what it must be like to go through life as if you’re an ex-cop, a future cop, or a loser housewife who is married to a cop. Consider what life would be like if you had never read a book; if watching the worst team in the history of baseball constantly lose gives you more pleasure than the “best” moments you’ve ever shared with your three special needs children; if watching cops beat up innocent Occupy Wall Street protesters on TV brings you back to your “glory days” and you look on longingly, saying to yourself, “Damn it! That could’ve been me out there! That could’ve been me!” Which type of personality–mine or Gil’s–leads to more conflicts with people? Napolean once said, “Never interrupt your enemy while he’s making a mistake.” Gil Garza’s entire life is a mistake, and revenge is not necessary.
There were a couple of times throughout this essay when I briefly mentioned certain points that I would come back to later. They were the fact that Gil doesn’t know the ages of his own children, and the fact that Gil payed for our vacation to Ireland. The reason why I knew that he didn’t know the ages of his own children was because, when he wanted to fight me, he referred to his kids and said, “They’re three, five, and seven years old!” Actually, this was in 2009, which means that they were three, nine, and ten. Gil Jr. was born on May 16, 1998, Glen was born on November 5, 1999, and Gary was born on October 16, 2005. A real father would have known that. Even I knew their ages. Hell, I knew Gil and Lauren’s ages too. Gil was born on February 6, 1956, and Lauren was born on April 25,1970. I knew their ages because I sold them life insurance policies. And every time that the Garzas paid the premiums on those policies, I got paid. Not surprisingly, it took them a really long time to figure that out, long enough to fund our vacation.
I’ve traveled all over the world, seeing places like Italy, France, Germany, Belgium, the Czech Republic, and many other places that Gil Garza will never go to. But never have I been to a place as jaw-droppingly gorgeous as Ireland, and I find it hysterical that Cop For Brains paid for it. All of that loud music that he used to intentionally blast? It was worth it. So, Gil, if someone is reading this to you…I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. Not only did you pay for our trip to Ireland, but you even helped to finance a small portion of the vacation that we went on ten months later. You know where we went then? Napa Valley. We always wanted to go there anyway, but found it particularly appropriate to go to a place (all on your dollar) where we could “go back to our glasses” in style.
Oh, and because I sold everyone of the Garzas life insurance policies…that means that I also have their social security numbers.
IT. GETS. FUNNIER. EVERY. DAY.