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I’m Becoming the Grumpy Old Neighbor…

July 8, 2017

This past holiday I realized that I am quickly becoming the grumpy old neighbor that I used to despise during my own childhood. For example, I like to go to bed around 9:30 or so most work nights and was recently confronted with a situation that made me question my patriotism and my general nice-guy disposition.

Since the Fourth of July fell on a Tuesday this year, most of America still had to go to work the following Wednesday morning. At least that was my initial thought until my neighbor started lighting fireworks in the road around 10 PM. What job afforded them the opportunity to stay up late, drink beer and shoot off fireworks late into the night? Oh yeah, he is a police officer. Yep, my nuisance neighbor is a cop. I was unprepared to deal with this situation. I can imagine how the conversation would have played out.

Here is me walking out in my shorts, flip-flops and a tee shirt to the middle of the cul-de-sac to confront the noise offender.

“Um sir, I know it’s Independence Day and all but do you know how long you are going to keep shooting off fireworks? I mean I love our country and all but I do need to get up pretty early tomorrow and the noise and light of the fireworks you’re shooting off is keeping my wife and me up.”

“What?” he responds with a stifled belch and a stupefied expression on his face.

“You know, the fireworks that your lighting off in the middle of the street. They’re kind of loud and bright and it’s keeping us up.”

“Oh those. Don’t you want to celebrate the Fourth of July?”

“I mean I do, or rather I did a couple of hours ago, but now I just want to go to sleep.”

“Oh, well I don’t have too many left and my kids really are enjoying the show. How about we knock it off before midnight?”

“Midnight? Yeah I guess that sounds reasonable. I mean it’s not too late I guess.”

And then I would go back inside and grumble to my wife exactly how midnight was not a reasonable hour and the guy should stop shooting off fireworks immediately.

So instead, I did nothing- except close the blinds as far as they would go down and think evil thoughts about my neighbor accidentally catching his roof or garage on fire. I mean, I didn’t really have any other feasible options as I saw it.

Should I have called the cops on their fellow officer and complain about his illegal firework show- on the Fourth no less? I’m sure that would have gone over like a ton of bricks.

“Oh hey man! It’s you.” the police officer says to my neighbor as he pulls up in the cruiser. “We got a complaint from someone in the neighborhood about you shooting off fireworks.”

“On the Fourth of July?” my neighbor asks incredulously. “What kind of unpatriotic shit would complain about shooting off some fireworks on the birthday of America?”

“Apparently one of your neighbors. To be honest we drove out here as a courtesy but we are way too busy with real crime to be concerned about a little display of patriotism. Just do us a favor and try and wrap it up sometime before midnight.”

Pretty much the same outcome but now my neighbor knows that someone was annoyed enough to call the police on him and he will probably figure out who it was pretty quickly. Just what I need, a cop with a grudge against me living a few hundred feet from my house.

So I opted for the least confrontational option and will instead secretly harbor resentment towards my neighbor for months to come. That seems like the true American way. Or at least the Mind of Drunkle way.

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