Some tiny creature, mad with wrath,

Is coming nearer on the path.

--Edward Gorey

Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. Outlying Islands

Writer, lawyer, cyclist, rock climber, wanderer of dark residential streets, friend.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Neighborly, Standing Sentinel

Early this afternoon, home on a rare week day, I sat at the island in my kitchen finishing up my coffee and last Sunday's Times. I heard the familiar sound of my neighbor's screen door squealing open, and a gruff "No!" in the patriarch's voice. He couldn't see me. There was no one visible from my vantage to whom he might have been addressing his negation.

But as he shambled out onto his patio, brown shoulderblades rounded under the stark white weight of his impeccable wifebeater, I saw obliquely through my window a young man of perhaps thirteen walk across the neighbor's empty carpad and make as though to jump the fence into the next yard, looking warily over his right shoulder, face shaded beneath a trucker's cap. His arms over the fence, he let slip two red globes to the ground on the other side; through the chainlink I watched them fall.

"Sure, g'ahead drop the tuh-may-tuhs like I don't see them," my neighbor chided, resigned.

Understanding: this was about tomatoes. One of the neighborhood toughs had entered my neighbor's property, opening or jumping either of two gates, to steal tomatoes.

As my neighbor neared the boy, he jumped the fence, as though to put a protective barrier between himself and the old man. But he didn't bolt. He stood rooted to the ground on the other side, just opposite, and took his licks like a man. By the end of the encounter, my neighbor was standing just a couple of feet from the boy, hands on his hips, voice no longer raised enough for me to hear, and the boy rested his chin on his arms atop the fence. They could have been grandfather and grandson.

Regardless, evidently I lack the imagination to anticipate what the neighborhood children are capable of. Good thing I don't have Binky's garden.

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Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Chuck Norris and Stepwise

Recent commenter Matt is a Pittsburgh cyclist who posted the following Chuck Norris facts, with appropriate apologies to the millions of people who have probably seen them (they're popular enough to warrant a Wikipedia entry, evidently):

* Outer space exists because it's afraid to be on the same planet with Chuck Norris.

* There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.

* Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.

* Chuck Norris doesn't read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.

* Chuck Norris frequently donates blood to the Red Cross. Just not his own.

* Chuck Norris's tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.

* Chuck Norris does not go hunting because "hunting" implies a chance of failure. Chuck Norris goes killing.

I supplement this list with reasons I'm posting them notwithstanding their commenness.

* I wanted to add Mr. McHale to my MoonOverPittsburgh blogroll with some sort of splash.

* I suck, and I post nothing.

* The Norris stuff was pretty cool to me, since I'd never seen it, but I'm a thirty-something lawyer with gray hair, so it's not at all surprising that I miss something on the interweb, what with all those tubes and such.

Check out Matt's site. He rode Death Valley and stuff. Meanwhile, it's all I can do just to get around without killing myself in this modest-by-comparison heat.

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