Helping Others Help Me

January 4, 2011By David JaggardC'est Ironique!
paris courtyard

A few minor changes are in order around here… Photo: Cam Eric Schiefer

In keeping with my own, mostly sober, December 31st pledge to be more helpful to the people around me, I propose the following (strongly) suggested New Year’s resolutions for my neighbors.

• First floor left:

Starting in 2011, I will reschedule my daily torrent of ear-piercing verbal spousal abuse for after 8am.

• First floor right:

Now that I have lived in the building for seven years and seen everyone else who lives in it an estimated one thousand times, I will respond to “bonjour” with a similar greeting instead of an aggressive, suspicious stare.

• Second floor left:

If one of my 12 cats dies, I will not get three more to make up for the loss.

• Second floor right:

I will finally come to the realization that the incredible amount of time I must spend meticulously shaving so that the only hair on my face is a long bristly graying goatee sprouting not from my chin but from under my lower jaw does not make me look like a cool jazz musician – it makes me look like a goat (hence the name), which is the reason so many people have trouble keeping a straight face when talking to me and in all likelihood the main reason I am still single.

• Third floor left:

When it’s time to walk my dog, I will go all the way downstairs, all the way to the door, pull the door open and take him outside, just like every other dog owner in the history of mankind. Yes, even if it is cold or raining or whatever. And by the way, “outside” means more than one goddamn foot away from the threshold.

• Third floor right:

In any given coop meeting, I will limit myself to a maximum of three futile, time-wasting questions intended to show off my erudition and grasp of philosophical concepts. Also, I will ask each question only once, without repeating it slightly rephrased three more times. Or at least no more than twice, for the love of God.

• Fourth floor middle:

I will figure out a way to walk up and down stairs without making enough noise to loosen my neighbors’ wall fixtures, ceiling beams and corneal transplants. If I truly experience a deep-felt need to use my apparent ability to raise my feet high above my head and bring them crashing down with the force of a karate blow, I will join a marching band and replace the bass drum.

• Fourth floor, end of hall:

This year I will overcome my pathological compulsion to whistle, or, failing that, learn at least one actual tune.

• Fifth floor (as yet unidentified apartment):

When I cook horse rectum stew, or whatever the hell it is I make a big steaming batch of every Sunday, I will open my windows and keep my door tightly shut to prevent the entire building from smelling like Fart Contest Day at the fertilizer factory.

• Across the street, top floor:

I will stop using my balcony as a walk-in closet-cum-junkyard.

• Across the street, fourth floor left:

I will accept the fact that pigeons are disgusting, guano-gushing, vomit-pecking vermin, not cute “doves,” and stop dumping bread on my windowsill for them.

• Across the street, third floor left:

I will get curtains.

• Across the street, third floor right:

I will get rid of my curtains.

• And lastly, for myself:

I resolve to stop wasting so much time and mental energy on hopeless wishful thinking. Starting in 2012.


Reader Joanne Caris writes: “Re: ‘Across the street, top floor: I will stop using my balcony as a walk-in closet-cum-junkyard’: What is it that makes people do this? I have the same problem. Are they just too lazy to haul it down the stairs and leave it on the pavement along with the other old, soiled mattresses, lounge couch, computer monitors, etc. The mind boggles! ;-).”

Reader Brenda Dionne writes: “After reading all your comments, mine would go like this: I will try to imitate the ‘perfect’ neighbor. Big shoes to fill, no doubt.”

© 2011 Paris Update



An album of David Jaggard’s comic compositions is now available for streaming on Spotify and Apple Music, for purchase (whole or track by track) on iTunes and Amazon, and on every other music downloading service in the known universe, under the title “Totally Unrelated.”

Note to readers: David Jaggard’s e-book Quorum of One: Satire 1998-2011 is available from Amazon as well as iTunes, iBookstore, Nook, Reader Store, Kobo, Copia and many other distributors.

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