This is an offshoot of the original Liam & Janet blog. That blog has become overrun by Liam's inability to keep his mouth shut when something annoys him. The serious rants there seemed incongruous with the humor columns. The plan for the humor columns continues to be to post a new one every Friday, plus occasional extras when the mood strikes.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Wanted: Dead or Alive (Blog Exclusive)

I'm thrilled! I'm finally living life on the edge! I'm finally a "bad boy", the kind of guy women flock to and men all want to be! The kind of guy who has a criminal record!

Let's back up. As some readers may know, I own a pair of apartment buildings which I bought because my wife convinced me that quite apart from every other person who has ever owned an apartment building, I was going to be the one who successfully got rich off of his. Really, you go into the transaction with images of a steady flow of rent income and completely unaware that the average renter believes that, as a landlord, you are independently wealthy and don't really NEED that rental income, and that certainly you will understand if on this particular month, they can't make the rent because they absolutely HAD to have a new flat screen television.

I'm not kidding. December is the worst, half of the tenants won't have the rent on time (more than half of those won't get it to me at all), but you can count on every one of them having $500 worth of new toys for their infant child under the Christmas tree. And we're talking infant here, a child who will derive hours of pleasure crinkling the wrapping paper and playing in the boxes, and their parents will have purchased them a brand new Wii system.

And so you would think that tenants who are less than fastidious about the details of when and how much money actually gets paid to the landlord would not be overly quick to complain, and yet the loudest yelling when the water heater stops working or the propane runs out comes from the apartments which are furthest behind in rent. I'm not kidding. The tenants who pay on time call up and politely say "We don't seem to have any heat, can you get someone out to look at it in the next day or so?" and the ones who are three months behind and refusing to leave until we can have them escorted out via police escort based on a court order call and say "If you don't have heat on in this apartment in 20 minutes, I'm going to sue you for all you're worth."

I bought these buildings because I have had a lifelong goal of never, ever being a landlord. I am fundamentally constitutionally unsuited for the job. But my wife insisted that she was thus suited, and that this was what she wanted to do as a source of income, and so I pulled out most of my savings and handed it over along with signing away my rights to more money than I make in 10 years and purchased two buildings. And now we're getting divorced.

So, back to the new reckless, devil-may-care bad-boy me. My new life of crime. The other morning, as I was preparing to leave for work, there was a knock on my door, and it was a police officer, serving me with a warrant to appear in court on a criminal charge of violating the "Solid Waste Ordinance" in the town in which my buildings stand. Apparently, in spite of being asked several times, one of my tenants has decided that leaving their old, rusty trash can out on the edge of the street all the time is more convenient than, say, bringing it in, filling it up during the week, and then just taking it out to the street on trash day. And since I own the buildings, it is my criminal negligence to bear.

So this is me, Liam the Trash Outlaw. Ladies, I await your calls.

I should get myself a mask.

Copyright © May 30, 2010 by Liam Johnson.


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