10. January 2007 · Comments Off on A Little Bit of Silliness…. · Categories: General, General Nonsense, Memoir

For some reason tonight, I was reminded of a bit of silliness from my young adulthood. A wee bit of doggerel, if you will, in which I laid bare my soul to my neighbors and landlord, and expressed my dissatisfaction with my living conditions at that time.

I had graduated college, with no idea what I was going to do next, and while trying to figure that out, was working at the university bookstore, as a shipping and receiving clerk. To make ends meet, I was rooming with a friend in a former frat house that had been converted to something like a boarding house (sans meals). The rent was minimal, there were at least 3 bathrooms, a full kitchen, and my friend and I were the only females living there. We were an over-sized family, a bit heavy on the brothers, but still a family, and so it didn’t bother us that we didn’t have a key to our room. The door locked, if we were inside, we just couldn’t lock it when we left each day. The fraternity rep promised to get us a key, but when I moved out in March, we were still key-less.

The agreement was that the fraternity, which still owned the house, would provide basic amenities – toilet paper (3 rolls in each bathroom at all times), snow shoveling, trash dumping (“Just leave it in the hall. Our resident mgr will collect it daily”). That kind of thing. Everything else was up to us, as tenants. We were all either students or recent graduates, so it sounded great.

This would have been… fall 1983/winter 1984. I moved out of there before spring, getting ready to go to Air Force Basic Training. It was a good situation, as situations go. Great roommate, good neighbors, easy-going, laid-back environment, with everyone caring enough about hygiene that we weren’t overrun by vermin due to unwashed dishes and the like.

But there were some flaws. Management flaws. Landlords not keeping up their end of the bargain flaws. Little irritations that pile up until you just can’t take it anymore flaws.

And finally, one dark winter evening, I’d had enough. So I wrote the following, and posted it where it was certain to be seen – on the wall next to each of the toilets. I signed it “anonymous,” of course, but I’m pretty sure everyone knew the author. I dont know that anything improved after that, but I felt better. Over 20 years later, it’s still one of my favorite bits of silly writing.

Ballad of a Tenant’s Rebellion

I am but a simpleton,
believing lies told by a man
who promised life’s amenities
for paying monthly rent.

And so I pay,and so it goes.
I’ll catalog my daily woes.
Amenities are near extinct,
but I’m paying monthly rent.

My door won’t lock, for lack of key.
Trash piles, unheeded, in the halls.
Unshoveled snow begs me to fall.
While I’m paying monthly rent.

But worst of all, the very worst –
what makes this man by me be cursed.
A certain roll, of paper made,
is not speedily replaced.

A horse I’m not, e’en less a cow,
to wipe my bottom with my tail.
Tissues will not quite suffice –
three rolls, as promised, would be nice.

I’m certainly a simpleton,
for believing lies told by this man.
But if amenities remain extinct,
I’ll stop paying monthly rent.

Comments closed.