Out-Crotchetied by Whippersnapper

In our little subdivision, I’m the resident crotchety old man. Pity the fool who provokes me. I run kids out of my yard, fuss at anyone who fails to pick up after their dogs, and call the police to report illegally parked cars.

A guy I’d guess to be in his early thirties recently moved into the neighborhood. He bought a house that had previously been rented by an army of drunken college students. The percentage of rentals in our ‘hood has gone up since I moved in. We homeowner were happy to see him.

Within days, dog walkers warned me to stay clear of his house. On several occasions, he’d come running out of his house to tell them dogs were not permitted in his yard. I’m on his side, but the folks he jumped are the good guys who always pick up after their pets.

He came after anyone whose dog stepped on his grass. To support his position, he cited a local ordinance. Turns out, here in Athens it’s against the law for a pet to enter someone’s yard without the owner’s permission. Cats are a much bigger problem than dogs, but that’s a topic for another crotchety old man post.

Enforcement, of course, is a challenge. Animal control won’t do anything without the address of the offender and proof the pet trespassed. So our new neighbor installed a motion sensitive camera. A few months later, the camera disappeared. Whether he removed it or it was stolen remains a mystery.

A few weeks ago someone posted a message on a neighborhood listserv about a couple of dogs running loose. Minutes later, someone posted a message about nearly running over kids playing in the street. The dog walkers complain about the same kids. We suspect their parents put them out in the morning with orders not to come home before dark.

Within a few minutes, a response came from Jim-Jim. He cited the aforementioned ordinance and announced that nobody has permission to bring pets into his yard. He added that we should call the police to report kids who play in the street and flip us off when we yell at them.

Hello new neighbor! A lively discussion followed. One subscriber suggested if flipping off Jim-Jim was cause to call the cops, we should all be arrested. It wasn’t me. Honest.

Jim-Jim responded with a link to a YouTube video showing the proper way to walk dogs because, according to him, nobody in our neighborhood does it right. A slew of nasty responses flooded my inbox. An hour later, Jim-Jim had apparently removed himself from the list. Since then, I haven’t heard a peep out of him.

I walk our chihuahuas by his house every day. He’s never confronted me or my ex, perhaps because we’re bigger than he is (his victims have all been women). Since he posted the dog-walking video, however, the  everpresent giant pile of fresh dog doo in his front yard makes me laugh.

The moral of the story? Being right doesn’t make you any less of a douchebag. Pick your battles and know whose on your side.