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the other side of the story
what would jesus rue?
by mike julianelle

This'll work better if you read, or (hopefully) reread this one. Or not.

Sometimes people even get on my nerves.

I’m a pretty easy-going guy, most days. I like to tend my garden, keep my lawn looking neat and clean, maybe have some lemonade or ice-tea on my front porch. Occasionally I like to swing in my hammock – on Sundays mostly, when I’m relaxing. I’m too busy the rest of the week.

I try my best not to bother anyone. I am not a nosy person, or a busybody. If someone wants to talk with me about something, I am more than accommodating, but I am not going to force myself into your affairs.

My lawn has been looking very nice lately. Pristine, even, and I am proud. I’ve been doing a lot of good work on it, removing the chaff and the rocks and the blemishes. A few years back I put up an adorable white picket fence, partially to keep my dog, Pilate, from roaming too far, but also because I just love what it does for my peace of mind. It really makes me feel like I’m part of the American dream, sometimes. It’s a nice touch. Some of my neighbors are kind enough to comment on how well I keep my yard, and most of the community seems proud and happy to have me as a member.

But there is one young man who clearly thinks otherwise. His name is Frank and he lives right next door. He is very resentful of my lawn, firstly, but I think it goes beyond that. He seems to have a problem with my very lifestyle, from the way I lounge in my hammock to the music I listen to (Who on earth could have a problem with Marc Cohn?) and the things I say.

I can often hear him from his house, berating me and cursing me, into thin air, mind you!, and I wish I could reconcile with him. I have tried reaching out to Frank in the past, but he doesn’t listen. Instead he screams and swears and says all manner of rude and unbecoming things. He has threatened to vandalize my lawn, he has even threatened to “vandalize” my face. Once he even sprayed me with water when I was napping on my hammock.

I have tried and tried and tried to turn the other cheek, but this is getting very old. Once I gave him a gift that I had made myself, a nice jug of wine. I occasionally dabble in winemaking, and while I haven’t had much proper training, I must say my wine is very tasty. I’ve even used it at weddings, in a pinch, and it’s gone over quite well.

Instead, however, of Frank accepting the wine graciously, he made a point of sloppily chugging it in my presence and demanding more before he, and I quote, “smashed my sideburns upside my face.”

I don’t have sideburns.

He also screamed at me for walking on his lawn in my sandals, which I promptly removed. But he didn’t thank me, or apologize for his tone. He just continued yelling.

I used to turn to my father for help in these situations; he was always good at giving me perspective, and he definitely knows the lay of the land when it comes to bullies. But he has bowed out of this one; I suppose I must handle it on my own. After all, it’s not the first time I’ve had trouble with ruffians of Frank’s stripe. Dad even told me I should be grateful it’s not an angry mob this time.

It’s not easy for someone like Me, excuse Me, for someone like me (old habits die hard, ya know), to deal with this kind of thing. I have a reputation as an easy-going guy. I’m not trying to hurt or embarrass anyone, but I am getting sick of being treated this way. The last time something like this happened I took my punishment, I allowed it to go on, way past my breaking point. But I was making a point. But this time, well…let’s just say I’m losing my patience.

I almost wouldn’t mind another flood. Localized in Frank’s house. But I can’t do it, not anymore, and I could never ask.

But no, what am I saying? Of course I wouldn’t want that. But you must understand the frustration I’m feeling. This man has been like a plague (there’s another idea…no, no. I couldn’t!). It’s just, well, I don’t even have any friends to turn to anymore. They’ve long since passed and I am navigating these new situations on my own. I no longer have a compass; I have no co-pilot of my own. That co-pilot shit never sat right with me anyway. Yeah, maybe I’m your co-pilot, but you ain’t mine. It’s a misnomer. I‘m the pilot, jack, and you’re usually the bitch in coach whining about the service.

I’m sorry. But now you can see I am at my wit’s end. Now you can see why I retired. It’s people like Frank, they just get my blood boiling! I can’t even relax on my hammock anymore for fear that he might do something else and cause me to snap. I don’t get angry often, but my temper is mighty. Frank should be praying that I don’t lose it.

I haven’t heard anything yet.


Let's get real here. You don't want to know about me. You want to know about "me".

more about mike julianelle


the parent trap
buried with children
by mike julianelle
topic: humor
published: 7.7.10

forrest chump
optimism is for suckers
by mike julianelle
topic: humor
published: 9.19.01


juli mccarthy
9.30.03 @ 5:45p

This is hilarious, as is its prequel. Good stuff!

heather millen
9.30.03 @ 5:52p

The original installment is one of my favorite Michael S. Julianelle pieces. Nice to see more of it.

joe procopio
9.30.03 @ 10:13p

OMG - what would jesus rue? So beautiful. So blasphemous.

tim lockwood
10.1.03 @ 1:59a

That co-pilot shit never sat right with me anyway. Yeah, maybe I’m your co-pilot, but you ain’t mine. It’s a misnomer. I‘m the pilot, jack, and you’re usually the bitch in coach whining about the service.

While I don't think God would actually say it this way, I don't doubt that this is the gist of what He thinks about His people sometimes.

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