From the rear lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, part two, or, how to peacefully coexist with sheltered-in-place neighbors on a weekly newspaper editor’s weekly budget - which is usually somewhere around $30.48.
1. Buy a trampoline off Craigslist for $17 and set loose the maximum amount of the loudest, shriek-prone 11-year olds you can find. And so much the better if a particularly noisome child bounces off, bruises something and then screams like a banshee for 30 minutes to a cacophony of “I didn’t do its” from peers and “I’m going to kill your evil little behinds” from mad mommas with tattoos. Think of the excitement you’ll bring to your neighbor’s dreary lives. Just remember not to get too close to the trampoline dealer, and wear gloves and a mask. Especially if he has spots.
2. Crank up the 150 horsepower Mercury on back of that sparkly fishing boat trailered up in your driveway. Run it for a while. Imagine you’re out on a lake chasing stripers, or girls in bikinis with their own $200 Yeti beer coolers. Heck, have a cold beer or three while you’re at it. Even better, jack up the bro country music in your pickup’s specially fitted sound system so you can hear the rap parts over the burble of the outboard. Note: editors can’t afford bass boats or expensive sound systems so we have to live vicariously through yours.
WARNING: don’t forget to hook the water hose to your motor and turn the water on, or you’ll burn up that $15,000 outboard and your neighbor won’t be able to hear how good them 150 fish-chasing horses sound in a doggone driveway for very long. And here’s a tip: when in doubt about how loud to play your music, remember what P.T. Barnum might’ve said, i.e., if it’s music to your ears, it’s music to theirs, too.
3. Burn stuff. It’s a proven fact subdivision dwellers love the smell of a great big garbage fire wafting around their property on weekends. So, in addition to roasting you up a batch of cardboard, plastic bottles, beer cans, Amazon bubble wrap, pallet wood, used firecrackers and two-month-old bills you keep forgetting to open, fish them disposable diapers out of the minivan and chunk them on the fire too. That way you won’t have to leave dirty diddies in the Walmart parking lot next time you remember you forgot to get them out of the car the last trip. It’s called working smarter, not harder.
4. Have a cornhole festival. Sure, you can’t have more than 10 people in the front yard at any given time right now or some liberal Democrat will call the sheriff’s department and rat you out, but you can invite up to half a dozen of your favorite cornhole league teammates to come partake in some good old fashioned cornhole fun and armchair wrestling. Don’t know how? Here’s a primer. Cornhole (pronounced korn-HOLE) is using one hand to throw beanbags at a shiny piece of wood with a hole in it while using the other hand to hold onto an adult beverage. Later, someone forgets how to open up a lawnchair and throws it at a tree and hollers at it a lot. And, of course, there’s the music and running cornhole commentary, both of which must be loud enough so your neighbors will know at 1 a.m. just how much fun you’re having.
5. Dress your pontoon boat up like a pirate ship and have a pirate party in your backyard. Park it next to your neighbors’ fence near his back porch so he can hear better and you’ll have more room to play cornhole because, well, people who dress up like pirates enjoy a good cornhole scrimmage almost as much as they like to pose for pictures of themselves dressed like pirates. Just remember, what happens at a pirate party stays at a pirate party, so feel free to get proud and loud and belt out this line from the best pirate song ever: “Ohh, who lives in a pineapple under the sea?”
Next week: Shelter-in-place fun with BB guns. And lots of bats.