So Much for Neighborhood Watch!

It’s one of those arc­tic days in Chicago where the mer­cury just drains out the bot­tom of the ther­mome­ter and birds freeze in midair. Right now it’s –4 degrees. It’s the kind of mind numb­ing cold that makes you paic if you can’t find your car keys instantly. The kind of cold that makes the river smoke. The kind of snowy bliz­zardic night­mare that coats your satel­lite dish with two inches of frozen snow and kills recep­tion so you can’t watch Amer­i­can Idol or 30 Rock–and that makes it an emergency.

I called cus­tomer assis­tance early today because our satel­lite was out. AFter sev­eral min­utes of the usual unplug­ging and replug­ging the guy says: wait, you live in Chicago? Is your Dish cov­ered with snow?

I walk out into my frosty yard, look up past the ice encased fortress of soli­tudesque tudor roof line and lo, the Dish, she is deeply besnowed.

Well there’s your problem.

I stood there on the side­walk star­ing at this lit­tle frozen lozenge while my kneecaps froze in place and won­dered how the !@#%# do you clear snow off one of those things! Jesus Hap­loid Christ–I’M GONNA MISS THE NEWS! I’M GONNA MISS 30 ROCK! OH MY GOD–I MIGHT MISS PSYCH!

Now, I am not an edu­cated man. But I do know that one way to solve a prob­lem is to set it on the back burner and go do some­thing else, let your mind do the work behind the scenes. I did dishes. I fixed some­thing. I made chili. Then the dog brought me his favorite drool soaked ten­nis ball and DING! I was out the front door in Full-On Homer mode. I threw the ball at the dish and hit the neighbor’s din­ing room window.

So we’re eat­ing the chili and star­ing out the win­dow as the sun goes down (4:17 pm) and eat­ing this awe­some, ungodly deli­cious gar­lic and ser­rano pep­per corn bread ala Jacque Imo’s, when I remem­ber the air­soft pis­tol I got the boy some­time last year. DING!

This time it’s really cold so I put on my big boots, my black jeans, my blood red hoodie, and a black leather jacket–and the gun–then go out and stand in the open end of the alley between my house and the neighbor’s hold­ing a pis­tol and peer­ing up at my roof.

Now, the world is bright, glar­ing white in all direc­tions and I’m dressed like a gang banger and aim­ing a gun at my house.

Did I men­tion I live on a street pop­u­lated mostly by cops, retired cops, a detec­tive, a fire­man, and a cop? Did I men­tion that every win­dow on either side of the street has a “WE CALL POLICE!” plac­ard in the front window?

The air­soft comes with a lit­tle fake laser scope and I peg the dish with the lit­tle red dot and squezze off a cou­ple of shots. I think I brought down a plane. I def­i­nitely missed the dish. I think. Maybe I hit it. All I know is the snow is still there and I’m still going to miss 30 Rock–and my neigh­bor­hood watch pro­gram sucks.

About Bull Garlington

Christopher Garlington is the humor columnist for Chicago Parent magazine, Seattle Parent Map, and New York Parenting magazine. His stories have appeared in Atlanta Parent, Baton Rouge Parent, Parenting ABC (U.K.); Florida, Orlando, Orlando Weekly, Catholic Digest, Retort, Another Realm, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and other magazines. He is the author of the infamous anti-parenting blog, Death By Children; co-author of The Beat Cop’s Guide to Chicago Eats.