Dear Mr. Slumlord Down the Street

Pope Ron Swanson

Dear Owner of the House Two Doors to Down From Mine,

You don’t know me.  We’ve never met.  Not because I’m not around.  I know most of the people on our block extremely well.   We’ve never met because you never come around.

The other residents of our block say terrible things about you.  They say you are an absentee slumlord, who doesn’t care about our neighborhood, who is infecting our property values with blight, who should be thought of as the bane of Baltimore.  They want to drag you into the street and beat you silly.

But I defend you!  I say, “No!  He does care!”  I tell them, they are just looking at your abandon house in the wrong way.   Your neglect has done several great things for our block.

For example, you’ve provided my kids with a new game.  We call it “Weed or Tree?”  They love it.  We play every time we walk by your house.  One of them will point at a two-story-tall green stalk growing from what were once flower beds around your house and yell, “Is it a weed or tree?”  They then enter into a spirited debated about the nature of the plant.  This has provided hours of enjoyment for my four children.  It has even led my oldest to google the difference between weeds and trees, hoping for some tips that will give him an edge over his siblings.  I think you should take joy in the fact that your yard is both an educational and entertaining resources for the children of the community.

Also, I think it is sweet how you’ve provided our neighborhood rats a safe place to frolic.  Before you let your house go to hell, I was locked in an epic battle with those dirty little bastards.  They were fighting to take up residence under my front porch.  I battled back with all forms of traps and poisons.  But since you’ve stopped caring for your property, I haven’t had any problem with the rodents.  Now they have a large front and back yard to burrow in, play together, and make tons and tons of little rat babies.  Currently, I only see them when they are trying to gnaw through my garbage cans to get at my trash.  It is incredibly considerate of you to provide an animal most people see as a pest with such a large, comfortable, undisturbed habitat.

Speaking of wild life, what you’ve done for the drug dealers down the street has also been extremely generous.  I know they appreciate you providing them a safe place to throw their contraband when they see the cops coming.  Your bushes are so over grown, they could pitch an AK 47 into them and no one would ever find it.

Finally, I think it is fantastic how you brought the neighborhood together last week.  When that toddler disappeared in the forest that is your horribly-over-grown front lawn, we were scared.  We thought we would never see her again.  Everyone on the block came out to join the search party.  There’s nothing like a crisis to bring a neighborhood together.  Don’t worry.  We found her.  It took a few hours.  Turns out the rats were dragging her deeper into the jungle of your yard; but we got her out.  Two small dogs and an elderly gentleman from down the road died during the rescue, but we saved the kid.  Best of all, it was the first time everyone on the block has come together, elbow-to-elbow, around a single goal.

So like I said, the other people on our street think you are a horrible person destroying our community with your apathy and neglect.  They think you are living up to the worst stereotype of Baltimore developers, that you are part of what makes our city a difficult place to live, that you are a horrible selfish person who cares only about your income and not about the community around you.

But I chose to see you differently.  I think you do care.  You are trying to improve Baltimore…just in a more asshole, shitty, dirty rat loving bastard, slumlord kind of way.

Sarcastically Yours,

The Bishop of the City that Breeds

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