It’s a Dangerous Day in Your Neighborhood
A Dangerous day for a Neighbor
Could you be mine
Would you be my mine
Would you be my Neighbor?

Some time ago for some bizarrely stupid and unknown reason I clicked on the “Yes I’m a dumbass” button floating about my computer screen and signed up for “Nextdoor” the social media site for people in small localized areas. It uses your zip code and neighborhood borders to define the group of people who can comment and share information.

For the most part it is benign – people posting announcements, asking for handyman recommendations, announcing car break-ins or posting stuff they are putting out on the curb free for the taking. The free stuff is mostly junk – you know like the broken, ripped to shreds, urine soaked La-Z-Boy lounger that dementia-addled grandpa slept in – until he died in it on a Friday and no one discovered him until the following Wednesday – yeah, no is ever gonna want that nasty thing.

But at the top of the Neighbor food chain is the “Nothing is too small to bitch about” faction.

Their posts are about small, trifling, everyday occurrences that they deem worthy of a Def-Con 4 warning. Their complaints of a chipmunk digging up their rose garden triggers a “scramble the fighter jets” emergency response followed by enraged supporters with suggestions on how to use a flame thrower or cyanide darts to kill the little fuckers.

There are several sub groups like the “Panzergruppen Doginhunt Gestapo Unit” with their constant posts of “there’s a wandering dog without identification papers.” There is the “Suspicious Dude Lurking” crime squad, where anyone darker than a marshmallow deserves a 911 call and a cavity check because the shifty-eyed hooligan has undoubtedly secreted away your neighbor’s lawnmower in his rectum. And then there is the “Cheap-ass Sons-a-Bitches Club.” They are either asking to borrow someone’s Milwaukee Sawzall and DeWalt cordless drill so they don’t have to shell out for one, or they are searching for someone to hand-dig a 70 foot trench and install a new water line for a “reasonable price.” By reasonable price they mean no more than 30 dollars, including the 70 foot copper line – regardless that the last quote they received from a licensed plumber was $2,800.00.

Recently, one woman from the “nothing too small to bitch about” faction let loose a dire warning about owls. While standing in her yard a lone owl that had been stalking her swooped down a little too close to her barking, 50-pound dog. Horrified she grabbed her heavy-as-a-sack-of-cement-50-pound dog and ran inside. My first thought was it would be a bit of a stretch for most owls to cart off and devour a 50-pound dog but what the fuck do I know. Anyway, after defying a close brush with the grim reaper her next thought was to retreat to her computer and give that keyboard a rigorous workout. She issued stern warnings about the danger of owls, the danger of standing in your yard, and of course the danger of dogs going outside (where dogs have managed to survive for a couple thousand years all on their own). Her admonishment to all of us was to keep our dogs indoors at all times or death from the skies will rain down upon them. To ignore this prophecy would likely result in your favorite beagle not living long enough to attend its next psychiatric therapy session to deal with the PTSD caused by you feeding it fake bacon treats.

There was a slew of responses on NextDoor and a large percentage felt that this was something to be very concerned about. Yes, most everyone knows that an owl or a hawk or a snarling saber toothed tiger can attack small animals – that is how they stay alive. In the city your yard is their grocery store. And I for one would like to see owls remain – the occasional missing cat be damned.

My feelings were that

  • A) being terrified of marauding owls stalking the mean streets of Atlanta is just not something to be overly concerned with – and certainly not something that 700 neighbors need to be warned about. I mean really, how many dogs can one owl eat? In Atlanta being worried you might get shot at a local gas station or dying of starvation after getting caught in the spider web of the standstill traffic on Atlanta’s downtown connector is a legit concern – but evisceration by an owl? Not so much. And
  • B) I felt it needed some sort of measured response. Was asking her if she still had all her arms and legs too personal a query? Is it possible the owl’s emotional state should be takin into account and her dog impounded for barking and hurting the owl’s feelings? Should the FAA be notified due to the owl violating local airspace restrictions?

Well, here was my response:

Image Credit: the illustration of the Hoot owl was created by by Trevor Stone IrvinImage Credit: the illustration of the Hoot owl was created by by Trevor Stone Irvin

Trevor Irvin, Lake Claire

A large owl just swooped down and flew off with my car, a red, 2004, mid-sized SUV and unfortunately one of my children was still in it. I may never recover from this tragic event. I can make another kid, but my car had a full tank of gas that I’ll never get back. It’s dangerous out there people – shelter in place.

I hope it helped – So, will you be my neighbor?

Trevor Stone Irvin

Trevor Stone Irvin

Illustrator and Designer living in the Candler Park area...At one time I worked at the Atlanta Constitution and then for CNN at the all seemed too much like real work so I went freelance...which my father defined as "being unemployed for a real long time".