Blow the dust off the seed spreaders, the edger’s and, in some cases, the family landscaper.  It’s time to peek out the window to see what kind of damage the neighbors are inflicting on our bank accounts.

On weekends when we see the neighbors outside getting all hoity toity on us by planting things and making landscaping improvements, it’s a natural reaction for us to shake our heads, stomp our feet and perhaps even take the Lord’s name in vein. In short, we hate them. The medical term for this reaction is “Evergreen Sweats.” All we really want to do is sit down, watch a recorded movie we might have only seen seven or eight times and relax. We work hard during the week, damnit. Don’t make us labor on our brief 48-hour respite as well. But, the neighbor’s started it and we accept the challenge.

Last spring, my jerky neighbor decided he wanted to plant something called Rhododendron in his front yard. I, being of the competitive nature, raced immediately to Adam’s Farms and asked them what trumps a Rhododendron?  And the war was on.

For some reason, we feel compelled to stay one step ahead of these nasty, self- absorbed show offs. And, let’s make one thing very clear. This runs far deeper than just the person living next to us. This snowball effect rolls all the way down the street.  No one is immune. This behavior is infectious, insidious and, no doubt, our thinking is diseased but, for some reason, we’ll stop at nothing to be the last one standing in September. Yes, it’s true, our families will be reduced to a steady diet of beans and franks, but, damnit, people will travel from blocks away just to get a glimpse of our beautiful Japanese Maples.

From the official guidebook, Miller’s Gardening Tips for The Paranoiac, we have posted the exact pecking order of improvements so, at a glance, you’ll see what you must do to ‘one up’ your snooty neighbor. I have listed just five examples to get you started. This convenient guide should help to keep you one tiller’s length ahead of this…this…sub human masquerading as a caring and involved neighbor.   Ugh!  I can’t stand him!

1)  Hydrangea trumps Rhododendron

2)  Wisteria trumps Ivy

3)  Lattice trellis trumps a patio

4)  In ground pool trumps horse shoe pit

5)  Deck with hot tub trumped only by deck with hot tub filled with Bud Lite Girls.

So, good luck neighbor.  I’ve got my eye on you and this time you can’t beat me. We’re just like two gunslingers facing each other on a dusty but eerily quiet Main Street (right in front of the saloon, of course) as the women folk and children scamper for cover. “I’m calling you out, neighbor! Draw you shovel on the count of three you varmit…if you dare.”


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