Corie Skolnick

Communiqués From Geezerville: The Ping-Pong Wars

(Photo by Lisa Keffer on Unsplash)

Corie Skolnick’s newest Communiqués From Geezerville column is about topics from the latest HOA board meeting: dog poop punishments and the ongoing Ping-Pong wars.

 

Summer is winding down here in Geezerville, as elsewhere, and last night was the season’s final HOA board meeting. I had “something better to do” but Pablo was in attendance via Zoom with the full power of my POA. Here’s the thing about board meetings, and HOA board meetings in particular. The rules may vary slightly but, in my vast experience with (exactly) three HOA boards, almost any activity that doesn’t involve forced manual labor with shovels or cleaning solvents is “something better to do.” As reported on by my emissary, last night’s adventures in “little p” local politics was not an exception to this experience. “There must be paint drying somewhere, right?”

So, what are the geezers up to locally?

Well, prominent on the agenda, we continue to examine the enduring issue of dog feces, and notably the failure of some geezers to “pick up after (their) dogs.” For the record, I was NOT the geezer responsible for putting dog shit on the agenda this time. I’ll have to admit, though, it’s a trifle gratifying to know that, while the entire international community grapples with the calamities of war and the extraction of over a hundred thousand people from Afghanistan, we here in Geezerville persist in our endeavor to solve the ubiquitous* problem of dog shit.

[*Since publicly addressing this apparently national catastrophe in a previous communiqué, I’ve been informed by others living in such far-flung locales as New York City and Oakland, California, that dog crap wars are manifest literally from coast to coast.]

 

I’ve been informed by others living in such far-flung locales as New York City and Oakland, California, that dog crap wars are manifest literally from coast to coast.

 

Closer to home, a radical solution was tendered last night by “Fred” [not his real name] and this may shock you—it shocked me and I’m in the pro-clean-up-after-your-pets camp. That being said, Fred’s solution seemed a tad bit extreme to me. See how you feel. Fred suggested that any dog walker who fails to pick up Fido’s poo and gets captured in a photo should be fined US$500 and that the $500 compulsory fine should then be awarded to the vigilante photographer.

You would think, because you’re a decent human being, that this suggestion would be horrifying to any community west of Mother Russia. And yet, you would be wrong. To credit the community at large (or at least the board members who, last evening, were for the most part unabashedly AGAINST turning Geezerville into Dodge City), there was a tiny uproar at Fred’s suggestion. The prevailing argument against such vigilantism came from a local photographer/forensic psychologist (no one we all know and love, though, right? wink) who offered the winning advice against: “To be proven, it would have to be video.” This may or may not be a dubious argument, after all, he wasn’t unequivocally opposed to “punishment” in general, just questioning putting the punishment into effect without legal ramifications (“liability,” you know, the bane of Geezerville). Nevertheless, cooler heads prevailed and the issue was tabled again (in perpetuity, if history is any judge).

Next up, the second most enduring HOA battle of wills. This one goes WAY back. This one has been on that table for years. Four and counting. I won’t go into the history of the Ping-Pong table skirmishes here in Geezerville, but we can stipulate … it’s “colorful.” Furthermore, it may or may not have included actual threats of bodily harm to a certain HOA board member who said, and I quote, “Over my dead body will we buy any more boy toys.” (Unfortunately, nobody in G-ville got vid because that shiz would have gone VI-RAL!)

You might be surprised to learn that Ping-Pong gets the geezers mighty riled up. I know I was. Surprised, I mean. Definitely NOT riled. (Who GAF? Am I right?) Well, now, I can tell you who. In a few cases where the Anti-Ping-Pong people get truly exercised to the point I fear a cerebral vascular incident might be in the offing, I admit, I have wondered about their personal histories with Ping-Pong. (Perhaps a traumatic sleepaway summer camp experience involving PP?) Whatever. As I said, it’s been over four years now of incessant fighting with no signs of peace and the intractable opposers to the purchase of a Ping-Pong table cycle through their objections faster and with more agility than Simone Biles on the floor mat.

 


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Last night, it was, “How many people are actually going to use a Ping-Pong table anyway?” And the correlate inquiry, “How much is it going to cost? And why should the people who don’t play Ping-Pong subsidize the people who do?” That last one may have been a fatal error. Let me tell you why.

I live with someone who does not like to lose an argument. I have the psychic scars to prove it. (He also moonlights as the community Pro-Ping-Pong faction leader here in Geezerville.) Late into the night last night, long after the streets had been rolled up (9:00 p.m.), as he ruminated about the content of the meeting and a future without a local Ping-Pong table, and after I’d returned from a lively evening watching paint dry elsewhere, he tried to enlist me in the battle of wills concerning Ping-Pong. Now, I’ve got nothing against hitting a little white ball back and forth, back and forth, back and forth on a tabletop, yet, I have scant interest in dying on a hill about it. But here’s the thing. Long ago, we devised a job description policy in our household. He’s the resident photog, and I do ALL the writing. We do not leave our respective lanes or there’s hell to pay. Thus, Mr. Ping-Pong wants me to craft a statement to be read aloud to the community at large at the very next HOA board meeting suggesting the following (and he’s just getting started with this list):

 

  • That new, recently purchased puzzle table in the library? How many people actually use that? A puzzle table poll tax should be applied to the HOA dues of all the puzzle people.
  • Speaking of the library, who actually uses it and why is perfectly good community space being hogged by the teensy membership of literati? That room could be dedicated to another kind of activity (I suggest Ping-Pong) to be enjoyed by a majority, rather than the meager literate few.
  • Only the people who actually use the swimming pool should be required to pay for the chemicals AND the cost of heating the pool. Non-swimmers should NOT subsidize the swimmers’ chlorine habit or their selfish needs to not freeze their old asses off.
  • And, speaking of the pool users, why, as a whole, is the general population required to foot the bill for the re-furbishing of all those lounge chairs around the poolside? Many of us (due to a condition most described as ADHD) have never lounged a day in our lives. How many people are actually sitting around the pool? And why are we subsidizing the lazy loungers?

 

You see where this might lead and why it’s so very difficult to win any argument with Mr. Ping-Pong, don’t you?

I’ll probably capitulate and do his bidding. It’s sometimes easier that way. Also, I’m already thinking about ways I can get in some digs about the meeting room where the Republican book club meets to glorify Ayn Rand. Who could resist that?

Until then, the Ping-Pong table purchase has again been tabled by the Anti-Ping-Pong contingent for yet another season.

Meanwhile, within our own little existence, I’ve clocked another year with Mr. Pro-Ping-Pong. August twentieth, Bitches! Thirty-seven glorious years, the last fun four here amongst the lovely (but still Ping-Pong table-less) amenities of Geezerville. Where does the time go?

 

Corie Skolnick

Corie Skolnick is the author of two novels, ORFAN and AMERICA’S MOST ELIGIBLE, both published by india street press the publishing subsidiary of indie record label, Mannequin Vanity Records. She is a contributor to the non-fiction anthologies, ADOPTION REUNION IN THE SOCIAL MEDIA AGE and ADOPTION THERAPY. Her essays have appeared in THE BIG SMOKE AMERICA and NAILED MAGAZINE. She writes regularly for the travel website, DESTO3.com. She is a San Diego State University/Hugh C. Hyde Living Writers Series selectee. Her first novel, ORFAN is in development as a feature film.

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