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July 15, 2014

VILLAGE IDIOT: Houseguests: Are they a threat or a menace?

Some people like having lots of company. They like having plenty to do. They like big breakfasts and hearty lunches and specially prepared dinners. They are called houseguests, and as they also like to travel, they will be coming to your house soon — if they haven’t been there already or are with you right now.

I’d like to say something clever here, something very Oscar Wildian or Cole Porterish, like, “There are two kinds of visitors: those who (insert annoying trait here) and those who (insert more annoying trait here).” Alas, I am not that clever. Besides, there are more than two types of visitors. There are hundreds of types.

There are those who like to help with chores around the house.

“Oh, no,” they’ll say, “you cooked the dinner, so let us clean up.” And they do. They clear the table and wash the dishes and put them away. In places where you’ll never find them in a million years. We found a frying pan we’d spent a month looking for in the broom closet. It was very, very clean. I’m sure our serving spoons will turn up one day, too. Maybe I should look in the basement.

Then there are the visitors who do no chores at all. The good news is we will find everything when they leave; the bad news is that we’ll find it because it’s right where they left it. Wet towels on the bathroom floor, peanut shells on the floor beside their bed. When they leave, they say, “Come visit us! We’d love to have you,” as if that will make everything equal — implying that when we come visit them, we can leave wet towels on their bathroom floor and eat peanuts in their bed. But it doesn’t make us equal because we would never do those things. It just makes us not want to visit them even more.

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