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Sorry to Offend Your Delicate Sensibilities, Tom
Tonight I got my first visit from Tom who lives across the hall. Let us briefly acquaint ourselves with Tom. Tom is young, a bit awkward, apparently psychologically-damaged, perhaps traumatized in some way from childhood, somewhat leafy-headed, almost thoroughly domesticated, probably not making it with the babes, otherwise responsible, clean-cut, yet just another irreparably-damaged Anglo-Saxon-ish college student majoring in Psychology with a minor in Pissing Up a Flag-pole. He's mostly ignored by the academic circles into which he's barely emerged, but that's not Tom's major fault, or flaw. Before further spelunking the icebergs of Tom's psyche, it should be noted: He also has a really loud parakeet called, "Pete " who I've contemplated shooting in the face with a pneumatic nail gun.

Here's Pete. Two Chirps Away From Fatal Perforation
I sense that Tom is another undergrad-transplant from Hey-toss-me-another-chunk-of-cow-shit, Nebraska; no doubt living off the resources of his upper-middle class heart-felt Patriotic Presbyterian Parents who believe themselves to be God's favorite people on Earth because they're wealthy. And monetary wealth is, of course, the best indicator of upon whom God has bestowed His Most Special Blessings. Thus, poor people are God-less. See how that works? That's why that shit works so well with Capitalism.

Anyway, this Tom takes it boldly upon his wispy self to breach acceptable conventions of civility by banging like a madman on my door at 1:30 in the morning whilst heaping his vociferous tirade of imagination upon me; as though he were shouting at a dog who'd just pinched a steaming loaf of shit into his eggplant casserole.

So whilst watching Tom's lips slap together, arms flap wildly, and without listening to a fucking word he said, I quietly perceived Tom is taking me (up to now a complete stranger), to the court of his own paranoid delusions for something that he, I am presently convinced, does secretly himself.

This lightning fast appraisal is immediately substantiated by the sheer fact that, by addressing me as though I were something less worthy of respect than a fucking inanimate object, or some wimpy, slobbering beta retard who couldn't find employment at the local pencil factory, Tom apparently has no restraining compulsion whatsoever to ameliorate his poor form of discourse to a more acceptable tone. I casually considered beating him into a coma with the antique lamp in the hallway.

Edit: People tend to forget to think before acting. It's a fucking pandemic. The same people, for example, who reach down to playfully tug the ears of a pit bull, just because he's "cute, " are the same idiots missing fingers, or whole hands today.

In any case, Tom continued to bark. But all I could hear was, "I 'm-a-frustrated-lonely-white-male-mamas-boy-shit-stain-so-lonely-in-this-world-I-often-feel-an-irrepressible-need-to-mind-other-people's-business-because-I 'm-such-a-fuck-up-such-an-expendable-dipshit-in-the-food-chain-of-human-evolution-that-I-probably-should-have-been-tossed-head-first-off-a-tall-building-at-the-moment-of-my-birth.

So I finally push Toms pause button for a polite introduction, reach out my intact hand, smile.

"Hello. I'm Mr. Rosewater. What can I do for you? "

Tom: "Hello, sir! I 'm Sorry, I'm Tom. "

Me: "I can tell that you are. But please proceed to accost me with your imaginary grievances in a manner less like that of a rabid animal. "

I eventually ascertain Tom's particular perturbation this evening was that he could "smell cigarette smoke coming through the door dividing our bathrooms, " and though Tom, being a smoker himself, and being the friendly neighbor he is, was somehow irrepressibly compelled to remind me of the no-smoking policy of the apartment building, I dutifully indulged in playing the ersatz victim of his petty, utterly-beta moral indignation.

Tom is apparently out-of-sorts with what he innocently perceives to be a flagrant breach in the otherwise tidy, self-righteous, too-white fabric into which he binds himself in his privileged universe. Nevertheless, he proceeds.

"Mr. Rosewater, do you smoke? "

"No. "

"Well, like I said, I smoke, but only outside. "

"Youre a good person, Tom. "

(Awkward pause)

Now Tom is staring at me with that predictably perplexed look of cognitive dissonance typically associated with those suffering from some temporarily-incapacitating disruption of congruence between what they are being told, and what their bovine-sense of intuition only peripherally assumes. So I venture to rescue Tom from his dilemma by pro-offering what I then prescribed as a reasonable perspective upon presently strained and potentially volatile circumstances.

"You know, Tom, the reality is, we don 't actually share a door dividing our bathrooms do we? I mean a cursory appraisal of our physical proximity indicates that you... live across the hall from me. That is, in a place not adjacent to my room."

Tom looks around.

"Oh.Yeah, that may be right, but..."

"It not only may be right, Tom. It is demonstrably, irrefutably true. Anything else I can do for you, Tom?"

"Um, no. I guess not. Like I said, I admit I smoke..."

"Yes you have done, repeatedly, Tom. And you smoke 'outside ' too, from what I gather. How nice for you! And I shall thank you for continuing to doing so, Tom. And of course, please know that your tragically offended moral indignation will be duly noted, and that I have already speed-dialed the landlord to let him know of your concerns. It was a pleasure meeting you, Tom. Sorry you have to leave so soon."

I close the door.

I could literally smell Tom fuming on the other side of the door; no doubt frustrated over his own tenuous grip on reality.

Listen. I am not utterly insensitive to the possibility that this initial encounter with Tom was just another case of some bitterly lonely person attempting, however feebly, to engage the attentions of an otherwise innocuous stranger for the sake of striking up a conversation. To clarify: Tom drew first, so I shot back. Right between his eyes.

Listen. There is no end to Tom's. Tom 's are God's way of bench-testing your Psyche.

However, I've no doubt that this Tom, his very self, is probably yet another invaluable ambulatory embodiment of a veritable compendium of marginally-interesting information and illuminations untold by which even I might experience the enlightenment of some dark corner of my own modestly endowed cerebrum.

Or, I might take a Tom-like lack of decorum and tact, and say, "Fuck you. And fuck all you weak-assed, pip-squeak, hypocritical, wannabe-mother-fuckers who despise your selves for never knowing their shitty fathers who wound up rotting slowly away, alone, with nothing left to bitch about but their own malignant tumors whilst boozing it up in some shitty motel in Mexico.

So, to be clear, to the all the "Toms" of the world I say, "Go back to squeezing your spare pillow, in your sleep, pretending its your mothers fat hind leg!" "Go back into your holes in the wall! Stop thinking yourselves brave for popping your heads out now and then barking like a fucking prairie dog at other people just trying to get through this thing by minding their own goddamn business."

"This is the land of motor sports, boy! Chock full of scores of soul-less, cut-throat whores, and other ravenous carnivores, lurking in the shadows for the chance to tear your fucking head off and eat it like a fruit!"

But there is a third option. For example, under less time-restrictive circumstances, I might have rather engaged my more creative urges; that is, strategized, and deployed some long-term program of urban/psychological warfare upon our Good Tom (including, but not limited to, for example, nailing a dead squirrel to his door, pouring a gallon of bleach into his laundry, or simply, surreptitiously, loosening the nuts on his bicycle wheels).

Pre-requisite to these terrorist propositions, Tom, of course, must continue the dance that he began. I'm no cheap date. And like an unrequited lover I shall not lightly gift my attentiveness to some incidental shit-stain until my demands of further, future confrontations are assured.

In the meantime, Our Good Tom should probably crawl his monkey-ass back up into his 600 square foot cubicular shit hole and go back to sleep, whilst I go to the bathroom, open the window and... spark up another Marlboro.