Suburban Shame

Take a stroll down Any Street, USA and you’ll see that people spend a lot of time and money beautifying their yards. Who can blame them? Real estate is a huge investment and a yard can reveal a lot about a homeowner. But what’s revealed is not always a good thing. Here is photographic proof from my own neighborhood…


Similar to Roman ruins, these miniature turquoise columns suggest a race of homosexual dwarfs once lived here. What kind of fabulous architecture did they once support? In other areas of the yard there are rock faces and flower bed borders painted this same color, lending the entire property an air of pastel squalor.


OK, it’s hard to get a sense of the enormity of the freakish flora from this picture, but these bushes are huge. If you lived in this house and gazed out of any window or doorway towards your front yard, all you would see is branches. A hundred thousand branches to haunt your dreams. A landscaper could spend his entire career pruning just these two monsters.


What we see here is perhaps a 6-foot length of shin-high wire fencing. It is neither decorative nor functional and is slowly being overrun by the encroaching weeds. This fence wouldn’t keep out a blind and crippled rabbit. Why someone hasn’t yanked it from the ground and slung it in the street is beyond me.


Spray-painted pink yard chairs may not seem like such a decorative affront, but the people who live here are bikers. You know, real bikers—burly, heavy, middle-agers with glistening Harleys in the driveway and pink chairs in the yard. It just doesn’t go together. I would have taken a picture of the whole oxymoronic panorama but, fearing a beat down, didn’t want to stand in their yard with my camera any longer than necessary.


Someone spent a lot of energy hauling these unwieldy concrete blocks across the yard and stacking them into this wavy, waist-high defensive wall. Its construction is as puzzling as that of the Great Pyramids of Giza. It doesn’t keep anything in or out and would be a considerable obstacle when mowing and weed eating. Why bother? Unless you were starting a neighborhood paintball course or needed something to high jump.


This pitiful looking cow must have strayed from its herd. It now stands alone in this yard and has obviously grazed most of the grass within its reach. Perhaps it was staked there to hide the flimsy sapling or the snake pit of neon cables behind it. I must say that its beautiful eyelashes take focus from the hump-goiter that plagues its hind quarters.


There are “race fans” all over the south, so I wasn’t surprised to find Jeff Gordon’s #24 sticking out of this flower bed. What is odd is the haphazard, careless placement of the numerals and the way they seem to have drunkenly collapsed against the shrubs. Any passing Jeff Gordon enthusiast would look upon this display as an outrage—the resident needs to stick them in the center of his yard within a weather-proof plastic dome with dramatic lighting and an eternal flame.


Clearly the owners of this goal think no one will notice the 8 sandbags that lay beneath the flapping, split trash bag that is supposed to mask the half-ass repair, a fix they hope will keep the goal from falling down again onto one of their vehicles.  The object has lost all of its sports cred and has become something that resembles a futuristic pack animal. (I am no yard snob. This is our own embarrassing basketball goal.)


4 Responses to “Suburban Shame”

  1. Carrie Johnson Says:

    Oh honey. That was hilarious! And even our own pitiful basketball goal doesn’t compare to some of the others! Some needn’t a caption – they are just so bad! Good job dear. Hope those bikers don’t come knockin’ on our door! Oh and Jeff Gordon sucks. 😉

  2. This is great Mike. Your neighbors are so artistic (in a very postmodern sort of way). My neighbors lack imagination — only the ubiquitous broken-down cars being slowly enveloped by the surrounding vegetation.

    What we need is a mission. Shook and I explored brief careers as yard ornament thieves. There was no pay, the hours were terrible, and my business partner often passed out post-mission. But it was fun.

    • We could steal the defensive wall one brick at a time! I stole a few things out of yards at different points in my life and fully expect the bad karma to come rolling back around–this will happen when we actually have a well-kept yard with cool stuff in it.

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