Photo By Jeff Skrenes
by John Hoff | July 20, 2009 • As I mentioned in a previous post about the “One Man Minneapolis” pageant, I spoke to Mayor R.T. Rybak at the event about how modest reforms to stop unwanted phone book dumping are having no impact. Trucks full of phone book dumpers appear to have no “opt out” lists at all. They simply drive along throwing books WHEREVER and a couple days ago even delivered a book to a vacant lot…
|The Adventures of Johnny Northside: Being the amazing, true-to-life adventures and (very likely) misadventures of a divorced man who seeks to take his education, activism and seemingly boundless energy to the North Side of Minneapolis, to help with a process of turning an arguably-blighted neighborhood into something approaching Urban Utopia. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be near my child. This blog is dedicated to my 12-year-old son Alex, and his dream of studying math and robotics at MIT.|
(Parody in the paragraph ahead)
Jeff Skrenes, a.k.a. “The Hawthorne Hawkman,” physically recovered from his injurious, near-death encounter with the “Dumpinator 3000” and now possessing super mutant powers, fired off a missive to me about a recent confrontation with evil phone book dumpers who hit the Hawthorne Neighborhood a few days ago, making their crappy “deliveries” at OBVIOUSLY VACANT houses with, duh, boards on the doors.
BOARDS ON THE DOORS, I SAY!!!!! CURSE YOU, YELLOWBOOK!!!!!
Here, exactly as it was typed up in “the case files of the Hawthorne Hawkman,” is Jeff’s firsthand account…
I was leaving my place and I saw a person dropping of Yellow Pages phone books. Out of curiosity, I decided to drive up and down my street to see if they had left phone books at vacant properties. Surprisingly, one place with boards on it did not have a phone book there. But the next vacant house, which had several stickers, a realtor lockbox, and numerous OTHER rotting phone books on it stoop did have TWO phone books there. It was a duplex, after all.
So I grabbed those two phone books and chased after the van. I caught up to it and threw the phone books in the open hatch – it was stopped, so this wasn’t like some wild police chase, although that would have been cool.
(JNS says: yeah, like yesterday when me and a friend chased a john and a prostitute from 2700 Morgan Ave. N., SO COOL!!!! Anyway…)
That’s when the lady driving the van saw me and got out. I told her she was leaving phone books at vacant houses, which she completely denied doing. She also questioned why this was a problem.
Well at that point, I stopped talking and I started shouting.
“YOU LEAVE THESE PHONE BOOKS AT EMPTY HOUSES AND IT’S LIKE A NEON SIGN FOR SQUATTERS AND COPPER THIEVES!!!” And words to that effect.
She then started to yell, “Police! Police! I got a man yelling at me!”
“Yeah, get the police over here!” I yelled. “And I’ll tell them how you’re LITTERING! Now go back on your WHOLE ROUTE and make sure you don’t have ANY PHONE BOOKS AT VACANT PROPERTIES!!!”
Well just then her partner came back around the corner and wanted to know what was going on. It was pretty much the same conversation, only louder. He even said, “How am I supposed to know if a house is vacant? I don’t go in and look in the windows.”
“Well you CAN’T look in the windows because they’re BOARDED UP!!!” I yelled. “And if there’s a lockbox on the door, it’s vacant. If there are stickers on the door, it’s vacant. If there are TEN OTHER PHONE BOOKS ON THE PORCH IT’S VAAAACAAANT!!!”
“Now,” I continued. “I’m going to call my neighbors up and tell them to be on the lookout for phone book littering. So you need to go back on your WHOLE ROUTE and pick up ANY PHONE BOOKS you left at vacant properties. And we will be WATCHING to make sure you don’t do this any more.”
Oh, but it got better. Another truck pulled up and asked what the problem was, and I explained (this time, more calmly). They first said that phone books on a porch were GOOD because it makes it look like people are LIVING THERE.
Yeah, right. In the BIZARRO UNIVERSE.
(JNS says: I want to strangle! I want to hit! I want to SCREAM!!! SCREW YOU, YELLOWBOOK!!!! I HOPE WOODPECKERS RIP OUT YOUR EYES!!!!)
Then they said, “If it’s such a problem, why don’t you go around and pick up the phone books yourself?”
“WHY ARE YOU LEAVING PHONE BOOKS AT VACANT PROPERTIES IN THE FIRST PLACE?!?!?” I yelled, in response.
The other folks shook their heads at me and drove off. The phone book people got back in their van and actually turned around to double back on their route.
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