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Column brings lots of advice

I never know what kind of response I'll get from my columns.

A few years ago, the mainstream media was all abuzz about Sponge Bob's sexual preference. I spoofed them by noting that sponges are asexual, so how can Sponge Bob have a preference if he has no choice? A letter to the editor ran stating I was homophobic and the Post shouldn't waste ink on my column.

Another time I recognized Leif Erickson Day, an official U.S. holiday, by relating what a Norwegian exchange student was discovering about America. This time a writer questioned how I could be so stupid as to believe Leif Erickson discovered America.

Recently I wrote about the advantages of getting to know all your neighbors. A flood of e-mails suggested otherwise.

One couple had bought a house that required a lot of repair.

"There was no welcome to the neighborhood, only zoning warnings. We got a warning for yard debris the day we moved in. Then we found out who the 'hood zoner is," the lady said.

After this man repeatedly harassed them with vicious pranks, the couple took him to court.

"The judge warned him to stop. Now he's looking in our garage and in between the slats of our privacy fence. I pray for patience," she said.

Another reader wrote, "My daughter's voice teacher is of African descent, and for several lessons, a neighbor stood in the cul-de-sac facing my house as if she were 'on duty' to spy on what was going on here."

I even got an interesting letter from a childhood friend, Larry, who reads my column online. Larry, who worked in a prison for 15 years said, "If you at least know one, two or three neighbors well, especially the ones on each side of your house or across the street, you will go a long way in assuring the safety of your house."

Or, you can have just one very nosey neighbor like Larry and I had growing up. Her name was Barb.

"She reported every dog bark after 8 p.m. One time the cops knocked on our door about the dog barking excessively. Rufus was at the vet's overnight after being hit by a car and she insisted we were lying," Larry recalled.

I, too, remember Barb. She reported my dad's compost pile to the health department and her backyard border disputes resulted in my dad putting up a fence.

After all his venting about Barb, Larry said, "She would tell my mother everything the other neighbors were doing and I'm sure she reported to them everything we were doing. So, of course, I did my best to keep the neighborhood interesting."

Maybe anyone with a nosey neighbor problem just needs a kid like Larry around to keep all the busybodies busy!

Susan Larson is a Lilburn resident. E-mail her at susanlarson4@yahoo.com.