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Never Assume that the Obvious is True

Trash in the yard
Trash in the yard

Every time you think that the college students did it, history proves you wrong,

When you live in a college town, you get used to the college students doing strange things. They’ll do anything and everything from parking on the sidewalk, to peeing on your lawn, to walking down the street yelling at the top of their lungs at 3:00 o’clock in the morning.

Every class of college students is different, but in some ways they’re all the same. They’re young and they just don’t get it. What’s new? None of us had a clue when we were their age.

After living in a college town for almost thirty years, I thought I’d seen everything, but I hadn’t.

The neighborhood has changed over the years, and the biggest change has been the influx of college students living in some of the houses where families used to live.

When the man who lived in the house behind mine died, his son sold the house to Fred Webster, an infamous college landlord, who immediately filled the house with more than “three unrelated adults” in violation of the Village Code. But the village didn’t enforce the code, so I learned to live with the situation.

Suddenly, I started finding empty beer bottles in my back yard, but there was more to come.

Never assume the obvious is true.
William Safire

The college guys living in the old Zimmer house behind mine liked to play baseball in their back yard. That was okay, until the day I looked out my window and saw one of the college kids chasing a pop fly right through my flower garden.

I mean right through my flower garden, as if it wasn’t even there. When I walked out later to check my garden, I found deep footprints next to the smashed zinnias, and footprints right on top of my crushed geraniums.

So I put up a fence, and the students living in the old Zimmer house stopped tromping through my garden.

Then Bob Wilson, my neighbor to the south, died and Craig Faulks bought the beautiful house and turned it into yet another college rental.

I could deal with that, Craig is a good guy, but unfortunately, his tenants acted like absolute morons.

I’ll never forget the day that I looked out my rear window and saw Craig’s tenants playing touch football in my back yard. It was Spring and the ground was soft, as it always is in the Spring, and they were tromping across my yard, turning it into a quagmire.

So I put up another fence, and there was a six-foot barrier between the college students and my back yard.

The college students would still play football and volleyball in the yard next door, and I would still find a few empty beer bottles and soda bottles in my yard near the fence afterwards. But at least they weren’t chewing up my lawn.

You’d think that would be the extent of it, but some things are beyond explanation.

When the weather warmed up the other day, and the snow melted, I found a bunch of dead candy wrappers and gum wrappers all over my yard near the fence between my property and the old Bob Wilson place.

I picked the dead wrappers up, but it didn’t make any sense. I was baffled. I understood how, why, and when the college students would throw empty beer bottles and soda bottles over the fence into my back yard.

But I had no idea how they managed to throw the flimsy candy wrappers and gum wrapper over the fence into my yard. You’d think the wrappers would just fly away in the breeze.

It was a puzzle I couldn’t solve until it snowed again, and I saw a squirrel bounding across my yard carrying a plastic food container in its mouth.

The squirrel scrambled up into the huge Silver Maple by the fence and then sat there picking the food scraps out of the plastic food container.

That’s when it dawned on me. The college students didn’t throw the candy wrappers and gum wrapper over the fence into my yard. The squirrels had raided a stash of discarded candy nearby, possibly in a plastic trash bag, and carried the candy wrappers up into the big tree.

The candy wrappers had simply fallen to the ground as the squirrels ate the candy.

And my knee-jerk reaction was to blame the college students. That kind of snap judgment comes back to bite me every time.

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