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Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Today Mr. Rogers would have been 84, but back in 2003 stomach cancer claimed the earthly life of our favorite neighbor. Back when I was a kid, I enjoyed Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. My children's instincts told me he was a good person, as he seemed genuinely compassionate, caring, and just a really nice guy. Even as an adult I can't say too much against him, except that on the show he appeared to not have a job. That is unless we are to believe that on top of being our neighbor, our parents paid to have him watch us through the TV. Come to think of it, my parents supported PBS back then, so in a way he was a paid babysitter, for a half hour everyday. Bottom line: Mr Rogers=good neighbor.
If I could ask anything for myself, I'd only really need 2 things: to have a neighbor like Mr. Rogers, and to be a neighbor like Mr. Rogers. While difficult, it is not impossible. Clearly, I'm not there yet in either respect. Case in point, this morning, there was a knock at the door. I answered, and a very possibly intoxicated gentlemen asked me "Is Amber home?", to which I replied, "I have no idea". He then asked, "Isn't this her apartment?" I say, "No, It is not". And then he asks if he can use my bathroom. Well, rather than run the risk of him making the hallway smell like his breath, I invite him in and direct him to privy. He asks "Why does it smell in here?" Right there I lost my patience! This panhandler comes into my home asking to use my bathroom, and then has the nerve to complain about the smell. I shot back, "Why do you think?" After he was done, he tries to strike up a conversation, but I wasn't having it. "Don't you have to find Amber?", I inquire. Then he tries to invite me to to join him and Amber to one of the local drinking establishments for the evening. "Yeah I don't think so!"
I feel bad about how I handled that particular situation, and yet I'm not sure how I could have handled it any better. Being a good neighbor is hard work, especially when the neighbor doesn't exactly help things out. That never happens in Mr. Rogers neighborhood. Mr. Robinson's maybe, but not Mr. Rogers!
If any of you readers have an idea of what I should do in case this sort of thing happens again, feel free to reply by comment, email, or Facebook. In the meanwhile, let's all do our best to be a good neighbor.
Happy Birthday Mr. Rogers!
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