Just Being Neighborly

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Vol 37 Issue 20

Average Age Of Wacky TV Neighbors Dropping

ATLANTA–According to a Center For Media Studies report released Monday, the average age of wacky TV-sitcom neighbors has steadily declined over the past half-century. "In the '50s, during the days of Ed Norton and Fred and Ethel Mertz, the median age was a mature 53," the report read. "By the late '70s and early '80s, with the likes of Larry on Three's Company, Monroe on Too Close For Comfort, and Lenny and Squiggy on Laverne & Shirley, the average had dropped to 36. Today, the wacky-neighbor landscape is dominated by twentysomethings, typified by Jack on Will & Grace and all the friends on Friends." At the present rate, the report added, wacky TV neighbors will primarily be toddlers by 2015.

Mediocre Painter's True Talent Lies In Acting Like A Painter

LOS ANGELES–According to art critics, mediocre painter James Augustiniak has proven masterful at cultivating the self-centered, womanizing demeanor of an art-world enfant terrible. "Augustiniak's latest exhibition, featuring dozens of paintings of melting eyeballs and hearts, was a staggering achievement in clichéd, pseudo-pretentious banality," said Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight. "But I went anyway, just to see him throw a fit over the lighting in the gallery. He's very good at that sort of thing."

America A Fascist Police State, Stoned Underage Drunk Driver Charges

SMYRNA, GA–Outraged by the brutal suppression of civil liberties that has defined the nation's history, stoned 15-year-old Corey Shifflett denounced America as a "total fascist police state" following his drunk-driving arrest Saturday. "This whole country is, like, totally Hitlered-out," Shifflett told friend Glen Withers, who posted his $500 bail. "These cops, they're just looking for any excuse to pull us over and hassle us, just to feel like fuckin' Superman." Shifflett then knocked over an orange highway cone and vowed to move to Amsterdam.

Longtime Sexual Fantasy Awkwardly Fulfilled

LEXINGTON, KY–The longtime sexual fantasy of Andrew Marcone was awkwardly fulfilled Saturday, when the local record-store clerk participated in a clumsy, embarrassing menage a trois with girlfriend Karen Wagner and her roommate Shelley Peelen. "Well, I finally did it, for what it's worth," said Marcone, 27, following the long-dreamed-of sexual encounter, six minutes into which he ejaculated. "So much for wondering what it would be like, I guess." After achieving orgasm, Marcone spent the next half hour "trying not to get in the way" of his companions.

Hidden Valley Ranch Bombed By Balsamic Extremists

HIDDEN VALLEY, CA–A radical Balsamic fundamentalist group detonated an estimated 800 pounds of TNT at the Hidden Valley Ranch compound Monday, killing 11 and injuring dozens more. "Let no salad again be foully tainted by the corrupt regime of Hidden Valley," said Martin Pulaski, leader of the Nation Of Balsam, in a statement claiming responsibility for the deadly attack. "We shall not rest until every salad's flavor is enhanced by a light and tangy vinaigrette, not buried in a shameful avalanche of buttermilk."

The Jeffords Defection

Last week, U.S. Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont left the GOP to become an independent, handing control of the Senate to the Democrats. What do you think?
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Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

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Technology Unfortunately Allows Distant Friends To Reconnect

WAYNE, PA—Providing them the tools necessary to bridge a gap that both individuals say they were more than willing to maintain indefinitely, sources confirmed Monday that the advent of modern technology has unfortunately allowed distant friends Mere...

Just Being Neighborly

You know, you'd think a genuine people-person like me would have friends coming out the wazoo. But other than Patti and Fulgencio, and my two sweet kitties Priscilla and Garfield, I don't have a whole heck of a lot of buddies. I've never understood it: I'm always eager to initiate a conversation (even with a complete stranger), I'm always smiling, and I'm ever-ready to lend a helping hand or shoulder to cry on. I'm serious! If any of you Jeanketeers out there ever need a favor, just let me know. Heck, if you're real nice, I'll even help out with the housework! (Only, I don't do windows–ha ha ha!)

I wish I could befriend some of my neighbors, but the apartment complex where I live has a month-to-month lease arrangement, so there's constant turnover. In fact, the only permanent residents seem to be me and hubby Rick, and this elderly lady who sits on her little balcony porch and stares down at me as I walk to and from the driveway. So, sometimes, your old pal Jean got a little lonely at her digs on good old Blossom Meadows Drive.

That is, until recently, when the Jean Teasdale Official Fan Club opened downstairs!

A couple weeks ago, while misting my fern, I glanced out the window and noticed two young men and a young woman taking boxes out of a moving van and walking toward the downstairs entrance of my unit. I didn't think much of it until I noticed what was sticking out of one of the boxes: a cardboard "Love Is" placard! I was soooo knocked out to see a "Love Is" placard! Am I the only one who remembers "Love Is"? It was this darling comic strip of observations about love featuring two adorable little naked kids! Anyway, after spotting that placard, I just had to drop in on my new neighbors!

When I walked downstairs to meet them, I couldn't believe the stuff these kids were carrying! Leif Garrett and Shaun Cassidy posters! Scads of old Barbie dolls! And they must have had at least half a dozen paintings of children, puppies, and kitties with huge eyes! The girl was even wearing a Holly Hobbie T-shirt! I can't tell you how thrilled I was to finally meet some people who shared my interests!

"I love your stuff!" I cried.

One of the young men stared at me for a couple seconds. "Really?" he said. "Well, we love your stirrup pants."

I was floored. It's not often I get compliments on my clothes!

I offered to help the trio move the rest of their stuff in. They were kind of reluctant at first, but I wouldn't take no for an answer!

"I can't get over the fact that you guys have a 'Love Is' poster," I said. "I gotta include that in my column."

"Column?" the girl asked. "What column do you write?"

I told them who I was and, judging from their reaction, you'd think I said I was Madonna! They let their boxes drop to the floor and stared at me all slack-jawed and wide-eyed.

"You're Jean Teasdale?" one of the young men asked. "You mean, Jean Teasdale? 'A Room Of Jean's Own' Jean Teasdale?"

"Hey, don't wear out my name... it's my only one!" I replied.

The three froze, saying nothing. Suddenly, the girl clapped her hand to her mouth and squealed. The two boys' eyes shone. For a minute there, I thought they were going to burst into tears! One of them finally gathered the wits to step up and shake my hand.

"Mrs. Teasdale, this is truly an honor," he said. "We are Jeanketeers of the highest order."

Greg, Sean, Marni, and I have been buddies ever since.

The three are all students at nearby Concordia College and were looking to get out of the dorms, so fate (and cheap rent!) brought them to my apartment complex. That evening, they came over for pizza and ice cream. They took great interest in seeing all the things I've mentioned in my column over the years, like my kitties, my Precious Moments collection, and my curio cabinet full of dolls, including my coveted Miss Beasley. But their biggest thrill came when hubby Rick came home from work. "How are things at the tire center, hubby Rick?" they exclaimed in unison when he walked in the door. I hadn't seen Rick that befuddled since he woke up next to me after our first night together!

I've spent time at their place, too. I must admit, though, that even though we share similar tastes, some things they do are kind of strange. For example, Marni, who's an art student, took this really adorable clown painting she'd found at a garage sale and painted a blood-covered ax over the flower the clown was holding. Then, she painted the bloody corpses of two children at his feet. Even though I like Marni, I don't think this was really necessary. Besides, I think she did herself a real disservice in the long run, because clown paintings are really collectible, and an original in good condition could be worth a lot of money.

There's another strange thing that's been happening lately. Ever since I met Greg, Sean, and Marni, people their age have been passing by the Fashion Bug where I work and peering into the front window. Whenever I see them, I always smile and wave. But instead of waving back or going into the store, they nervously giggle and dart away. Except for this one guy. He strolled by the store and yelled in a loud voice, "Hey, Jean! Let's go shopping someday! I'm just mad about Patrick Swayze and chocolate, too!" I hustled to the entrance to see who he was, but by the time I got there he'd disappeared. That confused me. If we had so much in common, why didn't he come in to talk to me? But I suppose I shouldn't look a gift horse in the mouth. I'd always wondered if anyone out there cared about my column, and now I was getting my answer. And, from all appearances, that answer was a resounding YES!

Besides, it's great to meet people who see the humor in life. I mean, whenever I'm around Greg, Sean, and Marni, it seems like they're trying their darnedest to stifle a laugh. I'm always encouraging them to laugh as much as they want! Let it out! Don't be so bashful! There are too many Gloomy Gusses in this world anyhow!

Tonight, my new friends and I are going to watch my VHS copy of Ice Castles. When they told me they'd never seen it, I just about flipped. I mean, they call themselves Jeanketeers, and they've never seen Ice Castles? But I forgave them pretty quickly. After all, it's not every day you forge such a strong bond with people!

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