Life Wiles of the Rich and Heinous

  The Old Oak Cliff Conservation League holds an annual Tour of Homes in our little neck of the woods, an event that is quite popular, with thousands of people plunking down money to analyze and criticize what other people do with their money. The attending crowd is usually an interesting mix of restoration enthusiasts, society types, hipsters, artistic dreamers, Junior Leaguers, good country stock, bohemians, and half the gay men in Dallas. Naturally, I couldn’t help but envision the inner thoughts of complete strangers as we all violated the personal spaces of people we didn’t know…

“This place has more mirrors than Versailles. Are they going to be signing an important treaty?”

“Who in their right mind would want a 7,000 square-foot house in the Texas heat? The electric bill alone must be bigger than the budget of Delaware.”

“Why would the homeowners set out a picture of them French-kissing? I haven’t seen that much tongue since Grandpa would throw out a saltlick back on the farm.”

“Did Betsy Ross explode in here?”

“Ostrich feathers? Seriously?”

“I used to like the color blue. Until this room happened.”

“Okay, the owners made us take off our shoes so we wouldn’t mar their precious hardwood floors, yet they are fine with their sixty-pound dog and his wolverine claws ripping trenches in that same hardwood as he thunders around the house and knocks over family heirlooms they bought on eBay.”

“They restored this house to make it look like it did before the big fire? I see. Did anybody stop to think that the fire might have been justified? This is butt ugly in here.”

“Why is the homeowner already drunk?”

“Do they not realize that putting up a sign that says ‘Please don’t open this door’ is only going to inspire some queen to do just that?”

“You know, ‘original appliances’ doesn’t necessarily mean working or pretty. Sometimes it just means old.”

“The only thing you didn’t change was this one doorknob? Then why did you buy the house? Couldn’t you have just had a new house built the way you wanted and then attach the doorknob?”

“What kind of jobs do these people have that they can afford to spend two million dollars on a renovation? If this doesn’t say class inequality in America, I don’t know what does.”

“I really don’t understand what the purpose of this room might be. Did they use to do something in here that has since been outlawed?”

“Why does it smell like bleu cheese in this bedroom? Either somebody needs to change the sheets or something died in here and they haven’t found it yet.”

“What’s up with the giant painting of the homeowner? His eyeball is bigger than my head. Nobody needs that big of a portrait unless they cured cancer or finally found a way to stop telemarketers from calling.”

“I don’t even want to walk through this room, never mind live in it.”

“Is that artwork supposed to be Mahatma Gandhi? Oh, sorry. It’s just some exuberant potpourri from Pier 1.”

“Wow, that’s a big-ass step down from the back door to the yard. Did this used to be Paul Bunyan’s house?”

“These stepping stones lead nowhere. Why would you want to come to this part of the yard if there’s nothing here except other people who followed the same pointless stones? They could at least put an ashtray over here.”

“Oh, look. They have a two-story guest cottage with its own house number. I have a bunk bed in the garage for my guests who get too drunk to drive away and leave me alone. We come from different worlds.”

“Of course they just laid this sod down. The landscaper is hiding behind that banana tree over there, wiping sweat off his brow and trying to catch his breath.”

“Is that swimming pool shaped like Madonna? No, really. Think of the ‘True Blue’ period when she and Sean Penn actually tampered down both of their egos long enough to think of someone other than themselves. You see it? I thought so.”

“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but that is the prettiest bush I’ve ever seen.”

“Why is that man hollering for us to go back inside? Did we violate something out here?”

“I still can’t get over this giant step. How can you spend two million dollars and still have to pole vault back into the house?”

“Oh, now we’re in the wing with the rest of the bedrooms. I bet you we can find a vibrator somewhere. Gold-encrusted, maybe, but still.”

“This bathroom is bigger than some of the landing strips at Love Field.”

“A TV in the shower? Are you so good at cleaning yourself that you don’t even have to look?”

“Is that a headboard or a landing pad?”

“Yes, it is possible to have too many useless pillows on your bed.”

“These people clearly don’t have any kids. One five-year-old wired on a fruit roll-up and this house of pretentious cards is history.”

“Nothing says classy like a dead roach on your hand-carved balcony.”

“Thank you for repeating it, but I understood the first five times you mentioned it that you are only the third owner of this century-old house. Am I supposed to give you a prize of some kind?”

“God, that dining table is busy. How do you find the actual food?”

“Sometimes you really shouldn’t listen to the voices in your head.”

“Let’s see, you hired a project manager, an architect, an interior designer, a florist, two stand-by consultants, and 46 undocumented workers to do everything that the other people said to do. Basically, you just wrote checks. You didn’t actually do anything. So, help me understand why you have this award displayed for Best Restoration of a Tudor. Or did you pay for that, too?”

“That chair was not meant for humans.”

“No, honey, I really don’t think you’re supposed to take that. Wait, what did the purposely left-on price tag say? Oh, hell yeah, shove it in your satchel.”

“You might want to check on that older lady in the corner. She was in that same outfit and position when we came through yesterday.”

“Nothing makes you feel better about yourself than the fact that you can’t even afford the candles in this place.”

“Imported marble tile in the shower, 200 bucks a square foot. But the bathroom door won’t even close right.”

“I haven’t seen this many gay people since Ricky Martin switched from Menudo to Manolo Blahniks.”

“And you wanted those curtains to look like that, right? Because every home needs a room where it looks Ophelia hung up her death shrouds before she floated down the river.”

“If they don’t turn off that Enya album, I’m going to cut somebody.”

“No, I don’t own this house. If I did, you people wouldn’t be in here.”


Originally published in “The Sound and the Fury” on 10/11/10. Revised and updated with extra sarcasm for this post.


16 replies »

    • Right? Unless the family fortune was in jeopardy due to stock market fluctuations. Then I might have to concede to random tramps tramping about my domicile. But nobody gains admission to the master bedroom, I don’t care who you are… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I loved the last line! I wonder if people who host those tours set up surveillance to hear the feedback and if any feuds break out as a result of someone’s snarky criticism.
    I’m also curious if there’s a way I can persuade the rich to buy tickets to tour my home to see how the average teacher lives. I’d use the money to renovate. In turn they get an ego boost about how good they have it.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, I’d fully support an “Oak Cliff Tour of Homes Where the Common People Live”. And I’d charge ten bucks for a bottle of water. Most of these people wouldn’t even blink at the cost…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. At least nobody looked under any of the 3,402 beds in the house….who knows what might be lurking under there? Really expensive chenille furred dust bunnies? And the owners koff koff *smug pretentious assholes**koff koffiety koff obviously locked up the family loon(s)..because with all that ‘blue’ blood, you KNOW somebody was inbred at some point..

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m thinking the inbreds are the folks who did the redecorating, as my one recurring thought as I vacate the premises of yet another ode to the noveau riche is “they have all that money yet they couldn’t find style if it bit them on the ass”…


  3. *Puts up hand* Question: Is this a fundraiser for charity?

    You cannot imagine what I’m picturing as I read these delightful observations, especially the ones about the exploding Betsy Ross and the wired five-year-old. This would make a fabulous short documentary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, I did try to surreptitiously capture the goings-on with the video camera on my smart phone, but my sterling cinematography efforts were constantly thwarted by me being distracted as I walked into yet another room where my first thought was “what in the HELL were these people thinking when they did what they did in here?”…

      Liked by 1 person

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