Dear Dr. Babooner,
The roof on the storage shed out back collapsed this winter from the weight of the snow, and the structure is unusable. The thing has always been an eyesore, and now that it’s damaged a debate has started about its real value. I admit there are benefits. We throw all the sports equipment in there and it helps make everything nice and tidy in our garage.
Our kids and the others in the neighborhood get a lot of use out of the thing, too. They’re always playing one sort of game or another in it or around it. I stopped paying attention but it seems like the door is standing open half the time and some little urchin is crouched in there, ready to pounce on someone. Usually the game has something to do with winning a championship or being a loud, bossy millionaire. Occasionally you hear some shouts floating across the yard about “MONSTER TRUCKS”!
But since the collapse I’ve had to wrap the shed in police tape and tell them to STAY OUT because the roof is unsafe. Long faces all around.
My wife thinks we should tear down the shed and replace it with something even bigger and nicer with expensive bells and whistles so it can be even more fun for the children and their games, but I’m thinking we should let the place fall in on itself like an old barn on an abandoned farmstead. Yes, it would be traumatic for the children to watch that happen, but it would remind them that games are just games and maybe it would instill in them a kind of gravitas that, frankly, they’re lacking. An air of melancholy and resignation about the inevitability of death and decay can be a useful thing for a young person. They’re not all going to be sports stars, you know. Some might become independent filmmakers.
Besides, we’re out of money.
Dr. Babooner, please tell me I’m right about how this dispute should play out. I took the time to write to you, after all, and my wife and the kids never read your column. You won’t gain a thing by siding with them. Give a loyal reader a bit of support, and I promise to keep coming back for advice that makes me feel smart!
I told Seeking Validation that humans are able to develop an air of melancholy and resignation without intentional assistance from anyone else, and it’s mean spirited to try to build gravitas into another life just because you can.
Besides, watching something collapse is a terrible downer
The money question is a serious one, though, and rather than simply accept decay of the backyard shed, perhaps you and your wife and the local children could work together on weekends to repair the roof and improve the structure so it can still be a fun and useful neighborhood attraction. Like Amish people would, but without the horses and hats. It may not be the best solution, but it suits the situation.
And Dr. Babooner can’t be blackmailed with threats of withdrawing your attention. Your attention is a mixed blessing – look at me! The lovely pearls are merely window dressing to cover my own inner pain. Your flip comment about “long faces” hurt in ways I can’t even begin to describe, so don’t get me started on gravitas!
But that’s just one opinion. What do YOU think, Dr. Babooner?