So, here’s a true story about burning the weeds. More than thirty years ago, I owned a home on the near west side of Indianapolis. I had been there for several years when a new next-door neighbor moved in. The short street of homes was all two-bedroom bungalows that shared driveways. At the end of the driveway were detached garages. Our garages were only about a yard apart.

My New Neighbor

My new neighbors were boat people from Vietnam. In case you’re not old enough to remember, thousands of Vietnamese fled Vietnam by boat when the South Vietnamese government collapsed in 1975. Left to fend for themselves, these brave souls crowded into small boats, where they were preyed upon by pirates and suffered dehydration and starvation. Many drowned. It took a strong person to survive.

My new neighbors were the most industrious couple I’d ever met. They both worked full-time jobs. She worked days while he worked nights. Once they settled in, they opened a restaurant, each working opposite their full-time job shift. They worked 20 or more hours a day.

Only the Strong

Whenever I hear about an influx of immigrants hurting America, I think of my neighbors. We were lucky to have them. I don’t care what or where the border is. Weak immigrants seldom make it this far. The strong-willed people make it here, and yes, we are lucky to have them.

The couple had one teenage son, Benji. Benji was almost completely Americanized. Overall, he was a good kid. However, with his parent’s schedule, Benji was on his own a lot.

Burning the Weeds 

One day Benji’s mother came to my door waving her arms and talking rapidly. She was almost incoherent. She looked at me and said, “Come, please.” We walked to the rear of the space between our garages. She pointed at a large plant and said, “What this?” I looked at it and told her it was a marijuana plant. She pointed at the plant and asked, “This yours?” I explained it wasn’t, and she said, “Oh no, Benji, Benji, Benji!” She asked, “What we do?” I told her I’d dispose of it, and she asked me how. I said I’d burn it, which I did. It only took me six months. One joint at a time. Like Dave Barry says, I couldn’t make this up.

Post Note: I haven’t smoked anything since 1997.   

If you enjoyed this you might like, Breaking the Streak.

And there’s a book of humor

Want to read a collection of humor pieces? Writing I Think I’m Funny: and it gets me in trouble all the time has been a labor of love. Of the 47 stories in this book, more than 30 are true tales from my days on this planet. Most of those make it clear how my warped sense of humor gets me in trouble.

Photo by Luis Morera on Unsplash