Coming back from the grocery store tonight I almost tripped over the eternal keg monument in our backyard. This is the keg that's been out back since Cinco de Mayo and now it has two new friends from the last annoyance our downstairs neighbors held a week and a half ago.
The general rule in these situations is to think back and try to objectively determine if we were any better or worse when I was 24. Did we leave kegs out? Did we annoy the neighbors or try to remain somewhat respectful? Were we ever this stupid?
Usually the answer to any and all of these questions is no.
Granted, we lived in an apartment filled with people in our age group who didn't care, but in terms of making sure that we kept our noses clean and that problems didn't crop up for months on end, we had an advantage.
We had Neal.
While three of the four roommates were pretty content to just let things be and constantly procrastinate, Neal generally kept at us to do the right thing.
While I'm sure a combination of personal responsibility and poverty would have gotten us in gear to return a keg within the same calendar year that it was purchased, we had that one roommate who would remind us to get it done sooner versus later.
Not even in a mean or a condescending way - more of a "fun is fun... now go clean it up" kind of way. After all, this is the same guy who shook a two liter of soda for a few minutes and then whacked it with golf club.
The Neal Factor is not a bad thing. I think everyone is better off when the Neal Factor is in play.
I assume that the three people below us are much worse than the three roommates - myself included - we had and lack any sort of personal responsibility, but there are ways around that.
Hypothetically speaking, I'm almost positive that the scrappers that prowl Chicago's alleys will get bolder in two weeks' time. I'd wager heavily that they've gotten so bold that they'd walk right into our backyard and remove three empty kegs without even thinking twice.
How else would three kegs just disappear by our anniversary on October 20?
(Image from: CBC.ca)