I was recently accused of being petty.
Not gonna lie, but I can be petty as hell. Yes, I will remember that one time at 7:42 pm on January 8, 1988 when you said, “But, Tracy, if you didn’t exist, I would be a richer person.” I have a memory like an elephant, I never forget. Trust me.
I was listening to a podcast-there are so many, I don’t really remember which one. I want to say “Atlas Obscura” and they had an episode on “Spite House“. I listened to this at work and realized that I have a whole bunch of family out there that I didn’t even know existed.
But what is a “spite house”? It’s something like this-when you were little watching tv and your sister says that she can’t see-do you (a) move directly into the middle of the screen and ask, “Is this better?” or (b) duck when your parents throw something at your for being so petty. The correct answer is both!! Now, spite houses are houses or buildings (per wikipedia) that are built to basically annoy neighbors because of land issues. You are the spite house to your sister watching television.
The hilarity of the spite house!! These houses are everywhere-but I think they should be called “petty houses”. I mean, a spite house is a visual definition of sarcasm and being an asshole all rolled into one fabulous place.
Let’s look at two spite houses, which made me actually guffaw at work (I was listening to this and working, so don’t you give me that “Oh Tracy, you were not!” look)
I give you “The Equality House” in Topeka, Kansas. Situated across the street from the infamous Westboro Baptist Church, the house was painted to match the colors of the rainbow pride flag in 2013. But, you know, I don’t think that’s petty enough. To take it to my level of petty, you buy the house next door and paint it the colors of the transgender pride flag in 2016! Then, you use the house to shelter volunteers and grow food in a community garden! Spread the love all over the place!!
Donate to The Equality House here. And be sure to say it’s from the Westboro Church or your favorite relative that believes all non heterosexual-cisgendered people are going to hell.
On with the show…
“The Pink House” is a classic example of Petty. Yes, with a capital P. I mean, you can just hear the conversation being had before it was built:
Wife: I’ll divorce you first and I want an exact replica of our house, since you and your stinking mistress don’t want to move out!
Husband: I don’t think you realize what you are saying. I mean…
Wife: Shut up! Just build me the damned house! Oh you lout! Someone bring me a fainting couch! I feel a bit weak. (raises wrist to forehead)
Husband: Alright, you get what you pay for. And stop fainting on my damned couch!
Husband builds an exact replica of the house on the edge of the town where they lived. Not only that, but in the Great Marsh and it had saltwater plumbing. I mean, damn. You could not be more petty than to build a house on a marsh in the middle of nowhere.
Honestly, I laughed so hard thinking about this. Then, I thought about the spite houses around the world. I do recall in DC there was a huge rebuilding boom-I mean, when is there not? This man had this tiny, shotgun house and absolutely refused to sell it. He refused to sell the land and everything. It was like a spiteful version of “Up”, only the old man stayed in the house. The companies built around the house, blocking the sun, but the little house persisted. It was not moved. And honestly, I hope the people around the house were in staff meetings or eating breakfast when the little old man decided to walk around butt naked and salute them with a full moon.
Everybody acts like petty is a bad thing. Petty ain’t all that bad. It does make you feel better for a bit. Then, future folks, like me, get to laugh about it and think of even more petty ways to deal with issues.
Here’s to the “Spite Houses” and all my other family members that built them!