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Thanks For Piling On

, , , , , , , , , | Legal | December 13, 2022

This is a story about my uncle. We’ll call him Ralph for this story because that’s the name of his favorite turtle-ninja.

Ralph is rich. He’s also a borderline hoarder. He collects a lot of stuff — little tchotchkes and some kitschy seasonal furniture that he rotates through during the year. For example, for Halloween, he replaces the dining table with one carved like a jack-o-lantern.

Every so often, he gets too much stuff and needs to get rid of some of it. Instead of holding a yard sale, he likes to just put his stuff out in the yard with a “free” sign and advertise it on [Classifieds Website].

One time, Mom and I are visiting Ralph while he is doing one of his giveaways. I’m eating breakfast on the couch when I see a van pull up outside his house through the windows — a big van, like a moving van. Four burly guys get out of the van. At this point, I’m fully expecting them to start loading Uncle Ralph’s stuff into their van and just take it all themselves.

Instead, they open the van… and start unloading stuff in front of Uncle Ralph’s yard. It’s all junk: broken tables, extremely dirty stuffed animals, boxes full of broken tchotchkes, frayed clothing, books that smelled like the bad kind of mold, and a mattress that is so yellowed and damaged that it completely sags into itself in a small pile.

I fetch Ralph, but by the time he comes, they are done. They drive off, and one sticks out his hand and gives Ralph the finger as they leave.

This trash is utterly unlike the carefully cared-for things that Ralph usually puts out. Ralph is spitting mad. We call the police.

It takes the police a while to understand that a crime has happened. They don’t understand why Ralph minds having more stuff added to his pile of stuff.

Mom and I left Uncle Ralph’s house before we could learn how it ended, but I asked him about it later. He said that three of the culprits had been caught and that they’d been charged.

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