Wednesday, November 06, 2019


I've built a few fences. I have built them primarily with the goal to keep people, animals and the like out, and to keep a different subset of those same elements inside. Creating a perimeter is something that homeowners do. Sometimes it's as simple as planting a hedge out near the sidewalk. When we moved into our house, our baby did not present a flight risk, but the neighborhood kids who had been using our front and back yards as their playground needed some sort of impediment to slow their entrance and egress. Situated as we are between two apartment buildings, there was talk with both landlords about defining property lines. There was some discussion regarding the old saw, "Strong fences make good neighbors," So I took my old saw and I cut up some lumber, hammered and screwed it into place and there it was: the limits of our  domain were defined.
Once we got a dog, and our son became ambulatory, there was a need to shore up our defenses, and a gate was installed. The bane of my existence. Over the two decades of shoring up our defenses, I finally arrived at a version of our portal that worked to keep the dog in and the interlopers out. Not that in her prime that slowed her down much. If she really wanted out, she could clear those four feet with strength, grit and determination. So if we left the house, we left her inside. When the folks in the apartment building to the north made poor choices in their late night parking attempts, occasionally they would knock out a slat or two. That meant our dog was gifted with an easy out if we were dull enough to let her into the front yard without noticing the gap. Which meant that somewhat abruptly after retrieving the hound from a tour of the dumpsters around the block, I needed to shore up the defenses one more time. Impenetrable? Hardly.
Which is why I had such a good chuckle when I heard that smugglers were cutting holes in the vaunted wall erected as a monument to Donald Trump's hatred and  fear. An eight year old girl scaled a replica of that same wall in just a few seconds. These breaches of our southern border will of course send the carpenters and engineers in charge of such things scurrying about, looking for ways to make it more  difficult to get past that barrier. But as I learned about neighborhood kids getting in and dogs getting out, any fence is just a challenge to those on either side.

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