Humoring Myself

Recently a colleague asked: “How can you still have a sense of humor? “ My response? “How can a Realtor not have a sense of humor these days?” It’s the only kind of sense that makes any sense.

I could spend all day everyday trying to find a home for my anger and never succeed.

Or I could keep adding to the litany of lame excuses limping around out there: The market ruined my home-work. The bad economy ate my listing. It’s not my fault – it’s the default’s fault.

Or I could try in vain to harness one of those four horses of the apocalypse grazing in wait out in those endless fields of golden fodder. Ride out each day tilting at all the vacant windmills. Try to arouse the sleeping erogenous zones of a marketplace gone numb.

But those are just stories. Narratives we make up to foster the belief that there really is a definitive map that leads from our abstraction of the past to our illusion of the future – without ever having to pass through the here and now.

I prefer an obscure phrase coined by some nameless functionary during the Chinese Cultural Revolution: “We wash our hands everyday – why not our brains?” Each night I grab a bar of lava soap before going to bed and I scrub away whatever layers of housing distress have glommed onto my thoughts like a swarm of psychic cooties. I fall asleep dreaming of new paradigms where the American Dream can venture to find a home.

In my waking life, I’ve embraced a rare disorder known as Habromania. It is defined as the morbid impulse towards good humor and a kind of insanity where someone comes to inhabit his own cheerful delusions.

That’s why I’m constantly smiling and poking fun. Musing about all the amusing little one act plays embedded in real estate.

Mortgage does mean “Death-Tax” afterall.

I received an e mail flyer this week from another agent promoting her new listing. The limitations of spell check were on full display. One of the amenities prominently featured was the home’s Charming “Medication” Garden. Ooops! Hopefully the Seller has a sense of humor, I’m pretty sure it was meant to say something else.

And I was laughing about the time I came across a flyer for a home that just didn’t have a whole lot going for it. The Agent, either under pressure from its proud owner or through sheer desperation of not being able to find enough good things to say, touted the home’s Custom Toilet Seat – apparently hand-carved from first growth redwood.

Good thing we have those new low-flow toilet requirements. They give more new buyers a chance to ‘customize’ their own. A Deed in Loo as it were, rather than a Deed in Lieu.

One of the funniest promotions I ever saw was for a home set along the river on Hwy 9. On the corner sign, just above the brochure box where looky-loos go to get their real estate fixes, there was one of those framed Billy Bass Plaques. Whenever someone leaned out of their car to grab a flyer (Hey those color ones cost a buck a piece!), the battery operated sensor was triggered and the fish turned towards them singing Take Me to the River in the voice of Al Green. Not sure it sold the house but it sure surprised a lot of nosey-neighbors.

And there is no truth the rumor that a wave of Pre-Foreclosure Garage Sales has swept Craigslist recently. Real garage sales. Angry Sellers running ads and literally selling off pieces of their garages to anyone who shows up with a couple of bucks and a sledgehammer to strip them down to bricks and mortar and haul them away. Although Bank of America did announce that it plans on tearing down thousands of foreclosures in the Cleveland area and they are willing to pay $7,500 a shot to the wrecking ball operators. That’s one way to reduce the shadow inventory.

Ever watch from a distance while a Realtor armed with his high-tech badge of cool in the form of a wireless headset conducts business? Talking to the air in animated fashion? Gesticulating wildly like a Tourettes patient? It occurred to me that we could take up a collection of old Plantronic devices and hand them out to street people who have staked out particular street corners downtown. They’ll just blend in. Everyone will think they are trying to find a home for someone else. Or else railing about their lives and misfortunes at the hands of the marketplace.


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