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Fences -- and a Few Nukes -- Make Good Neighbors

Move over, Saddam. Santa Monica has its own imminent threat.

June 23, 2003|Peter Mehlman

I am writing to officially put America and the world on notice that I have nuclear weapons in my house. Any and all inspectors who know what nuclear weapons look like are welcome to come over to see them. My housekeeper was here yesterday but I'm pretty sure my weapons of mass destruction are either in the den or the guest bedroom.

Surely, these announcements are getting tired of late, but this one is different. First of all, my threat isn't one you would react to by saying, "Oh great, another country heard from." I'm actually in town -- Santa Monica. And second, I don't rule a nation, just 2,300 square feet in a shady, overpriced canyon bordering Pacific Palisades.

My need for going nuclear crystallized after a border skirmish with my neighbor, a middle-aged woman named Edie Amin. Overhanging branches of an ill-behaved sycamore tree touched off a violent eruption of shpilkes. Then, a call for repairs on a retaining wall, now referred to as the "38th Parallelogram," ignited a severing of all diplomatic ties.

In short, things in Santa Monica are very tense.

Achieving nuclear capacity -- obtaining the weapons-grade plutonium, titanium detonators and a wick -- was surprisingly easy. One globally warmed morning, I called the prop guy on my latest failed sit-com pilot and that was that. My assistant picked up the weaponry and, because she had Dodgers tickets that night, left it for me at the front desk of my health club.

Since procuring my nukes, not only has my neighbor's rhetoric became less shrill, but a strange feeling of merriment has come over me. And while being the happiest person in Los Angeles doesn't preclude one from being utterly miserable, I think I'm on the right track.

Which leads me to the nuclear blackmail part of this announcement. Oh, please. If this were all about Edie, the whole exercise would be childish. I have demands.

I know what you're thinking but no, this isn't about money. Hollywood pays so well, when I go to New York I can't believe my money's good there. And no, this isn't about infrastructure. If the Marines were sent in to replace my retaining wall, it would be viewed as a measure of good faith -- no more, no less.

The truth is, I'm not sure what this is about. I've had WMDs six weeks now, and it could be months before I get another shot to blackmail the Earth. I have a seat at the table; it's irresponsible not to make demands now. Just let me think of some....

OK. I want NBA players to stop giving high-fives to a guy who misses a free throw. (I mean, what's the incentive to make the shot?) I want people to stop excusing celebrity shoplifters by saying "it was an obvious cry for help." (Why do they have to steal? Why not just cry for help?) I want to outlaw thank-you notes. Everything being in alphabetical order is getting on my nerves. And, let's see

And for all or some of that, I'll de-weaponize. My agent is listed. You have 24 hours to respond.

Oh, I left out one piece of nuclear boilerplate: I'm crazy.

Peter Mehlman was a writer for "Seinfeld."

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