Nosy neighbors and tattletales.
They’ve been with us always. And they’ve always been despicable.
When I was a kid a reclusive neighbor – we’ll call her Mrs. Murphy – spent all of her time peering out of her windows. If a kid so much as planted a bare toe on the Murphy lawn her front door swung open and she threatened to call your mother.
Once, when a stray cat had been run over by a car, we kids decided to stage a funeral and bury it in an overgrown vacant lot next to her house.
Old Lady Murphy saw us and called the cops.
Er, cop. We had only one officer in our small town.
Barney Fife arrived in minutes and demanded to know what we were doing.
Once we explained he seemed inclined to let us proceed until Mrs. Murphy roared out, red-faced, with rollers in her hair, hollering that she could smell the dead animal and it was a health hazard.
Barney scooped up the furry carcass and sped away.
We stood there aghast. No, I won’t detail the acts of petty vandalism that plagued the Murphys for years after that. But they deserved every one of them.
My point? No one likes a busybody.
Earlier this week we talked about the rash of neighborhood narcs who spent their weekend driving around Virginia Beach photographing people in parks, on the beach and on the water so they could post them on social media as evidence that some folks violated the six-foot rule or gathered in groups of more than 10.
Congratulations. The beaches are closed.
We’re reporting our fellow citizens to the police, deciding which businesses are allowed to open, and arresting pastors for having a church service.
Coronavirus is not the deadliest thing we imported from China.
In a COVID-19 bulletin on the city website Beach officials actually urge people to turn in others who dare to picnic or throw out a towel on the beach and take a siesta.
Don’t do it.
This is not East Germany. North Korea. Or Iran.
Not yet, anyway.
This column was published originally at www.kerrydougherty.com.