Sunday, December 26, 2010
Scarecrows: The Only Way to Inspire Jealousy and Rank Fear in One's Neighbors
I would like to tell you the secret for making your home shine like a diamond in a sea of mediocrity. And that secret is this: Scarecrows. The more scarecrows a property has, the more it will breed stirrings of fitful and vengeful jealousy in the neighbors; pride of ownership in you, the owner; and rank fear in the local squirrel, neighbor, and bird populations.
I have only three scarecrows, as I have recently learned the secret over the past weekend, and have been unable to get to the supermarket to buy scarecrow-making equipment due to the heavy snows. My scarecrows are named after familiar friends and companions of mine, so they are called Johnny-Laid-a-Turd, Repticilus Vaginicus, and She Who Chews Soup. I have placed them in menacing attitudes in various spots about my property.
As soon as I placed my first scarecrow I sighted my neighbor peering out of her upstairs window through her binoculars. I could tell right away by her shocked expression that the scarecrow had terrified her greatly—and her greatest terror lay in the fact that she, poor wretched thing, had not a single scarecrow gracing her property. My first scarecrow was wearing very little at all but a loincloth I had fashioned out of a bathtowel, and I had nailed him on a cross-like structure near the foot of the driveway. Soon after, my neighbor went out in her car, casting me dark looks of aspersion. I believe she went to the local Shop-Rite to purchase some stuffing and scarecrow-pelt material, and perhaps she was caught in the ensuing blizzard? Serves her right, the plagiarizing poseur that she is!
While she was out, I took the opportunity to set up my second scarecrow on the roof overlooking the driveway. Despite the cold weather (Christmas was rapidly approaching), I dressed this scarecrow in a cast-off Lilly Pulitzer dress that no longer fits me due to ingestion of strudel.
It is very important to dress one’s scarecrows appropriately. Outdated costumes that make your scarecrows look like “hayseeds” or “rubes” will only cause your neighbors to laugh at you, not foam at the mouth with jealously. It is difficult to get your scarecrows to look properly menacing while wearing cocktail attire, but it can be done. I suggest buying a pen of the Sharpie brand and drawing very dark eyebrows with a vigorous, up-and-down squiggling motion that makes the scarecrow look like it’s saying “Grr! Grrr!” This has always made my scarecrows look angry and fit to kill, even while holding pink paisley handbags.
I know I have only three scarecrows but I intend to get more very soon.
It is important that your scarecrows are homemade. Storebought scarecrows are often cheap and shoddily made, and their faces melt off in the first heavy rain. Plus, their costumes are not name brand, and that is a dreadful embarrassment. There is nothing more humiliating than seeing a squirrel fearlessly nibbling at the privates of your scarecrow—knowing the damned thing was false by the cut of its collar or the crease in its pant legs—while you are eagerly waiting for that same scarecrow to menace the underthings off your hoity-toity neighbor across the street.
A scarecrow that is not properly menacing should be eliminated from your property, before you become a laughingstock. I always choose compostable materials when constructing a scarecrow, so that I can toss my scarecrow in the compost heap without fear of damaging our Mother Earth. This is why my most recent scarecrow is made entirely out of congealed soup.
No one else on my block has a scarecrow. It is quite pitiable. Not only will their vegetables be snacked upon by all manner of avian pest, but they have to live with the fact that I have beat them to it as a trend-setter. If they were to all invest in scarecrows now, they would most certainly appear to be copying me. It is too late for them. They are doomed to sink in a sea of mediocrity. My neighbor is probably furiously stitching away at her new scarecrow, glaring at me through the window as she does so, but I shall still boldly stride through her property, snacking her vegetables as much as I like. It shall not deter me, although she is using Very Menacing rosemary spriggets for its eyebrows. Rosemary that she could have used in a stew but chose to employ against me, her sweet neighbor. Such is the nature of jealousy, my friends.
You who do not live on my block, however, can still adopt this trend and look smart and chic! I will not begrudge you, especially if you live far across the country where you and your derivative brethren will not bother me. This is why I am sharing the secret of making your property the Very Best It Can Be. With scarecrows!
Here are the best ten tips for building your scarecrows with the proper menace, and with nature-friendly and affordable materials:
1. Encourage your children, if you have any, to participate in the construction of the scarecrow. A child’s poor artistry and inability to construct arms of equal lengths will give your scarecrow a horrible, deformed quality that would never be achieved in those factory-made knockoffs. If you do not possess children of your own, you may borrow one of mine. They have unmedicated spatial inconsistencies that will give your scarecrows that je ne sais quoi.
2. It is best to patent your scarecrow with the U.S. patent office, especially if you have found a way to make him sentient and/or capable of perpetual motion without fresh ingestions of petrol.
3. When arranging your scarecrow in the most menacing attitude on your property, it is often advisable to rest its hands gently upon its privates. This will cause neighbors to wonder if it has molestation on the brain. Were it to become sentient, this would be unpleasant. This will cause them to lie awake at night thinking agitated thoughts, and limit their abilities to do better than you in any way.
4. Straw, chaff, wheat, spelt, and so on are poor choices for scarecrow stuffing. I prefer Gluten-free ingredients that are not liable to be pecked by wild turkeys and doves, causing my scarecrow to look decrepit and decayed. Gluten-free pasta, crackers, and breads are readily available at most health food stores, including Mrs. Greens and Whole Foods.
5. Try to make your scarecrows diverse, reflecting the breadth of our colorful, human tapestry. A sea of white scarecrows dangling from wooden staves and crosses will just make your home look like a rarified country club. This is not what We want to achieve.
6. A scarecrow’s handbag should always be of an appropriate seasonal hue. If a scarecrow is wearing a light, white summer frock, do not choose a heavy black handbag, for example. This sort of thing will result in rude talk amongst the very neighbors one is trying to menace.
7. Scarecrows can be made much more menacing by the application of odors, such as Go Away Evil ™, or by installing soundtracks that play artists such as Peter Cetera. A scarecrow that appears to be singing “I am a man who will fight for your honor” will disturb and agitate many passersby.
8. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize! I mentioned handbags earlier. The handbags are much more menacing if they are filled with real grenades, loose bullets, or the carcasses of the scared-stiff animals that you have managed to trap by freezing them in the aural glare of a Peter Cetera marathon. Scarecrows also look nice with necklaces made of human teeth.
9. Remember that the goal is to keep people off your property and cause them to tremble in fear whenever your name is mentioned. Then, and only then, will perfect domination be achieved! If any scarecrow fails to fulfill this purpose, it should be terminated without remorse. It is best to terminate during a neighborhood Block Party, at the exact moment that the ice cream truck arrives. In winter, substitute with the arrival of the local Caroling group.
10. Local teens tend to think that scarecrows are a subject for hilarity, not mind-numbing terror. Teach them a lesson by air-dropping a batch of homemade beauties atop their homes during “Movie Night” or a sleepover. Make certain the scarecrows you choose to drop are the ones most likely to become sentient at the most surprising moments, or else the hollow thumping may simply remind the callow teens of turds striking the roof.
It is best not to overdo the scarecrows. I know that I earlier recommended “the more scarecrows the better,” but I have recently revised my view due to an article I read in The New York Times. I am a little bit scared now, as the one I made out of soup has dissolved into my yard in the heavy snows and, therefore, into our water table.
I would rather not share the entirety of the article's content here, due to copyright restrictions, but suffice it to say that my prescient warnings about sentient scarecrows came true for one poor homeowner in Marietta, Georgia, who had covered every square foot of her property with a matching scarecrow in a gingham outfit with black button eyes (Pfah! Hardly menacing!), in an effort to control the local goose population. Not only were Ms. Scribb's geese not deterred, but her scarecrows turned on her in a gruesome bloodbath that is soon to be made into a motion picture. Let this be a lesson to you! Keep your scarecrows to a minimum. I suggest 15 at most. Good luck to you.