If I’m ever charged with a high-profile crime, here are my instructions to my neighbors for when the news crews come calling.
1. Don’t pretend you have any meaningful insights to offer about my state of mind. Trust me, you don’t.
If our situations were reversed, I would extend to you the same favor.
2. For God’s sake, don’t say I was quiet and mostly kept to myself. That happens to be true, but we all know how that sounds.
3. Stick to what you actually know. For instance, it’s OK if you want to note that I sometimes put the trash out the night before pickup day and sometimes I wheel it to the curb early on the morning of garbage day.
But please don’t use that as license to label me “erratic” or “unpredictable.”
4. If you want to say you saw me pet my next-door neighbor’s cat, that’s fine. But please avoid speculating about any tuna extortion racket or biting threats. Just leave the animal out of this. She’s got enough on her plate.
5. Don’t say, “He used to cook out a lot. At least I thought that was what he was doing. Maybe we don’t really know just what he was burning back there.”
6. Don’t say, “I saw this coming. The way drivers speed near his house, I knew it was just a matter of time before he snapped and came out shooting.”
On second thought, feel free to say that.
7. As a personal favor, don’t tell a reporter that you never thought something like this could happen in our neighborhood. That is so lame. Do you think the spectrum of human experience and capability is limited by ZIP code?
8. When reporters start using my middle name when referring to me, please don’t parrot that when speculating about my mental stability or unholy proclivities.
Thank you. And by the way, I might be innocent.
Today’s Slice question: How much money have you fed into parking meters over the years?