Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Just Because You Can Doesn't Mean You Should

In my neck of the woods my little community gets their collective nose out of joint when someone new moves in, buys a plot of land or house, and the first thing they do is build a fence.

Do they have the legal right to build a fence? Of course they do, but does it make them a good neighbor, a part of this tight knit community? I think not.

So what should the new neighbor do?

Why, tell the old timers what the plan is, ask their opinions and permission even if it isn't legally needed. Act like a member of this community. Who knows, those of us who have been hanging around here for a long time might have a better idea on how to build that fence. Since you came to us first we'll loan you our tools and pitch in.

What will have us in a rage over your fence is when you build it and then charge for a party in your backyard, only to have us arrive to find you've decorated with your neighbor's lawn furniture and my prized rhododendron. And you wonder why I went home angry?

O.K., you took down the fence. Now I can see my rhododendron from every place on the street. It's still in your backyard and it looks for all intents and purposes as if it belongs to you. I really wish you had asked my permission to replant it, but the deed is done.

Did I want to share my prized rhododendron with the world? You bet I did! That's why I planted it and nurtured it. And yes, many more people can see it from your backyard than could see it from mine, but it still belongs to me. So when the Seattle Times selects your backyard as one of the best in the Northwest, I want a sign next to my rhododendron that acknowledges whose hard work made it a prize.

Be a good neighbor!

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Blogger Randy Seaver said...


Very good allegory (or whatever - you should know the right term...) for the Ancestry mess-up.

Cheers -- Randy

August 29, 2007 at 2:23 PM  
Blogger Jasia said...

Oh you are good fM! What a marvelous analogy. If only the folks at ancestry cared. Unfortunately I don't think any of them had any trouble sleeping last night. This is just a business decision for them after all. While you lamented your rhododendron and I my rose bush they no doubt gloated over all the free publicity they've received over this whole thing.

I do love your writing fM. When are you gonna teach that writing class?

August 29, 2007 at 2:45 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...

Thanks you two!

They don't get it. We are their business. Slowly but surely alternatives to Ancestry are entering the market. Customer loyalty will be priceless.

Repent Ancestry, the end is near!

Also, I'm glad you like my writing. Someone once told me I couldn't write my way out of a paper bag. The blog was to help me with my confidence. It hasn't been the blog though, it's been my fellow bloggers.


August 29, 2007 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger Janice said...


I love your writing... that paper bag must have a hole in it :D


August 29, 2007 at 8:10 PM  
Blogger footnoteMaven said...


You have just proven my point. Our blogging community is terrific.


August 29, 2007 at 8:45 PM  
Blogger Charley "Apple" Grabowski said...

Great analogy! I'm happy that you've addressed not just the current issue but how they have operated for years.

August 30, 2007 at 8:18 AM  

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