ISSUE 121

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​ When you have a roommate, you have a problem. They may be a friend. They may be a family member. They may be someone off craigslist you’re ninety percent sure isn’t the guy on TV who was making a bomb in his basement. And they will all exasperate the shit out of you. When this happens, the goal becomes how not to kill your roommate.
 What do I do when they take too long in the shower, and I have to use it?
  Murder them.
  Wasn’t this a guide on how not to kill them?
  In theory, yes.
  Is there a way besides murder? 
 Sit down, have a respectful dialogue, arrive at a compromise, and then float on rainbows for the rest of the day. Of course, there are alternatives: slam things, brood, clip your toenails in the kitchen, burn some brownies and leave the pan on the counter like a psychopath.
  How about when they leave the shower like the nesting place of a hairy animal?
 When your housemates or family members are women, a shower often becomes a bath because the drain is always clogged. If you carefully collect the long, scummy strands from the drain for a few weeks, you will have enough hair to make a decent bath mat or a wig for a child with cancer—not the most attractive wig, of course, but cheap. By that time, you will wonder how the woman in question is not a hairless mole rat.   
  And what about dishes in the sink?
 The first lesson of group living is that the cleanest person in a house always loses. Instead of victory then, you must choose your defeat. Clean up after your housemate and become a bitter, micromanaging asshole. Or refuse to clean up after them and live in a heap of filth. This is the decision before you.
  At the beginning, you may be deluded, thinking your housemate will take responsibility. Simply remember that this person consistently loses their phone and drives with the low fuel light on for weeks.     
​  They ate my food. What should I do?
 It’s never a good sign when you have the same problems with your roommate as you would have with a raccoon. If they start gnawing on the cabinets in the kitchen and picking apart the trash for cantaloupe rinds, you should move out.     
  What happens when they’re playing awful music?
  Suffering.
  What stance should I take on relationships?
  Against. There is a small chance that any relationship will lead to good results for you, the agonizingly lonesome roommate. At best, your roommate will be absent, and you will miss them until they come home and use the last of the toilet paper. At worst, you will have two roommates, one which you have chosen, the other which has been inflicted upon you, like a plague or a squirrel in the attic.
  With someone in a relationship, your role in the house changes drastically. You will become counselor, sex education teacher, body language expert, motivational coach, janitor, diplomat, and pseudo-parent. If the relationship fails, you have to deal with a sad person who barely takes care of themselves. If the relationship doesn’t fail, your roommate will move in with their partner, and you have to find a new roommate.
  What do I do if they don’t pay their rent?
  If someone fails to pay rent, everyone else has to cover for them, unless you signed separate leases, which you probably didn’t. Either you move, or the house hobbles on. It’s like a handicapped dog. It can manage with three legs. It can kind of make it work with two. And it’s pretty fucked when it has one.
   
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