Dear Good Greatsby: How Do I Convince Someone to Give Me a House?

Posted on August 31, 2011


Today is my birthday and my mom has agreed to be a guest panelist and refrain from trying to make me feel guilty as her gift to me.

The first question comes from Jim Chaney at The Wordslinger.  Please check out his blog and click on all his links.  You might start with his hilarious post My Kids are Stronger than Me.

Dear Good Greatsby,

My wife and I have been throwing around the idea of searching for a new house recently due to the staggering amounts of money we continue to put into our current dwelling, without even a “thank you” in return. In our research, we’ve uncovered several things. One, our house is likely worth less now than it was when we purchased it and two, larger houses tend to cost more money than smaller ones. This leads me to my question: how can I convince someone with a large, beautiful, well-kept home, to simply allow me and my family to take it off their hands for them?

Sincerely, The Wordslinger

Dear The Wordslinger,

Paul: Houses are a lot like children: they require constant maintenance without increasing in monetary value, they never say “thank you”, and their basement is often smelly and leaky.  I must warn you, if you’re willing to sell your house just because it’s a never-ending drain on your income, you might find the logic also applies to selling your children, and is why psychologists suggest selling your house is the “gateway sale” to one day selling your kids.

Before you attempt any elaborate strategy for tricking someone into giving you a bigger house, you might just try asking for it.  Whenever I visit someone’s home and see something I like, whether it be an antique clock, or a half-eaten sandwich, or a picture of Todd’s girlfriend, I simply ask if I can have it.  Some people will feel so awkward by my forwardness and lack of manners that they say yes just to end the awkward tension.  I’ve never considered asking for something as significant as a house, although I’ve asked many people to give me a kidney despite both of mine being in perfect order, but you never know until you try.

If asking doesn’t work, you might bring down the value of the house you desire by convincing a ghost to move there.  Of course, this should be a scary ghost and not a party ghost or the value of the house might actually increase.  Even more likely to increase the value is a responsible ghost who will watch their house and feed their pets while they’re gone.

If the ghost angle doesn’t work, you might try threatening the homeowners with violence if they don’t give you the house, although my wife tells me this method of obtaining ownership may not hold up in most US states.

Paul’s mom: Happy birthday, son!  I don’t know why, but something about this time of year always reminds me of the 48 hours I spent giving birth to you.

Paul: That number seems to get bigger every year, Mom.  Do you have any advice for Jim?

Paul’s mom: No matter what size house you end up buying or stealing, make sure the house is on the same street as your mother.  You might even try asking your mom if you can have her house.  I know I’d give Paul my house if he asked.  I already gave him the gift of life–what’s a house in comparison?

Paul: I don’t want to take your house, but can I have one of your kidneys?

The second question comes from Mango Season.

Dear Good Greatsby,

Do you think a time machine will be invented in time for me to go back and tape the answers to the exam under my seat before it is too late?


Dear Mango Season,

Paul: Allow me to answer your question with a question: Is it possible a certain blogger you know has already invented a time machine and taped the answers under your seat?

You’re welcome.

Although I should warn you that I didn’t study for the test either and I don’t have complete confidence in the answers I gave you.  I’ve written on my list of things for future Paul to do: “Study for Mango Season’s test and go back in time to correct incorrect answers I gave previously.”  If the answers under your desk remain incorrect, this means future Paul was assassinated before he was able to complete the task.

Why was future Paul assassinated?  It’s a long story full of time travel, romance, interplanetary espionage, the end of the world, lasers, the purpose of life, more lasers, and visits from several celebrity guests, but you probably wouldn’t be interested and I don’t want to bore you.

Do you have a question for The Good Greatsby?

Submit your questions on the Dear Good Greatsby page.