I will keep this short and sweet because that is exactly how it went down. When we last left the dramatic saga of my wife and me vs. the Homeowners’ Association regarding our refusal to add a third color to the paint scheme of our house (see previous posting), the Board of Directors decided they did not want to deal with the matter during its monthly meeting the other night. The Board, instead, delegated the entire case over to the new board member who replaced the one we pissed off. They instructed him to go forth and figure it out.
Well, Saturday afternoon the phone rings and it’s the new board guy—I’ll call him “H”—and H wants to know when he can drop by to discuss the paint issue. We agree to meet within minutes.
When he arrives H is a very pleasant sort of fellow and we stand outside in front of our house as my wife and I plead our case. We point out that we have no problem following the mandated selection of colors but we felt that demanding THREE colors beyond the usual two was excessive, given how much money we spent on upgrading the outside of our house and also the fact that there are 16 other homes in our community painted exactly the same way—some for five years or more. We even said we would be willing to use a third color if it were one that was compatible with the other two. We simply did not like the third color that was selected to go with the other two in our particular palette. He turned around and looked across the street, about three house down and said,”That house is painted identical to yours isn’t it?” I told H it was and that it was painted that way about five years ago. H says, “Well you painted your garage the same color as the trim on your house and it looks fine to me; and that house is the same so I don’t see why we are even discussing it further. Enjoy your new paint job and have a great day.” H got in his car and drove off.
But but but….I had all this legal stuff I had compiled: pictures of the other 16 houses painted just like ours; highlighted paragraphs in the Association’s bylaws which indicated the homeowners should have been notified of the new 3-paint rule being considered BEFORE it was considered; and a few more things. I never got to have my Perry Mason moment. Ah Gee….but it sure was nice to win one. I ran to my Bartlett’s to find something profound said about all this. Horace Mann had the perfect quotation. He said it in a commencement speech. Mann was a politician and noted progressive educator from Massachusetts, even a U.S. Congressman in the mid 1800s. My buddy Horace said it all: “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.” I deserve ice cream.