It May Be Time to Rethink Modeling Our Condo Association After the Yakuza, by Charlie Nadler

Dear fellow residents of 1928 Wolcott Avenue,

As president of the 1928 Wolcott Condo Association, I feel it is my responsibility to address a couple items that may potentially concern some of you. Firstly, we are all well aware that there have been some problems getting the front gate to close properly; I went ahead and sprayed the hinges with WD-40 earlier this morning, and this seems to have done the trick. Secondly, it has come to my attention that it may be time to rethink modeling our condo association after the yakuza.

While it may have seemed like a good idea to organize according to the traditional structure and codes of the Japanese crime gangs known as the yakuza, there is some growing evidence indicating that this may in fact have been a wildly misguided, reckless idea with exclusively negative consequences. Whether or not the yakuza system should be terminated is a matter which I intend to put to a vote at next year’s annual association meeting; in the meantime, I’ve outlined a few guidelines that I hope will minimize the amount of tragedy, embarrassment and needless bloodshed taking place at 1928 Wolcott Avenue.

Assessments
Personal checks remain the preferred method of payment for the monthly assessments — nothing should have changed in this department. I know I’m probably sounding like a broken record at this point, but when a resident submits one or more of their “comfort women” as a form of payment, this presents a logistical challenge — namely that the city does not typically accept undocumented Filipino sex slaves in return for services such as water, electricity and garbage removal.

To those residents who have embraced a more draconian interpretation of the yakuza model and have forsaken all legitimate businesses such as banks and other financial institutions, I can also accept payment in the form of cash, black tar heroin or litters of baby ocelots.

Parking
It should go without saying, but the parking garage is to be used for parking, not for conducting yakuza business. Residents will be advised to consider that our garage-sharing neighbors may become alarmed and possibly even contact the police when they witness the daily presence of shirtless men in dark sunglasses and full-body tattoos counting large sums of money, shooting sake and cutting out the tiny letters from magazines to draft blackmail and ransom notes. I cannot think of any good reason that these activities could not be done inside the condo or at a neutral location such as the back office of a strip club or an abandoned playground.

Keeping Exotic Animals out of the Meth Lab
It’s very simple: Unsold exotic animals are NOT to be stored in or anywhere near the shared meth laboratory, or “commons area.” How many of our capuchin monkeys and Komodo dragons need to die after going on meth-fueled killing rampages across the city before everyone finally gets on board with this seemingly easy-to-follow rule?

Penance
This one is going to apply to some of you more than others, but to ensure there is no more confusion, let’s review. Residents should perform a severing of the finger, or yubitsume, if and only if they have brought indisputable, burning shame to themselves and their yakuza. And just to clarify, forgetting to put your newspaper subscription on hold while you’re visiting your parents in Sarasota for a week does not qualify as indisputable, burning shame (I’m looking at you, Richard). Nor does waiting until mid-February to take down your Christmas tree (Richard again). Nor does inadvertently frightening the neighborhood children because of your two new prosthetic fingers (sorry to keep singling you out here, Rich, but I’m running out of places to put these fingers).

If you’re not sure whether the shame you’ve brought is enough to warrant a yubistume, please discuss with me before cutting off any fingers. In most cases, an apology will suffice.

Thanks for your cooperation everybody, and please let me know if there are any more problems with that finicky front gate.

Charlie Nadler lives and works in Chicago. His work has appeared in McSweeney’s, Gizmodo, Yankee Pot Roast and various other places. He plays in a band called Blane Fonda and he can be found on the internet here.

The Humor Section features a piece of original humor writing each week. To submit to it, send an email to Becca O’Neal.

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