It’s noth­ing per­sonal, Lot 6


They called me “Lot 6.” At least that’s what Syd­ney Green­berg, the builder of my house, al­ways called me af­ter I signed my name to the agree­ment of pur­chase and sale and waited for said house to be con­structed. The man never re­mem­bered or per­haps had no need to re­mem­ber the names of any of his pur­chasers.

Shortly be­fore the clos­ing date, I wanted to ex­press some con­cerns to Syd­ney about the house pos­si­bly not be­ing ready in time. There were a few odds and ends still not in place — like the roof. I went to the builder’s trailer on the sub­di­vi­sion site and stood in line be­hind a hand­ful of other con­cerned pur­chasers, like the podgy red­headed gen­tle­man who owned the house sev­eral lots up the road.

He was al­ready liv­ing in his new house, but the plumb­ing left a lit­tle to be de­sired and he was plead­ing with the builder to send the plumber over to con­nect the toi­lets. Syd­ney as­sured him the plumber would get there once he fin­ished work­ing on Lot 11’s house. He then in­tro­duced me to my new neigh­bour. “Lot 6, meet Lot 14.”

I knew right away Lot 14 and I would get along; we were both even num­bers.

I re­al­ized Lot 14 had big­ger prob­lems than I did so I de­cided to leave. Syd­ney no­ticed me head­ing for the door and said, “Don’t worry; your house will be ready in time, Lot 6.”

My wife, who had stayed in the car, asked me what he had said. I told her that Syd­ney had called me Lot 6 and that I didn’t like it.

She said, “Give him a taste of his own medicine.”

I took her ad­vice. The next time I had a com­plaint, I phoned him and said, “Ex­cuse me, Mr. Trailer.”

Syd­ney re­sponded, “Is that you, Lot 6?” So that didn’t do the trick. My kids, how­ever, thought the nu­mer­i­cal des­ig­na­tion was cute. They said it made me sound like a se­cret agent.

I thought about it and to a cer­tain ex­tent it made sense. I vi­su­alised that scene in ev­ery James Bond movie where Agent Q meets Bond and gives him the gad­gets he will need to sneak onto that is­land in some re­mote part of the Ori­ent and blow up that nu­clear re­ac­tor af­ter sin­gle-hand­edly wip­ing out hun­dreds of en­emy guards.

Per­haps one day I would be sum­moned to that trailer by Syd­ney and he would say, “Lot 6, you’re fly­ing to Venice tonight. In front of Pi­azza San Marco you will meet Lot 27, who will hand you a mi­cro­film con­tain­ing top se­cret de­signs for the lat­est kitchen tiles. In this black bag you will find all you need, in­clud­ing an in­flat­able he­li­copter, with dual ma­chine guns of course.”

My neigh­bour to the north, Lot 7, kind of liked his nu­mer­i­cal des­ig­na­tion as well. He said that this way he wasn’t just an­other name. But then again his name was Smith.

All of this was sev­eral years ago. The area now is fully de­vel­oped and the trees the town planted then are even giv­ing us a mod­icum of shade.

I ran into Syd­ney at the nearby plaza last week. I did not ex­pect him to re­mem­ber me. To my sur­prise, when I said, “Hello, Syd­ney,” he re­sponded, “It’s been a long time. How are you Lot 6?”

I guess Syd­ney Green­berg is one of those peo­ple who never for­gets a num­ber. Marcel Strigberge­r is a Thorn­hill lawyer who likes to per­form stand-up com­edy and has writ­ten for Dave Broad­foot and The Royal Cana­dian Air Farce. Check out his web­site, legal­hu­

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