118. Put up with It

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The pounding was driving Edward crazy. A new neighbor had just moved into the apartment below him. The newcomer was deaf, or seemed to be, because he played his stereo loud enough for the whole building to hear.

On the first day that he heard the stereo blasting away, Edward marched downstairs and politely told the newcomer that his stereo was too loud. He asked the new tenant to turn the volume down and keep it down as long as he lived in the building. The tenant appeared surprised and embarrassed, and said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize it was that loud."

So, Edward returned upstairs, feeling good, because he had taken a stand and politely let the newcomer know that loud music was not going to be tolerated. The next day all was quiet, and Edward continued to be pleased with himself. The following day, Edward thought it must be Fourth of July, because a marching band was playing on his street. Of course, it wasn't Fourth of July, and it wasn't a marching band. It was the new neighbor who was playing his music loud again.

Edward was not one to repeat himself, feeling that each time you repeated yourself, you diminished the value of your words. So, he did what he always did with offensive neighbors, grin and bear it. Eventually, they would move away. What else are you going to do?

In Los Angeles a year ago, a woman had complained to her upstairs neighbor that he was playing his drums too loud and too often. The drummer repeatedly ignored her. He told her to stop whining. One day the woman walked upstairs and shot the drummer in the head and his girlfriend in the chest. The woman was sentenced to prison for 20 years.

The dead drummer won't bother anyone anymore with his drums, but the woman might be wishing now that she had learned to grin and bear it. Being sentenced to prison for 20 years is probably much worse than having to listen to drums blasting overhead. At least, if she were still living in her apartment, she could always move. When you're in prison, you don't have that option.

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