Would You Share Your Home With A Ghost?
Peter Tatara - October 29, 2010
The October 25th edition of USA Today included a charming little infographic in the corner of its first page. "Would you share your home with a ghost if you lived rent free?" was the question it posed, and the answer, culled from 1,000 adults surveyed by rent.com, was startling to say the least. Displayed as a ghost-pie chart hybrid, 51% said yes, 49% said no.
Don't get me wrong, I'd love to live rent free, but I think the infographic dumbs down the equation a bit much. Live with a ghost? Give me more information here. I've got a friend who's a genuine, bonafide Ghost Hunter. He volunteers with The Atlantic Paranormal Society and spends nights in other peoples' homes looking for spooky shit. (There's gotta be a way to connect homeowners currently plagued with ghosts with the 51% of America that wouldn't mind. Trade keys and leases or something. Could be a viable little business. Maybe I could even retire off of that money. Wait, the 51% are freeloaders. This wouldn't work out.) Anyway, this friend goes out of his way trying to find the paranormal, but while he's damn curious about what's beyond the veil of death, he's none too thrilled with the idea of bringing something back to his own home. So, if my friendly neighborhood Ghost Hunter doesn't want ghosts in his own damn house, I'm going to be skeptical, too.
Just look at how difficult it is trying to find a good roommate. Now amplify this with protoplasm. Not only are you looking at sizing up your roommate's personality, cleanliness, and whether or not they'd walk off with your TV, you've now got to worry about hellmouths opening up in the linen cabinet. Would I live with a ghost for zero rent? I need more information than that. You've got any number of sizes and shapes of specters, and I can't intelligently say "yay" or "nay" until I have more facts. And, frankly, thinking about it, I'm seeing more negatives than positives here.
Let's say you're part of the half of America who's pro-ghost and anti-rent. Let's pretend your new etheral roommate's on his way. You hear a knock at the door and open it up. What do you see? Below's the life in store for you with a half dozen famous phantasms. Note: None of em are good.
Casper The Friendly Ghost. Casper's chipper, cheerful, and hangs around with a pretty tame afterlife crew. He's a dead eight-year-old, what's the worst that could happen here? He's still an eight-year-old, and I don't want an eight-year-old kid splitting my apartment. Half the things I watch aren't appropriate for kids, and flat out none of the videogames I play are. I'd spend most nights playing Chutes and Ladders with the bore and end up drinking myself to death, haunting my place, too.
Slimer. Just as Casper means living with an eight-year-old, Slimer's nothing but a fratboy. Actually, he's a fratboy who can walk through walls. Put a lock on the fridge so he won't eat everything inside it? He'll float right in. Hung a sock on your doorknob as a sign you're trying poorly to woo a lady? He'll float right in. Taking a shit? He'll float right in. And, given his name is "Slimer", odds are he'll quickly turn the house a preternatural green, pretty much preventing any lady-wooing at all. Only plus side here is if he pisses Ecto Cooler.
Gentleman Ghost. Gentleman Ghost is a bad guy from the Hawkman comic book mythos. He's the ever-living spirit of a highwayman who now, for some reason, fights an alien cop with bird wings. Gentleman Ghost wears a top hat, monocle, cane, and coat with tails, so he's better dressed than you or me and would probably be a dick about keeping the house clean. Slimer would have trashed the place, but Gentleman Ghost would nag you to death when you aren't using a coaster. Further, he's dressed in all white, so I presume he's a racist.
Rukia Kikuchi. Rukia's a little goth grim reaper girl from Bleach. She's good with a sword, knows kung fu, and comes from a rich family. More importantly, she's several hundred years old, but looks to be just on the legal side of barely-legal. While living with Rukia may at first sound appealing, think this one through. Your undead girlfriend is a hot little number, but you know what's under the black bra and panties? A girl in too much eyeliner who wants to stay up all night reciting her crappy poetry about how mommy and daddy don't love her.
Ghost Rider. Wikipedia tells me Ghost Rider may be the strongest super hero on the planet. That's pretty cool. And with him being a former stunt man, I'm sure he's a chill, casual guy, enjoys a good beer, and has got stories up the wazoo. On paper, things check out. Ghost Rider would actually be a pretty good roommate until -- of course -- his head burns your house down.
Obi-Wan Kenobi. What? He's a ghost. Now, I'd be totally cool with a translucent Alec Guinness sharing my apartment, but I presume that's not who I'd get.
Dr. Malcolm Crowe. Remember Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense? Remember how we all loved the movie's surprise ending? You'll sadly not love the other surprises Crowe brings into your life. Think you've got orange juice? Surprise! Crowe finished it but left the empty bottle in the fridge. Think your Netflix envelope's in the mailbox? Surprise! Crowe dropped it behind the couch. Think your rent check was mailed, too? Wait, you're living rent free, so forget this one. Nonetheless, little surprises suck.
The Headless Horseman. Straight from Sleepy Hollow, the Headless Horseman's got all kinds of baggage. He's gonna chop off the heads of all your neighbors and delivery guys, his horse will shit on everything, and -- without a head -- he's going to bump into everything, too, knocking over all your stuff. This last one's a deal breaker.
Creepy Fucking Dead Japanese Kids from The Grudge. No.
In summation, America, before raising your hand to live with a ghost for free rent, think it through. As I hope I've illustrated, you gotta do your research. Opening your home to a poltergeist could have some serious ramifications on your interior design, ability to seal the deal with womenfolk, and the fate of your immortal soul. Even more than all that, though, remember that dead people are still people. Living with a roommate sucks.