"The Spiritual Property of Tully Lieberman" by Walker Zupp

Updated: Oct 2, 2021


Today I intend to document how the middle-aged, physically fit and balding Tully Lieberman lived in a house on the very edge of the city. It goes without saying that such a description could befall a hundred other citizens, except Tully Lieberman was, perhaps, the greatest example of a detached citizen I ever came across. Yes, there was a terrific sense of anomie with Mr. Lieberman which pervaded throughout his long life and caused a great many problems to arise. Most notably, a great upheaval was endured when one morning Mr. Lieberman received a phone call from his lifelong landlady Ms. Tangerine, a married woman of some renown in the city.

Mr. Lieberman answered the phone with the usual politeness, except there too was an irritated twang to his vowels because he was just about to head out the door to work. Already, his landlady was saying she wanted to sell the very house Mr. Lieberman was living in! But why on earth would she want to do that? Well, Ms. Tangerine’s husband believed their own house to be too small, it required an enlargement, so the idea was to exchange the physical asset of Mr. Lieberman’s house for the gaseous asset of capital so as to begin the lengthy extensions on the Tangerine home.

Now, Mr. Lieberman had absolutely no idea that his landlady was married. He was outraged and figured there’d be a list a mile long of other things he didn’t know about Ms. Tangerine, who had always referred to herself as Ms. Tangerine and never, ever, Mrs. Tangerine…And as for the Tangerine homestead being too small for Mr. Tangerine’s liking, well, where had this come from? The answer was that things came up sometimes and needed to be dealt with. It needed to be done and the only way to do it was by removing the Tully Lieberman element from Mr. Lieberman’s house.

Oh, folly!—Except, truly, Mr. Lieberman knew about as much as the ramifications of this turn of events as the sun knew about making ice cubes.

What would happen now?

And Mr. Lieberman was a kind man who was middle-aged, a gentleman who was physically fit, a noble individual who was losing his hair. He calculated privately in those moments on the phone with Ms. Tangerine, who really was Mrs. Tangerine, that his collaborating with her in this instance would not be a surrender or an acceptance; he’d never engaged in combat with Ms. Tangerine, nor was he in any position to categorically deny what his landlady had said.

He’d give her his notice then; so that month’s rent would be the final rent owed to Ms. Tangerine.

Indeed, Ms. Tangerine agreed only to give Mr. Lieberman two months’ notice in her capacity as his landlady. This confused Mr. Lieberman to no end. It was the beginning of March, so would he need to be out of the property by the end of March, or by the beginning of April? Ah, well, both and neither he was informed! Ms. Tangerine was happy for him to move out either in March or in April!—A moment of silence followed, so solemn, so misunderstood, and Ms. Tangerine added that the “estate agency” would be arranging viewings for Mr. Lieberman’s property. He’d be notified in advance if a viewing would be going ahead.

Naturally, Mr. Lieberman assumed his landlady knew these people from the estate agency. But she then explained that any such assumption was ludicrous! Ha! No, no, Ms. Tangerine would have zero control over these viewings. In fact, she’d much rather let this estate agency compile a list of applications from every person who wished to see Mr. Lieberman’s house, then she’d comb through them and pick the “best candidate”. But surely if the purpose of her selling Mr. Lieberman’s house was to generate capital, then it would be far better to do the whole thing on a first-come-first-served basis? Why not give the house to whoever wanted to purchase it first? Because this course of action would be unfair, Ms. Tangerine maintained, it would go against every single principle she bravely adhered to. Except the whole thing was unfair, though, wasn’t it? In the long and varied history of the planet Earth, there’d never been a tenant whose primary purpose was to find a landlord. This delightful conversation was brought to a staggered end when Ms. Tangerine suggested that Mr. Lieberman not think “too hard about the whole thing”. Especially now that he needed to find a new property in a month!—Or was it two months? Ms. Tangerine had given Mr. Lieberman two months’ notice, but she had also said that it didn’t matter!—“You see, I’ve forgotten already!” Ms. Tangerine believed this proved her point. In any case, Mr. Lieberman had been a terrific tenant—if somewhat middle-aged, physically fit, and balding—and Ms. Tangerine wished him all the best in his property search and hung up.