Once there was an apartment building, full of happy people. They grew to be almost like a family. They laughed and cried together, fought and made up, watched each other grow and change. But the apartment grew run down, turned into a slum, partly because of the tenants and partly because of the absentee Slumlord. The tenants weren't happy. The Slumlord grew embarrassed because her building wasn't like the other buildings in the neighborhood. It had a bad reputation in some circles.
Never Wrong drove by and said, "Look at this awful building. The people who live there are horrible." In fact, Never Wrong drove by repeatedly to say this to the tenants. The tenants said, "If you think it's so bad, why don't you move in and help fix it up?" She said "No way. You people are just too horrible." She took her complaints to the Slumlord.
Meanwhile, a Laudable Person in Her Own Mind moved in. She said, "Look at this place. The tenants throw trash everywhere." Then she scattered her own trash all over the building while loudly complaining about other people's trash.
The tenants held a meeting. "We've got to do something about this place," they said. They came up with some ideas on how to do it. The Slumlord showed up at the meeting. "Those are good ideas," she said. "I'm going to manage this building personally now."
The tenants were angry. Several of them said, "You Slumlord. You have no business running this building. It's your fault it got into this condition in the first place."
The Slumlord said, "How dare you call me a slumlord!" and evicted several of the most prominent tenants. All the supers quit. Several long-time tenants moved out.
The tenants who left already had another place to live. It wasn't as fancy a building as the one they left, it was quieter and in a less fashionable neighborhood, but they were all there, running it themselves without a landlord.
Even so, many of the former tenants were angry. They picketed the old building. Some of them threw eggs at the building. Some of them used false names and pretended they wanted to move in; then they threw more eggs. The Slumlord was in over her head. She had no clue how to actually run an apartment building. Never Wrong volunteered to be the new super. Slumlord and Never Wrong said they would make the building better by evicting anyone who littered. When old tenants pointed out that nothing happened when new tenants littered, Slumlord and Never Wrong said they would evict anyone who complained about the way they ran the building. Laudable Person contributed by throwing trash at former tenants whenever she saw one.
Most of the former tenants were content in their new building. But some of them kept going back. Two of them moved in for awhile under false names to see how they'd be treated and then moved back out. Several kept showing up at tenant meetings. Another moved in under a false name and settled down. Another went back and gave Never Wrong a manual on how to run an apartment building.
Another former tenant -- one of the first three evicted for insulting the Slumlord, in fact -- was confused by this. He liked to look at the old building -- he thought he'd seldom seen people sillier than the Slumlord, Never Wrong, and Laudable Person or a more amusing sight than the three of them trying to run an apartment building -- but he never went to their meetings. He thought the best revenge was making his current building a nice place to live and allowing the old one to decay on its own. "Why go back?" he asked his friends. "Sure, we have good memories there, but it's just a building," he said. "A community is made of people, and the people are here in this new building. Why go back and associate with the likes of Slumlord, Never Wrong, and Laudable Person? It makes no sense to me." He wondered how the story would end.