ho·li·er-than–thou (h l – r- n- ou ). adj. Exhibiting an attitude of superior virtue; self-righteously pious. Thank you TheFreeDictionary.com
I was actually afraid to bring up this neighbor-type. Although the Holier Than Thou neighbor has nothing to do with religion, I was afraid of being blasphemous. How dare I speak against the ways of those who think they are perfect? Once I realized I was only displaying the typical behavior of a non-perfect person, I knew it was okay to proceed with my writing.
We all know the self-righteous neighbors are out there in the neighborhood. Quiet as they may be, the goodness they radiate can be felt through a heat shield. Perhaps they snip their shrubbery with some extra-knowing vigor. Or perhaps they paint their garage with the most divine color of paint from the most virtuous of paint manufacturers. They might even be able to talk to animals. Or, at least this is what they would have you believe.
The Holier Than Thou neighbor can be an inherently good person. Sometimes that doesn’t seem to be the case. However, this self-appointed neighborhood role model prides themself on being a living example of all that you, and the rest of the mortals you share a mail route with, are not.
The Holier Than Thou neighbor lives a life as perfect as their landscaping. Their cars are spotless. They will use a leaf blower to remove debris from their driveway that is invisible to the human eye. They spend their Saturdays vacuuming their front sidewalks, dusting their mailboxes and installing nets over their gutters. There seems to be no end to the many things they will accomplish before your bleary, weary eyes. And to think YOU believe you’ve accomplished a great deal by collecting the mail from your mailbox every few days. In that time span they’ve added a new room on to the back of their house, bought and sold several ride-on lawn mowers and have created a sanctuary for the rare Yum Yum Tree in their backyard – which was also featured on the local news.
The Holier Than Thou neighbor also happens to know everything that goes on well-ahead of everyone else. “The tornado should be tearing up the next block over by mid-afternoon.” They know of every event going on at anyone else’s home in the county, “Today is Uncle Bob and Aunt Sally from Clowterville’s 65th wedding anniversary! I hope everyone remembered to call them with congratulations.”
You are uncomfortable by all this fact-knowing. You are instead worried because your kids left the upstairs windows open and your cats might walk out onto your roof because there are no screens in them since they popped out a year ago. The Holier Than Thou neighbor senses your distraction and quietly reminds himself that you are not perfect like he is.
Warning: Do not try to one up them on anything. You’re going to the dentist? They’ve never had a cavity. You’ve recently been on a road trip? They just drove back from Scotland. You like ice cream? Their great, great, great-grandfather invented it. A fan of country music? Willie Nelson lives next door to their uncle. You think your minivan is hot? Theirs is the special NASA edition in which they Skype astronauts up in the space station every night after dinner. Little wonder indeed why it is so much easier for you to stay inside in your comfy pajamas watching your mail pile up, instead of risking a winless battle of the comparisons.
In the rare instance anything should not go perfectly for the Holier Than Thou neighbor, they have (drumroll, please….) PERFECT excuses that make you ashamed for even asking about them. Of course their car leaks oil, they are collecting samples for research at a local university. The twig in their yard was purposely left for the young bluebird family to use to build their first nest of the season. “The bluebirds are also newlyweds, but I’m sure you knew that and sent a card,” they will tell you with a great deal of sincerity.
You look down and see that you are still in your pajamas and wonder why you are outdoors before noon. Perhaps you are on your way to Hallmark. It is more likely you are on your way to the lumber yard to buy a twelve-foot tall privacy fence so you can sit on your front porch in your pajamas drinking day old coffee in peace. But you’ll probably have company. It is more than likely the bluebird newlyweds would rather live in the privacy of your well-fenced yard than cope one more second with the relentless pressure they felt at your neighbor’s to use only the most virtuous twigs for their nest.