License to Grill

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I’ve never been diagnosed with a terminal disease, but I imagine that news is a lot less devastating than learning you’re no longer allowed to grill on the deck of your second-story apartment. My lease has a clause that lets my landlord change the rules at any time, a provision I considered as meaningless as my wife’s warnings not to use the dishwasher to clean wine glasses, the good knives, or the cat. But on the first day of the year, the apartment’s management staff delivered the new policy along with the promise that I could appeal anything I found to be unfair by curling up and dying in any of the complex’s conveniently located Dumpsters.

I’m not a master chef, but I do enjoy holding raw meat over a fire just long enough to mildly diminish my chances of contracting Brucellosis. When I lived on my own, the grill allowed me to rise above my regular diet of microwaved hot dogs in favor of hot dogs I grilled, put in the fridge and then later reheated in the microwave. The taste difference was minimal, but the black singe marks on those vaguely meat-like wieners always made me feel a little bit less pathetic than I really was. A grill is both cheaper and warmer than a therapist.

Under the new rules, I could technically let a known terrorist stay in my apartment as long as I didn’t keep him here for more than seven days. Anyone who grills on the second floor, however, can expect a swift trip to Guantanamo Bay.

The main reason I’m so mad about the policy change is that I picked this apartment specifically because it allowed grills on the second floor. Through my exploitation of this lack of statutory respect for fire safety, I learned to prepare more challenging foods, like slightly plumper hot dogs. After I got married, I grilled even more often to pretend that I was contributing to the household, an illusion that would often shut up my wife for minutes at a time. I eventually came to realize that the grill aptly symbolized my marriage, both of which are poorly constructed and filled with flammable gas. The latter marked my only meaningful contribution to the relationship.

Since the apartment complex’s ban on grilling could cause irreversible harm to my diet and my marriage, my only choice is to look for loopholes in the new rules. The text of the ban says that apartment residents on the second floor cannot grill “on the deck.” The work-around for that particular phrase is fairly obvious:

This picture is just blurry enough to be inconclusive. Most think it shows an indoor grill, but others argue that it depicts a fridge or possibly a mountain lion.

I was so pleased with my idea that I considered patenting it, but I soon found out that someone already invented an indoor grill. It’s called a stove. If the landlord really thought through his grill ban, he’d realize that the safest place for me to prepare my food is on the deck, where the number of walls I could potentially ignite is reduced by one. I don’t use the oven much, but my attempts to make toast have resulted in no fewer than two toaster fires in my lifetime. Really, allowing me to be indoors at all is an immense fire hazard, regardless of whether I’m preparing chicken on an indoor grill of running cold tap water over an already moist sponge.

Even though indoor grilling is not specifically forbidden under the new rules of my lease, I might lose my security deposit when I cut the necessary eight-foot-wide ventilation hole in my ceiling. If I can’t grill inside, my next option is to keep the grill hidden on the deck and use it only in quick, secretive bursts. There’s an outdoor closet attached to the deck where I could hide the grill in between meals, but the propane-fueled wonder will break apart if I move it too much. My former roommate and I spent upwards of three hours putting the thing together, a process that required us to bend, twist and sometimes molest an unnerving number of parts. The fact that the grill still stands calls into serious question the law of gravity and several other basic tenets of modern physics.

I need a way to hide the grill from prying eyes without frequently moving it, a challenge that generated the following clever solution:

Before: a grill.


After: no grill.


If you’re wondering where the grill went, you’re not alone. There’s no way anyone on the apartment’s staff will be able to find my precious food preparation aid when its camouflage is activated. I am concerned, however, that birds unaware of the grill’s invisible presence might fly into the contraption, thereby disabling its state-of-the-art cloaking mechanism. That’s why I came up with one more way to preserve my constitutionally-protected right to grill.

Upon rereading the new rules, I discovered that you can’t grill on the second story, but you can have children. The policy says nothing about grilling things on or in your children. That’s how I came up with this solution:

He has his mother’s confused, satanic eyes and his father’s sexy grill-shaped head.

The new rules don’t have a provision for paternity testing, and my son’s inhumanly blockish skull and suspect dental arrangement cause him to look a disturbing amount like me. Furthermore, there’s no provision in the lease to kick out children who are ill, so I don’t see how they can complain if my son occasionally has a fever of 450 degrees. As far as I’m concerned, cracking open his head to warm my hamburgers isn’t grilling; it’s good parenting.

Now that I have a solid plan, I’ve decided to take the risk of moving the appliance to the outdoor closet, where it can safely wait out the winter. A grand battle with the leasing office looms in the warmer months ahead. Until then, sleep well son.

The grill lies dormant, peacefully dreaming of its next chance to burn down the entire apartment complex.

0 Responses

  1. That is the best thing I’ve read this year.

  2. Anonymous

    That has got to be one of the funniest things I have read in a long time… Thanks!

  3. Anonymous

    I think your son looks like me. I think I should get visitation rights.

  4. MisterGQ79

    haha Hillarious!

  5. Anonymous

    Your son is smokin hot. How old is he?

  6. I hope we’ve learned a little about signing leases… I’ve never encountered that phrase “we reserve the right to basically do anything we want without notice” without adding a few bold cross-offs and my initials.Then again, your way works too. Lol.

  7. Anonymous

    You ARE a writer, Sir. And a good one. If you could pull off this mood through an entire book, you would nae have to worry about being on the second floor of a building clearly constructed of kindling. Write on!

  8. Anonymous

    I actually prefer the indoor grilling method – nothing says “lazy slacker” like plopping my wide ass in my recliner, sticking some meat on a stick, holding it over the grill while changing channels with the remote, and then eating said meat straight off the skewer. Yum!

  9. Anonymous

    I actually prefer the indoor grilling method – nothing says “lazy slacker” like plopping my wide ass in my recliner, sticking some meat on a stick, holding it over the grill while changing channels with the remote, and then eating said meat straight off the skewer. Yum!

  10. Anonymous

    I actually prefer the indoor grilling method – nothing says “lazy slacker” like plopping my wide ass in my recliner, sticking some meat on a stick, holding it over the grill while changing channels with the remote, and then eating said meat straight off the skewer. Yum!

  11. Anonymous

    Use an electric grill.

  12. Anonymous

    So, if you put a rug on your deck and you put your grill on the rug…are you technically grilling “on the rug” instead of “on the deck”?Or you could get a patio heater and just hold your hot dog really close to the flame for a while.🙂

  13. Anonymous

    I am afraid Sir, that I am going to have to turn you in to your landlord. While I admire your determination to enjoy your grill, I can not sit idly by while you have a mountain lion roaming your living room!!!

  14. Anonymous

    This is a hoot…I am so glad someone put it on FARK. I have now bookmarked the page. You should rush to New York or California, and fill the writer’s void. This is much funnier, and CLEAN…. You are a magician when it comes to using words to create hilarious visual comedy.

  15. I have the same problem at my condo. I bought a small propane grill from walmart and hacked off the side tables, so it is really small. Then I wrapped it in a bamboo fencing material from Home Depot; about $6 I think. When I grill, I just move the fence out of the way so I don’t burn the place down. It’s completely hidden. Funny post, btw.

  16. Anonymous

    Quite possibly one of the funniest things I’ve read this year! Good luck on your fight o’ brother-of-the-grill! 🙂

  17. Just a thyought from the engineering depatment, but couldn’t you contsruct a framework that would allow you to mount you grill on the <>outside<> of the railing? Your grill wouldn’t then be technically on the deck.

  18. Anonymous

    You should go to Film School. The primary criteria for admission is creativity. I recommend the graduate Film School at Florida State University. It is a public school and after tuition the state pays for all the film production costs. Check it out at

  19. Anonymous

    LMAO – That is by far the best blog I have ever read!

  20. Anonymous

    I laughed at the vaguely Hick-ian remark.

  21. Grills are a great way to remove sundry evidence of various felonious acts.

  22. Anonymous

    Funny article.I would suspect that the change was brought about at the insistence of the apartment’s insurance carrier.Of course I’ve only been in property management for 20 years, and dealt with these issues many times, so what would I know?

  23. So, did they specifically forbid grilling in the hallways?

  24. Anonymous

    So it seems fairly clear to me that sitting the grill exactly 1″ inside the open door of your deck, with a powerful industrial fan blowing in the general direction of “outside” is not actually a violation of this policy, since it would not be “on the second floor deck” I don’t see any need for a ventilation hole, when a minor shift in location and one of those nice windmakers they use to ventilate paint shops will handily take care of your problem.

  25. You complete me

  26. Anonymous

    I had a similar, though entirely different, problem a number of years ago when my then-wife and I lived in a condo which was in a development. What happened was that my wife put up on of those decorative flags that depict things such as kittycat, buckets of flowers, buckets of kittycats, or the crashing of Pan Am flight 611. Their actually was a rule in the deed that prohibited such flags, as they (“they” being the higher forms of life that administered the development) desired the kind of uniformity generally reserved for military funerals and marshmallow peeps. The thing is, we, and a number of your neighbors, also had propane or charcoal grills on our patios – and noone compained about them. My point is that they chose to enforce the fascist conformist rule rather than the fire hazard provision! We laughed long into the night.

  27. funniest thing I’ve read in a long time.Bravo

  28. The reason that you are not allowed to grill on your patio is most likely because it’s against the fire code. It is probably this way in 95% of apartments in the United States. A fire starting in a patio is probably more serious than one starting within the actual apartment. This is because the fire will burn in, around and under the sprinkler system, if your apartment has one. Sorry but not burning down you and your neighbors homes is probably a bit more important than you being able to grill a hot dog. And yes, this code came about as a result of actual fires and not because some fire protection engineers and fire chiefs got bored and figured they would screw with people. Someone in the comments asked if you are allowed to grill in the hallways: No. Any open flame grill must usually be 20-25′ from the building.

  29. And yes, I understand the concept of satire.

  30. Come on, if you’re going to call it “grilling” at least use charcoal.

  31. impresed

    Brilliant writing. Well done

  32. Anonymous

    Yes, very well-written. Do you have anyone publishing your humour?-kd

  33. Anonymous

    I feel compelled to point out that storing a propane tank in an enclosed space is also a no-no.

  34. I didn’t read anybodies posts, but I just came here to say that my friend got around this rule by attaching his grill off the side of his deck, so it was technically over the ground, and thus not a fire hazard.

  35. Anonymous

    Who ARE you man?

  36. We couldn’t use an outdoor grill on any floor in my old apartments, but almost everyone had one. The only fire I ever saw was a grease fire in the apartment above mine-I sent hubby up with a fire extinguisher more out of self preservation to my apartment (another neighbour had their sprinklers go off for no reason and the damage was horrific) than for the people above me.

  37. Anonymous

    The fire marshal probably made your landlord do it. Maybe your heirs will let the world know whether you have lived up to the name of your blog.

  38. gubbabub

    Dumb nuts,Don’t store your propane tank in an enclosed shed. That’s just stoopid.

  39. Anonymous

    Extremely entertaining!Thank you, that made my day so much better… To those who feel the need to FYI this man about the fire hazards and such – get a life! If you can’t enjoy and appreciate the imagination used here, go to another page rather than wasting your own time and space on this page with your obvious but sad lack of a sense of humor!

  40. Anonymous

    You are an exceptionally talented writer. I will be back to read more…

  41. Thanks to this article, I’ve found out that I sound really stupid when I laugh loudly for a long time.

  42. Worldwalker

    Two blocks from where I live, there used to be an apartment building where 28 families lived. It burned to the ground one afternoon, thanks to one individual who thought he knew more than the fire marshal about whether it was safe to grill on his balcony. It was an older building and it went up like a torch. 28 families fled the blaze with just the clothes on their backs. They lost every single thing they owned, from irreplaceable family photos to beloved pets, because of one “clever” guy who thought that the only thing that could go wrong was getting caught.Yeah, I know you’re trying to be funny. But after you’ve held a sobbing woman who ran home from work to discover she was homeless and penniless, it’s really hard to laugh.There’s a reason there’s a law against grilling on your friggin’ deck.

  43. Anonymous

    Okay! Okay! Your landlord says “No grilling on the deck”. How about deep frying a turkey in 4 gallons crazy hot peanut oil. Thats totally safe, right! Maybe you should invite a couple of off duty Fire guys or gals the next time you have a cook-out. they love grilled food. Just ask one. Write on Dude.

  44. Anonymous

    You owe me a keyboard. That was great!

  45. Anonymous

    Worldwalker your an idiot sir. This is a bit of comedy that you had to bash because some fake apartment building that you made up burned down. Don’t sit there and try to pity bash everyone. Worldwalker is it because you have problems with your self that makes you lash out at people on the internet. People like this are the Patch Adams of the world. Do you hate the sick and the poor Worldwalker. Why do you like to take you problems and hurt other people with your anger. Just talk to someone, get some help, read a book, anything. I just want you to stop being hateful.

  46. Does your son have a slightly older sister????

  47. This is a great take on the life of domestic bliss that follows marriage. And renting from a landlord that you have absolutely no respect for (and rightly so). Write on!

  48. Anonymous

    Using a gas grill on a balcony is one of the dumbest things you could do. But you are probably more concerned about being eliminated from your attempt at the Darwin award.

  49. I have to say that is one of the best things I’ve read in a long time. Thank you for your humor over such a sad affair. I hope that you will pull a sword from the stone and slay the evil land-lords and rescue your BBQ princess.

  50. Anonymous

    I actually spent about 45 seconds looking for the googleAds to click on them, because I found yourarticle (post?) so entertaining. Thanks!

  51. Anonymous

    I’m not a writer and thus know nothing of the trade so I’m not going to tell you this is great writing – suffice it to say I’ve sincerely not laughed so hard in longer than memory will serve to remember. Thank you for this from every laughter-tickled particle in my being. Please continue to write.

  52. Anonymous

    I like how all the jealous people are like ohh you’re gonna burn down your whole apartment complex and kill all the babies. They probably don’t own grills.

  53. You should just get a bunch of 2×4’s and build a little ‘extension ramp’ off of your back patio. Make sure to use a few of the pieces of wood for support. Then you can duct-tape your grill to the end of it and won’t have any walls to burn down. As long as you can keep your balance, you can grill without fear of them finding out your son is really an appliance.

  54. Best writting I have read in a long time, you have a new fan base in not only my self but my new wife and our extended family… Your blogs on marriage are spot on as well!Thanks!

  55. Anonymous

    To begin, let me say that I have also lived in tract-housing/apartment living where the “rules” made no sense because they OBVIOUSLY were spewed out by idiots who didn’t live there. I’ll CONTINUE with the statement that if affordable housing in the form of apartment complexes and tract develpoments weren’t built so CHEAPLY-like the three little pigs before they discovered bricks, then this wouldn’t be an issue. Personally, I admire your pluck and your sense of humor. ALSO that you have a gas grill instead of charcoal (I prefer charcoal for FLAVOR-but gas is totally safe, man. There’s a one-way valve on the regulator for a REASON.) For your next article, please tell all of us how you get away with doing work on your automobile without inviting an eviction notice.That was always MY problem…REGARDS!

  56. Anonymous

    Your wife already told you “Please don’t start any fires.”

  57. My buddy Tom used to live on the third floor of an apartment building. Whenever the fuel oil company would fill the tank, the whole building reeked of fuel oil for a day or so.On one such occasion, a new tenant came home late and called the fire department to investigate the unfamiliar-to-her smell.The FD came out and poked around, and discovered a propane grill on Tom’s back porch. They woke him up and advised him that gas grills must be kept 25 feet from the building. He groggily advised the fireman that the grill belonged to his next-door neighbor, and it was easily 200 feet from his neighbor’s building. His grill was stored on the neighbor’s back porch. Could he please go back to sleep?

  58. Your son looks like one of the cousins in < HREF="" REL="nofollow">Katamari Damacy<>.

  59. Anonymous

    Easily one of the best written things i have read in the past 6 months. Keep up the imaginitive humor 🙂

  60. Worldwalker

    Dear anonymous/5:26,Normally I do not feed the trolls, but I do have to reply to your post. A lot of thoughts went through my mind when I read it, but the loudest and clearest was: WTF???I think you need to stop looking in that mirror quite so much.

  61. Dude, write a book…

  62. Anonymous

    Wait – you have an empty closet at your apartment with room for a grill? And you’re MARRIED?!? How the heck does that happen…?

  63. this brought tears to my eyes from laughter. thanks for a great read. i’m hooked!

  64. Very entertaining!My advice is to just move your grill over to someone else’s place when grilling. If the owners of the other apartment see you, just offer them a tasty hot dog.

  65. Anonymous

    Since you don’t like being told what to do, why don’t you move into your own house? Then you (or your wife) would be the boss, making your own “rules”. Oh… don’t forget to stay out of HOA’s.

  66. “appartment residents on the second floor can not grill on the deck”For some reason you are only focusing on the “grill on the deck” portion of the rule, while you should be more focused on the “appartment residents” part. If you move out your no longer a resident. You can come over whenever you want and “grill on the deck” all you want. Your wife will understand, it’s the best move you can make for your marrige. Like you mentioned before, they are more lax about terrorists staying over for 7 days then the grilling issue. So, I urge you, be a visiting terrorist and grill to your hearts content.

  67. Anonymous

    Jeeeezus, you are one funny mofo. Seriously. I’ve spent the past, um i dunno, 5 hours reading your posts and they are ridiculously funny.

  68. You remind me a LOT of a friend/neighbor of mine in college. We had the same issue arise at our apartment complex, so he did the only logical thing: he moved the grill indoors, just beside the sliding door to the balcony. He kept the door open and had a fan pointing from indoors over the grill and out of the door. It worked, but we only grilled once or twice for the simple fear of him getting caught and kicked out.

  69. Anonymous

    This is awesome. I laughed so hard.

  70. Anonymous

    The new rule states that “residents of the 2nd floor” couldn’t grill on the deck. What if you invited some friends over(non-residents of the 2nd floor) or some neighbors from the first floor up (again, non-residents of the second floor) for some grilling on the deck?

  71. perhaps if said grill wa ensconced in a kiddie pool ……

  72. Ours was added, “no open flame within 10′ for the building or overhang.” There really isn’t any place in the entire complex that is 10′ from one of the buildings. Very tight spaces.Solution: Closed grill! We use a smoker chassis to grill, which places the fire bin as a little dish down inside the bottom of a barrel. ^-^Perhaps you can convince them of a hood or somesuch…

  73. This is the funniest thing I’ve read.. well.. ever.

  74. Anonymous

    What a dilemma! I think I’d die if I couldn’t take succulent cuts of meat and turn them into non-recognizable lumps of barely edible chunks of charcoal/protein.I may have an answer for you. Since the ban is grilling “on the deck”, get some screwhooks and light chain, like used to anchor the family beagle to the doghouse, and hang your son(grill) from the ceiling, thereby getting the grill off the floor. Problem solved!

  75. Anonymous

    Parking lots next to buildings should be banned because someone might mistake the gas pedal for the brake and plow through an exterior wall. Parking lots that can be upgraded by installing highway style guard rails could make application for a temporary waiver.

  76. Anonymous

    I found out today my apartment complex is banning all grills in 10 days with a penalty of being in violation of your lease should a grill remain on your balcony. Your post had me laughing non stop, and has temporarily lifted my depression. Ok, now I’m depressed again! My building is made of brick and concrete, I couldn’t use my grill to start a patio fire if I WANTED TO. WTF????? My misery shall continue.