Technically one could walk around one’s neighborhood and turn off people’s gas mains.
Then you’d have Total Control. You could be the Mayor of about four-square blocks. “He who controls the Spice, controls the universe” and all that.
The Spice in this case is a metaphor for natural gas. It’s kind of a stretch if you haven’t read Dune or witnessed the abomination of a film of the same name made in 1984 (during which you were likely not alive) and starring that guy from Twin Peaks.
It’s not super easy. Gas mains have a little shut-off valve, kind of oval in shape, cast from ¼-inch worth of flat steel, with a little hole at the end. You can either grasp the flat of the valve with a wrench and turn it until perpendicular with the pipe, or use a 4-in-1 emergency tool that will fit in the provided hole and similarly yard the valve closed.
Your main advantage is that 73.45% of homeowners don’t even know they have a gas main, according to The Department of Housing and Urban Development. The odds are in your favor. How can you NOT do this?
As Mayor you could then demand “fire rent” every day where you provide people access to their gas for 5 minutes at about 1/16th the normal flow rate. If there’s 44 houses per block, and you lord over 4 square blocks, and each house pays you $8.99 (according to the American Marketing Association, pricing is most effective when rounded down to the hundredth of a dollar, a.k.a. “penny,” which you can now rename “surlap” or whatever crazy word you want because you’re the de facto Mayor), this provides you with about $2,657.72 of revenue per day once you back out the gas bill (somebody has to pay it), enough to buy a top hat suitable to wear at a jaunty angle like the crazed governors who control the barren landscapes of various apocalyptic full-length feature films.
How great would that be?
The biggest risk lies not in getting caught, but rather your storytelling ability. Explaining why you’re on someone’s property, especially when it likely involves burying yourself deep in the surrounding foliage, is dangerous business. But like all good speeches and/or PowerPoint presentations, if you look like you know what you’re doing, if you speak with an air of glaring confidence that conveys a penchant for physical altercations and an eager willingness to challenge the listener’s entire belief system to the point they readily question the existence of their soul, it’s fairly easy to pull off.
“Oh, my neighbor said Amazon left her package here,” spoken as a threat, with a big smile, icy glare and requisite matter-of-factness, works wonders. In fact, the weirder the explanation, the better, as long as you avoid keywords that rhyme with misdemeanors and/or felonies. “I’m on your property because” or “I’m here because” scream malfeasance and will likely result in the homeowner reaching into their flowered robe for their switchblade, dog, automatic weapon, or (if you’re lucky) phone with which to call the authorities.
Oh, you’re likely committing a misdemeanor.
But according to the International Association of Defense Council, there’s a very thin line between hijinks and misdemeanors, so you should be good. To clarify intentions and how your future court case will play out, as well as provide an intellectual understanding of how to navigate our legal system, think if it like this: You’re not walking around shutting off people’s gas mains in an effort to commit domestic terrorism or cause any suffering. You’re just looking to do some hijinks, which are victimless crimes judges sometimes confuse with misdemeanors. According to the IADC.
This is all beside the point. The sad truth is the percentage chance of any confrontation as a result of getting caught rummaging around your neighbors’ azaleas falls below 3%, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics and The National Gardening Association. Which is the same percentage of people that pay attention to your speech/PowerPoint presentation despite how much you fret over it, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
Both are direct results of the human condition known as Not Reacting to Things That Are Boring, according to The American Psychological Association.
People just don’t like boring stuff. And they don’t like doing work. They like to just sit there, mouth breathe, and move as little as possible. Apple Inc. is actually working on an iPhone that levitates in front of your face off a magnet you wear on your forehead. The heat from a concentrated stare at a given app operates said app (eyes are very hot, according to the American Optometric Association they emanate up to 23% of our body heat).
Originally Apple’s plan was to have this floating phone operate off puffs of breath aimed at the screen through pursed lips, but focus group testing showed users just ended up making out while reporting that puffing sounded like TOO MUCH WORK TO OPERATE A PHONE, according to The American Statistical Association.
Unbelievable. So you’ve got nothing to worry about. To the average bear, the fact that you’re fussing with the gas main garners virtually no interest. Window? Interesting because it’s potentially a criminal act, and according to National Association of Realtors® people’s fear of declining home values secondary to crime is the number one reason they stand up to look outside. But a gas main? Boring.
Herein lies your opportunity for hijinks, public office, and a steady revenue stream. What are you waiting for?