The true-life nightmare suffered by Joel and Bonnie Samberg as they sold one house in New Jersey and tried to buy another in Connecticut.
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I Would Rather Have Root Canal
I Would Rather Have Root Canal
As author Joel Samberg likes to say, if he had a dollar for every single time someone told him he should write a book about his recent experience selling his house in New Jersey and buying another one in Connecticut, he would have enough money to run for any political office, including President of the United States. And if he ran and won, his first order of business would be to put every real estate agent, mortgage broker and home inspector in jail. For life. Or longer. They're all criminals anyway.This book, an absolutely-too-bizarre-not-to-be-true account of Joel and his wife Bonnie's real-life odyssey, explains why he was prompted to write it in the first place. Besides, everyone told him he should (including some of the people who were responsible for many of the nightmares). The result is an exercise in catharsis, a laugh-through-the-pain bedtime story, and most of all, a cautionary tale for others who may be thinking about selling one home and buying another.
As a writer I try to avoid clichés like a pandemic. So instead of saying boring and formulaic things like “Everything described in this book really happened” and “Most of the names have been changed to protect the identity of the people involved,” I’ll state it another way: What you are about to read is an entirely accurate if somewhat exceedingly emotional account of my dreadful, unbearable, insufferable, ass-whipping, gut-wrenching experience selling one house in New Jersey and buying another in Connecticut. The names of all the people involved (other than family members and a few friends) were changed in order to avoid having a couple of repulsive morons stalk me, curse me or otherwise make my life as miserable now as it was then.
That’s not to say that everyone who appears in the book whose name has been changed was an awful person. There are a number of them with whom my wife Bonnie and I had no quarrel. There are many we liked quite a bit. But I thought it wise to mask their identities anyway, because even the nice ones don’t always come out too well in these pages, the result, no doubt, of what the inhospitable process of selling one house and buying another can do to one’s memory; the portraits I paint are not always a direct reflection on the overall character of these individuals. To those few nice ones I apologize from the bottom of my emotionally scarred heart. But to all the others, I hope you’re all broke, miserably depressed, and have painful bleeding stomach ulcers that get progressively worse with every day that passes.
There may be some creative license employed in the recreation of specific conversations in the book to emphasize a point here and there, but the subject matter of every conversation is always exactly the same as it was during the actual odyssey, as were the tones, mannerisms, emotions, reactions and outcomes.
If I had a dollar for every time someone told me that I should write a book about what Bonnie and I went through to purchase our house in Avon, CT, I’d have more than enough money to buy a political office. And if I won I would put all real estate agents, mortgage brokers and home inspectors behind bars. For life. Or longer. They’re all criminals, anyway.
At one point while planning this book I debated whether or not to make it a how-to, an instructional guide to selling and buying a house. But ultimately I decided to let the story itself be the lesson. For example, as you’ll see, Bonnie and I were very trusting; we accepted what other people told us without doing any research on our own. So there’s a primary lesson right there: don’t trust what anyone tells you. Assume that what you’re told is a bunch of crap that must be carefully weighed, debated and evaluated. Don’t be as stupid and naive as we were.
And there will be many other messages, hints, tips and warnings that will simply jump out of the pages on their own, without the need for me to highlight, underline or emphasize them in any way. Just read it, weep and learn.
But in addition to weeping and learning, I also want you to laugh, because laughter is the finest antidote to life’s challenges. And since much of the laughter is a result of my recollections about the real-life jackasses who populate this narrative, it will be more than just a fun story, but a damn cathartic one, as well. Many people across the country have horror stories of their own, and it is my hope that this book will be therapeutic for them, to let them know they are not alone. You are not alone! We all know that it’s a stupid process inflamed by stupid people, a process that needs to be changed and then managed by people who actually have brains and consciences. That’s not likely to happen, but at least we’ll have the last laugh by knowing this book is out there putting these people and processes on trial.
“I Would Rather Have Root Canal Once a Week For the Rest of My Life Than Ever Buy a House Again” is for people who recently moved, people who are thinking about moving, people who are glad they’ve never had to move, people who are debating whether or not to move in the near future, people who are looking for a great gift to give to people who have moved or are thinking about moving, family members and friends who were concerned about my mental health at the time this all went down, and everyone who over the course of a year-and-a-half told me that I’d be completely nuts if I didn’t write this book because of all the nightmares Bonnie and I were forced to endure.
I wrote it. I’m not nuts. Quite the contrary, I actually took several decisive steps not just to write it, but to sell as many copies as possible. For example, the selection of an eyebrow-raising title was for the express purpose of generating publicity. I may be stupid and naive, but I’m not, well... stupid. In fact, that decisive step is apparently working simply by virtue of the fact that you’ve gotten this far in the introduction (how many people read introductions?) and plan to finish the whole thing. Would you be as interested in reading every page of this book, including the often snubbed introduction, if it were titled “Misery on Interstate 84”? I don’t think so.
(Incidentally, the Epilogue at the end is just as imperative as the Introduction to get a complete picture. Don’t skip it. But don’t skip ahead, either.)
Speaking of titles, this book originally had a longer name, but I feared it would present technical or merchandising problems down the road. Its original title was “I Would Rather Have Root Canal Every Tuesday, a Colonoscopy Every Thursday, and Get Into a Nasty Fender Bender With Mel Gibson Right in Front of My Temple Every Saturday Than Ever, Ever, Ever Buy a House Again.” The sentiments still ring true, and it is worth noting that I would rather have a root canal every Tuesday and a colonoscopy every Thursday than ever buy a house again. Why? Because the home selling-and-buying ordeal was painful and made me sick, whereas with modern medical technology, root canals and colonoscopies are usually painless and ultimately can lead to better health.
As for the Mel in the original title, it’s true: I really wouldn’t mind getting into a fender bender with him in front of my temple, because that would mean even more publicity for the book. They’d talk about it on “The View,” “The Daily Show,” “Late Night With David Letterman,” “Access Hollywood” and a dozen other shows. They’d write about it in Time, Newsweek, The New York Times and USA Today. The article would go something like this:
“Joel Samberg, a magazine writer and author of a popular book about the trials and tribulations he and his wife experienced while trying to move from one house to another, a book that happens to have the name Mel Gibson in its title, actually got into a fender bender with the beleaguered film star yesterday morning in front of the author’s temple. Gibson, apparently trying to avoid the kind of scandals that have plagued his career in the recent past, offered Samberg an immediate apology and, as a gesture of good will, a chance to join his production company as a screenwriter. He offered Samberg a four-year $1.5 million contract to be on his permanent creative staff. Samberg asked if he’d have to sell his house in order to move to California. Gibson said yes. Samberg said forget it.”