The Dude Abides – 2007 redux

August 10, 2007

As soon as I saw this article from the Joplin Globe (which I read every morning, and you should too) I knew I wanted to party with his guy.

Neighbors petition city to prohibit car dwellers


Please read the entire article.  It’s worth it.

In the meantime, here are a few highlights:

PITTSBURG, Kan. — Neighbors say they are fed up with a man who has been living in a parked car in his back yard for at least seven years, and who they say is disturbing the peace with loud music and obscenity-laced tirades.Graham said he and his wife have “been having troubles” since 1999, and that he’s been out of the house since about 2000. His wife still lives in the residence. The Globe’s efforts to obtain comment from her were unsuccessful.

“She’s not going to support me not having a job and bumming around,” he said. “I’m trying my best to get a job and get up out of this rut.”

Graham acknowledged that he watches TV, listens to music and at times sleeps in the vehicle year-round, but he stopped short of saying he lives in it.

“I’m living anywhere I’m at,” he said, pointing to the chair in which he was sitting outside the home. “I’m living right here, right now.”

The car, a blue, 1989 Buick Century, is parked on a concrete slab in the back yard of Graham’s property. A large, blue tarp covers about three-quarters of the vehicle, including the back window and license plate. The tarp is secured with bricks and cinder blocks.

An extension cord runs from the house to the car, providing power for a 13-inch TV that rests in the passenger seat, an oscillating fan and a radio.

“I get better reception there than I do in there,” he said, pointing at the house. “I listen to Rush (Limbaugh) every day just about.”

Sanders said one of the worst incidents she’s had with Graham occurred shortly after her son-in-law came home from Iraq in mid-June.

“I walked out there, and (the smell) was terrible,” she said. “Then Ronnie came out the back door and said, ‘It smells just like back in Baghdad.’ He said he’d been on detail where they have to burn excrement and said that was exactly what it smells like.”

Graham said the allegation that he urinates and defecates in the yard is “a crock.”

“No, I go elsewhere,” he said. “I don’t expose myself to people.”

“I run up and use the gas-station bathroom,” he said.

As for bathing, Graham said he takes occasional showers at a friend’s house and at the Wesley House church in Pittsburg. He said he also makes use of a garden hose to keep clean.

“He sings. His music is loud,” Sanders said. “I’ll never listen to Moody Blues’ ‘Nights in White Satin’ again the same. You ought to hear him when he gets wrapped up in the Beatles.”

Graham said he read about the neighbors’ complaints on a community message board on the Internet, and that a lot of the accusations are “overblown.”

“I read some of that stuff and wanted to bust out laughing, but you’ve got to be quiet in the library,” he said.


  1. “I listen to Rush Limbaugh every day just about.”

    Rush should let him come live with him, and share the back pills.

  2. Right now I’m getting ready to climb into a far less nice car than this gentleman’s and ride about seven hours into the north of Nepal. I’m thinking about that fan and television. Except for the Limbaugh part, he sounds alright by me.


  3. “Nights in White Satin.” The dude abides, indeed.

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