I have a friend, “Melvin,” who used to be my neighbor. Melvin lost both parents by 13 and was raised in a situation where an uncle sexually assaulted him. He doesn’t work, he doesn’t drive, and he manages to supplement his disability income with “under the table” work, which he’s never told me what that is, and I don’t ask, although I have suspicions. He also supplements it by using people around him. I am one of those people. I drive him to the store, have paid for his groceries, buy him dinner when we go out, and give him advice when he asks for it on how to better manage his credit and finances. I watch him spend money he doesn’t have on things he doesn’t need in his obsession of trying to one-up people around him. He has a dog, “Pumpkin,” that he set some social media pages up for and has a sizable following. He’s rented a P.O. box where followers send him money and gifts. This bothered me, but I figured it’s not my business.
What bothered me was when he set up a GoFundMe. The last time Pumpkin was at the vet, he found she had a cyst and a cracked tooth. He couldn’t afford to take care of it and called me to see if he could squeeze money out of me. I didn’t take the bait. I felt bad, but I knew I’d made the right decision. After the surgery, he posted on his dog’s page, “Thanks for donating, now we know who our friends are.” I was so offended by this, mostly because he absolutely had the cash to fund his dog’s procedures himself. He just chose to spend it on his champagne lifestyle instead. Another neighbor recently blocked him because of her version of everything I’ve mentioned. I came to the realization that if she isn’t putting up with it anymore, why am I? How do I extricate myself from this situation with some grace? Melvin hasn’t contacted me in several weeks, but I’m trying to prepare for when he does.