Monday, February 1, 2016

Find Pierre an Apartment

Many of you may know my friend Pierre - biochemist, homebrewer, web designer, photographer, and knower-of-all-things. Pierre's suddenly being asked to move out of his long-time rental, and needs reasonable housing come springtime. He's in NYC, but willing to relocate if necessary. His current apartment has been rent-controlled for years at $1000. That nice run of luck just ran out.

Pierre's a great, super-helpful guy - he was Chowhound's technical advisor, and has helped on most of my other endeavors. He translates novels from Swedish into Esperanto. And he's an awesome ally (like I said, he knows having Pierre as a guy you can text questions to is akin to a genie wish). Would you consider running this query (or reposting it) through your own social networks? Pierre's super reliable; would be a dream tenant for any landlord (or roommate share).

I'm posting below, for the first time ever on the Internet, my famous Cat Dander Story, which illustrates the miraculous power of Pierre (feel free to include it in your repost, if you do agree to spread word of this to your network).

The Cat Dander Story

It was 1992, and I'd just moved into a new apartment. Tons of boxes sat in a pile, and I, alas, couldn't breathe. Though this was a pet-free building, it turned out that the previous tenants had multiple cats, and I'm very allergic. Like asthmatic-allergic. Like "can't breathe" allergic." I bought a HEPA vacuum cleaner, but it didn't help. I mopped (with a dust mask on). Nothing. I couldn't live in my own apartment for more than 15 minutes - at least not while breathing.

Naturally, I call Pierre, who knows everything. Pierre thought for a moment, then said:
"I seem to recall a molecule...."
This, believe it or not, is not an unusual way for Pierre to begin a sentence.
"....that should probably neutralize the protein in the dander that's causing the problem. It should be present in laundry detergent enzyme. You need to go to the store, and look for little bottles of enzyme additive. And mop the floors with it."
I went to a number of supermarkets, finally finding little yellow bottles from Switzerland claiming to be enzymatic laundry additive. I bought five of them. I added them to water. I mopped. And my apartment was fine. Crisp, spring day fine. Breathe deep and don't even cough fine. Problem solved. Like it was nothing.

There was a toll-free number on the enzyme bottle for consumer comments. I called and told the operator my story. She listened patiently, then asked:
"Sir, do I understand correctly that you've used our product to mop your apartment?"
"Yes, that's right," I replied.
"Sir, that is not a recommended use of our product."

If you'd like to borrow Pierre for yourself, all you need to do is find him an apartment! Feel free to email me at

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