Like fish, houseguests start to go bad after 72 hours. Unless you're the Andersons.
It's the off-season for houseguests. Summer vacation is over, winter holidays are still to come. It's a good time to assess our perform-ance and build for the future. Toward that end, I want to rent out my friends the Andersons. Anderson is not their real name. I'm using a fake name because I don't want them to get swelled heads, even though there isn't much chance of that because the Andersons, I suspect, are not human.

I surmise they're not human because at the end of their weeklong stay with us last summer, I liked them even more than I did before they arrived.

Consider: An entire family, four people, which outnumbers my family (three people), stayed in our home for an entire week and not only did no one strangle each other, not only did no one even want to, but when the week was over, we all actually wished it could continue.

That, as anyone who has been either a guest or a host knows, is miraculous.

Houseguest ranks up there with Congress, teenagers, and taxes as among the scariest words in the English language. Generally speaking, a story with any of those words as its focus is destined to end badly.

So, how did the Andersons do it? I'm not sure, which is why I want to rent them out. They could give lessons to others. They'd be houseguest consultants.

Houseguests come in all forms, but they typically appear as a type of evil space alien. They invade, suck the life out of you, then leave. The difference is, you get to kill space aliens.

Some houseguests plunk their butts on your couch all day, waiting for you to entertain them, even while they can't decide what they want to do (Museum? Swimming? Go back home!!??), then eat everything in your fridge, complain that the soda isn't the kind they like, watch TV while you clean up, and in the morning say, "You got another towel? I used this one yesterday."