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My Little Town
Information Avenue Premium - Issue #149 - August 25, 2006

"Hanging out shirts in the dirty breeze
And after it rains there's a rainbow
And all of the colors are black,
It's not that the colors aren't there
It's just imagination they lack.
Everything's the same back in my little town."

Lyrics from "My Little Town" by Paul Simon

The Calendar

I don't know if My Little Town lacks imagination or not, but politically correct, it ain't. Not anymore. I went to the mailbox today (you know one of the rural mailboxes that sits about two hundred feet from the house and hugs the road) and pulled out our annual City School Calendar 2006-2007.

Now, I want to be the first to tell you that our schools are always broke; always in desperate need of money. There's always a some kind of levy on the ballot. And, most all of them fail. Not my fault though. I always vote for the levies. But most people apparently don't, so I guess that is why our schools are nearly insolvent (or so they say). Or one of the reasons. Maybe another reason is that the people that run our schools spend too much money. A thought for another day.

BScenes from My Little Townut, man oh man, they wasted no expense on this year's school calendar, I'll tell you. I wish you could see it. It's gorgeous! Each month features a painting by a student at one of our city schools. Some of these kids are downright good! Imagine that! Our schools, on wobbly financial legs, still churning out talented kids. Or maybe the kids are talented in spite of the schools.

Anyway, I got to thinking. I don't have any kids in our city schools anymore, so why am I getting a school calendar (gorgeous though it is)? I haven't had any kids in school since 1999 (no, no, nothing like that, my kids are alive and well - doing fine too, thank you!) but I've been getting one of these school calendars every year anyway.

This has me wondering why the schools, so woefully short on money, send me these calendars every year. I'm sure it's nice they're having fish sticks for lunch next Friday and toasted cheese sandwiches next Tuesday; but, alas, I have no lunch tokens and I'm not likely to be eating at any of our fine schools anytime in the near future anyway.

But getting back to the calendar: I want you to know that I'm not the least bit ungrateful, but it does seem like a waste of money to me. But, maybe I don't know enough about how schools work.

I took a look at the address label on the City School Calendar an it says: (My Little Town) Resident. This means that every one of My Little Town's households got one of these beautiful City School Calendars 2006-2007. Whether or not they have any need for one everybody gets one, whether they have kids in My Little Town's schools or not. Fancy that!

A little aside: My Little Town has around 16,000 people. OK if your fussy, 16,238. There are 6,377 households in My Little Town. Each one got a calendar. Figure it out. That's a lot of money. But it sure is a nice calendar.

I have digressed (as usual) but I digress no more. Serendipity prevails! Because of the My Little Town School Calendar (2006-2007), I have been immensely enlightened. It appears that My Little Town's staid school board, once a bastion of political correctness, has inexplicably and suddenly turned their collective backs on the liberal cool-speak crowd and have jointly decided to run amok. Oh yes they have.

Why do I say they've run amok, you ask? Are you ready for this? Sitting down, are you?

I flip open this lovely calendar to December 2006 and peer down expecting to see yet another year of politically correct verbiage imprinted thereon. Well to put it simply: I expected to see "Winter Break" printed across the last two weeks of December. I expected it again this year because it's been "Winter Break" since being politically correct became equivalent to being intellectual (smart, you know) and "in the loop". I'm not "in the loop" myself but my friend in Georgia keeps me up on things.

Getting back to the calendar (and the point) the calendar says (and I swear to you this is true) "Christmas Holiday Begins - December 21 through January 1" . I nearly faint. I grab a bottle of cold water (can't drink the tap water in My Little Town - and I'll get to that later) and take a long pull. For a few moments I am sure I'm hallucinating.

I go back and look again and astonished I read: "Christmas Holiday - December 21 through January 1". I can't believe my eyes. I am staggering around my kitchen dumbfounded. My Little Town's erudite school board is actually calling it "Christmas Holiday." That's what it says. I am still in a state of shock over this.

The wise ones have proclaimed it "Christmas Holiday" this year and I will bet you that this will cause our some trouble down the road; especially as we approach Christmas. Why, the cool-speak crowd will be swarming over the school board like flies on a manure field. This means that My Little Town might make the national news for daring to insult those who don't believe in Christmas. You know who I mean - the "happy holidays/winter break" crowd. I eagerly look forward to see what transpires. I bet the cool-speakers and political correctness advocates are holding meetings, burning our school board members in effigy and planning their late-autumn assault on Christmas in My Little Town. And it's only August!

Just goes to show you. We don't have much to do here in My Little Town and I'm always up for some good entertainment. Sometime it's hard to find many exciting thing going on here in My Little Town. They'll be exciting things aplenty come this November and December I'll betcha!

I don't think our wonderful school board thought this one over very well. One would think they are busy enough trying to squeeze blood from turnips and designing calendars without adding the extra burden of dealing with all those who think of Christmas as an insult and are doing all they can to make "Merry Christmas!" go the way of the drive-in movie and the malt shop.

Now, don't you write me a bunch of letters thinking I'm against Christmas. I'm NOT!  I was just funnin' around with you. I think it's great that My Little Town went back to calling it "Christmas Holiday" but I just see a big hullabaloo coming. And many problems for My Little Town as Christmas approaches.

Now, we wait in suspense to see if the mayor and her cronies are going to bring back the downtown manger scene this year.

Always lots of stuff going on here in My Little Town. And we have pretty calendars.

Brown Water Week

We had brown water for about a week in My Little Town. It happened in July. The same month I got a water bill for $172.37. It was one of those estimated bills I get. Water in My Little Town is very expensive. But not $172.37/month expensive. Normally it's around $50.00 a month that I can't drink but I can use it shower, shave and wash clothes. Also, I could use it wash my truck but never do. (NO I don't have a coon dog and there's no shotgun mounted in the back window.)

Anyway, the water department sent me a bill in July for $172.37 (estimated). Since my bill is normally around $50.00 I figured they were estimating I had purchased three or four elephants and was planning on bathing them often. Whatever. Then come to find out, they admitted a simple "accounting" error caused the astronomical increase in the water bills and everyone in town was in the same boat. They assured us that the bill would be "adjusted" the following month. Well, I figured the water department was in cahoots with the school board and my water dollars were helping fund those really nice calendars. But, the following month I got a bill for thirty-four cents. It cost them about that much to mail it. But no one ever said governments are supposed to make sense. But anyway, how's that for an adjustment? It sounds nice - but I still figure they got me for about seventy-two bucks over two month's time. I guess that pays for the calendar

Anyway, about the time the $172.37 water bill came, the water coming out of the faucets was very brown. I don't mean just a little brown. I mean really brown. And, if you don't mind a little realism: the water was so brown,  in fact, that you could flush the toilet and it didn't matter. The water looked "used" anyway.

You might think I'm joking, but I'm not.

About three days into the brown water week (that's what I call it now) the newspaper here. in My Little Town, finally caught up with the superintendent of the water department. Now, don't get me started on that. I have no idea why it took three days to track down the head of the water department. I could venture a guess, but I'm not going to. You'll have to use your imaginations. What would you do if you were the head of the water department in a town where the water had turned disgustingly brown and you had no clue as to why?

Now you're all going to think I'm making this up, so I wish I would have saved the newspaper clipping to show you, but I swear to you this is true.

My Little Town's tiny newspaper (circulation about 5000 but only 50 actually read it) finally did catch up with the superintendent and interviewed him. The article featured a picture of two glasses of water: One was bottled water (which looked like water, of course) and the other was water take from any old faucet here in My Little Town. It looked like nasty brown something. It sure didn't look like water. Actually it did look like weak coffee. But not that weak. To cut to the quick: When the super was asked if the water was safe to drink, he said, and I quote: "Yes. the water is safe to drink. It passed all the tests for bacteria. BUT I PROBABLY WOULDN'T DRINK IT." How comforting. I wanted to run out and drink a gallon.

The superintendent didn't know what caused it either but he said, it happened ten years ago too, as if that was some his excuse. He went on to say that they didn't know what caused it then either.

OK, so we don't have a clue why we get brown water weeks here in My Little Town. It just makes life more interesting. Every day is an adventure here in My Little Town!

The water finally cleared up. But I still don't drink the water here in My Little Town. It simply tastes awful. If you want to taste it, let me know. I'm warning you right now that I would question your sanity if you asked me for sample. I'd be afraid to send one to you, thinking you were a little loony. I might have to lock my doors at night!

Oh, and one more thing while we're discussing the water in My Little Town:

Every three months I receive a government-mandated report on the quality of our water here. And every report for the last year or two says the water is safe to drink - if you're not too young or too old. If you're too young or too old then you "probably shouldn't drink it" (those are their words not mine) because it has too much of a certain toxin in it. I can't remember the name of the chemical. But it has a long, unpronounceable name. I'd put the name of it here for you but the last water report came in June and I don't have it anymore. Next time I get one I'll save it.

I'm not too young or too old (yet) to drink it, but I find no comfort in those warnings. If it's not good for infants or senior citizens, it's probably not too good for me either. Now you're beginning to see how things go in My Little Town.

Ain't it great?

Check Out Our New...

We have a thing I've been noticing of late in My Little Town. Everyone in the retail business seems suddenly enamored with the phrase "Check out our new....".

For instance: a local restaurant has a sign out front that says: "Check out our new chicken sandwich!". It's an epidemic.

Yesterday, when I was taking a walk, I noticed that the jewelry store downtown has a sign in the window which says "Check out our new line of jewelry". And the deli down the street from there has a sign that says "Check out our new selection of deli meats". It seems everyone is doing the "check out our new...." thing.

And, this, for some reason, really irritates me.

Today I'm going to take another walk. When I pass by the jewelry store I'm going to walk in and say: "I want to check out your new line of jewelry". When the clerk asks me which piece I want to check out, I'm going to say: "I want to do like your sign says and check out the whole line". I can already see the look on the clerk's face. But, what I really want to see is the look on her face when I ask her how long I can check them out for. You know: a week? two weeks? Sort of like the library. I want to check out that new line of jewelry and then take them back like library books. I really just want to see what she says.

Next I'll walk to the restaurant that's been begging me to "check out their new chicken sandwich" and see how long they'll let me check one out for:

"Hello, Ellen (I see her name on her little name tag, of course). "I want to check out your new chicken sandwich!"

"Would you like to order one, sir?"

"No, actually I wanted to check one out. How long can I keep it?"

Someday, you'll have to come and "check out" My Little Town.

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