Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Case of Mayor Bob's Oddly Green Colon

I unashamedly admit that I used to be a hardcore fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the one with Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean Luc Piccard, with Data, Troy, LeForge, Riker, and Worf. In one episode, a god-like character named “Q” takes the Enterprise and her crew to the beginning of life, that period of time where cells came alive and divided, giving them a glimpse into the primordial soup that eventually ended up as humans.

I have heard the term “going postal,” or the more up to date term “going educational,” since it first exploded (pardon the pun) into pop culture. Last week, though “Q” didn’t pay me a visit, I believe I got a glimpse into how such wildly violent episodes begin. Let me set the stage:

We had just returned from Virginia from two funerals (Myra’s grandparents). Just before our departure, I put our van in for an oil change…let’s be clear—an oil change. One alternator, two pinched belts and $520 later, we got our van back. While the van was in for its, ahem, oil change, I leaned against the kitchen counter wondering what else could go wrong. Looking up, I got my answer.

Let me be brief: one attic heating and air system, two malfunctioning overflow pans, five gallons of water through a wall and two ceilings in four rooms. Need I say more?

Let’s see, oh yeah, Nikki got sick and puked on my legs.

I also got word that a friend and Citadel classmate had inoperable cancer and was not expected to live through the week. (He died Sunday).

Then I walked out of my house and sitting on my trash roll cart was a fluorescent green tag. I, according to my city’s zoning police, had put my trash cart out too early. I am subject to a $500 fine and confiscation of my roll cart and would have to pay $75 to get it back.

My fair city has a $28 million budget shortfall. It has had three incompetent city managers in five years. It has had one incompetent police chief (who got promoted to city manager) and another chief who disobeyed his own procedural rules and left under fire. It has not closed its financial books in the past three years, does not know how much money it actually has or owes, has paid some of its bills twice and some never. For three years, we gave more than $300,000 to a music festival that never made one penny’s profit. Our state police staged a raid and seized our own water plant for forging records on water purity.

And yet my too early roll cart is the biggest problem it has for the present.

Alexey, my 11-year-old son, asked me the other day what I would change about my growing up if I could. I told him I was always an appeaser and I wish I would have learned a lot earlier in my life to tell people who pissed me off to go to hell.

It may have taken me longer than most, but that’s the message I left my mayor on his answering machine right after I told him where he could shove his little green sticker. I left him my name and address in case he wanted to discuss it. Mr. Emerson had it right when he said, “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.”

Beam me up, Scotty. There is no intelligent life in city hall.


  1. Oooh, Sam. I got mad just reading about your fine! No warning? Nothing?

    (happy and content in Villa Rica)

  2. Sam...Ah, yes, gives a whole new meaning to "going green!"

    Things will get better.

    Or...they won't!


  3. So sorry. We have the roll carts- but I'm not sure about the time limits...

    Luckily, my street is tucked in the way back, where the neighborhood inspection committee never visits!