I love living in the country, but since we can’t do that right now the next best thing is a dinky ass town. Dinkytown is just big enough to have anything you might need in a helluva hurry: a hospital, groceries, hardware, auto parts, liquor, feed (for critters), Chinese food that’s actually worth eating, and a handful of restaurants where you’re really rolling your dice. Anything that’s not available in town you can order through a local merchant, or online, or you can drive at least 40 and maybe a hundred miles. It’s my kind of town, being just big enough to have the stuff you need most but not so big that you have unnecessary shit like Wal-Mart, Taco Bell, and Starbucks.
It’d be nice if Dinkytown had a pot shop, but like any other dinky town the majority is backward, hypocritical, and so conservative that most think the Tea Party doesn’t go near far enough.
It’s something I just can’t get my head around, the hypocrisy. Staunch conservatism really doesn’t jive with the rural, agricultural life. The rhetoric of it doesn’t, anyway. Around here, as in much of the West, the land was taken from the Mexicans and Natives and given away for free to the settlers. As families grew, the sons would homestead adjoining land, and large tracts would be under the control of one or a few families. Many of those large tracts have since been consolidated, and they’re running cattle and sheep on them as they always have. Cattle and sheep that feed on local hay (though that’s not enough), and supplemental feeds that are comprised entirely of subsidized crops. The ranchers all get agriculture tax breaks — there are several about who run critters just to get those tax breaks. Now, a guy raising livestock on free land, on feed discounted by US taxpayer dollars as subsidies, catching enormous agricultural tax breaks, in my mind, has no business claiming he’s opposed to welfare.
Don’t even get me started on the way they make money on the government regulated wild game herds. ‘Nuther story, but still more welfare that ain’t called that so is okay for ultra-conservative rural folk. Okay? Hell, it’s their birthright.
Have I mentioned that I’m a bit of a misfit? 😀
This evening Amethyst and I popped in to the convenience store, and the woman who runs the joint (she and her husband own it) somehow thought it relevant to mention that she hasn’t seen any young people coming in to buy the electronic cigarettes, though that’s who the crazies are using as their excuse to oppose them. Silly me. I said that I was really getting sick of all the stuff we’re not doing because we have to think about the children. Hey, I was a child once but I’ve been an adult a helluva lot longer and so will most. So, I can’t have any because we don’t want the children to get it… But what does that make me, when you don’t want me to get it? And the ultra-conservatives claim to be opposed to the (concept of the) nanny state.
So… I opened my mouth. I said something like look at the whole marijuana thing. They don’t want it legal because they don’t want the children to get it, but we didn’t legalize it for them! Besides, the black market pot they’re buying is a helluva lot cheaper than the legal stuff. Then they carry on about all of the detrimental effects we’ve all heard about by now. Yet here where we decriminalized marijuana three decades ago and have relatively high historical usage rates, we are the healthiest state in the nation with the lowest obesity rates, we have one of the bottom five lowest rates of serious mental illness, and the safest city in the nation to drive a car (based upon its being the city with the nation’s lowest automobile insurance rates) is here, too. Not only that, it’s awash in marijuana because it’s a college town. We’ve been trying for nearly 30 years now to force those detrimental effects to happen and we just can’t do it. Maybe we’re not trying hard enough?
“Well”, she said, “we get a lot of police officers in here and they say it leads to harder things”. They actually get all of the police officers. We don’t have that many and there aren’t many other places to go for the food sources best suited to produce rapid growth of the pig belly. That’s what I didn’t say. 🙂
I opened my fool mouth again. We decriminalized cannabis in 1975 and there’s never been any shortage of pot in the state, but we aren’t stacking junkies to the rafters. Besides, the gateway effect myth was debunked years ago. Anyway, you can’t walk into a legal pot shop and get a quarter ounce of weed with a side of crystal meth. But on the streets of Dinkytown, you can.
That kinda ended the conversation. Or maybe that box in her hand really, really had to be broken down and put on the stack before something bad happened. Ultra-conservatives are all for personal freedom as long as you’re doing things they approve of, and pointing out the obvious facts that anyone can see all around them that run counter to their preconceived notions is a thing of which they highly disapprove.
I wasn’t trying to annoy the woman. Hell, I was agreeing with her. People who use scare tactics to impose their morality upon society lose all credibility when the things they’re opposed to don’t go away and the things they tried to scare us with don’t happen. They said that young adults would go nuts over the e-cigs, get hooked on nicotine, and move on to tobacco. Here in Dinkytown, that’s not happening. They haven’t sold even one to a young adult at the convenience store, and despite being the highest volume tobacco retailer in town their tobacco sales are down 20% from the first quarter of last year. So much for the scare tactic’s validity, eh?
I guess I just framed the agreement wrong. I thought I might liven the conversation up a bit but I know now that it was wrong. I should have said, “Wow. Now ain’t that somethin’?” so she could have said, “Yeah…”, and then I should have got the hell out of her store.
I can’t claim to be all that rational, myself, but some stuff is pretty obvious to me. Why on Earth or any other planet an old longhair would want to live in a dinky town in the middle of nowhere, where the only thing he has in common with the locals is the ZIP code, now that just plumb evades me. Maybe some day we’ll pick up and move, and then I can be a misfit in some other way in some other place.
But for now, Dinkytown will do just fine. I like it here, and the natives give me something to chuckle about every damn day.