There comes a time in a man's life when he doesn't want to live on a noisy street with creepy neighbors who he has never seen in four years except for the time a drunk driver launched a car into his front yard. A time when a person doesn't want to live next to an idiot who leaves for work on his dirtbike at 3am. A time when just for once you'd like to be able to run next door to borrow a cup of sugar without having to fear that the sugar was masturbated near. It's starting to feel like that time, around this place.
The following is a list of qualities I think an ideal town would have. If your town has three or more of these qualities, please write the zip code of the town on an index card and mail it to: Chris Onstad, PO Box 7182, San Carlos, CA 94070. I will put the card into a spinny wire-type lottery cage, and then immediately move to the town I randomly select. (Card to be picked on November 1, 2005)
1. A free school, K-12, founded by wealthy Internet luminaries who stress the importance of never playing rap music around one's father.
2. A wooden store with a small happy man who sells handmade cheeses and cured meats. He usually has a bottle of Sambuca open to enjoy with the meats, and when your wife isn't looking he winks and uses that fine Italian hand to suggest that you take one more nip while he shows her the latest pictures of his grandchildren.
3. A post office clerk who is constantly dropping the "F-bomb." Extra consideration if the clerk has a metal plate in his head from a gun accident. Extra-extra consideration if the clerk's nametag reads "Johnny Fuck."
4. An overzealous Truant Officer who is routinely outwitted by a small boy and his Bull Terrier (black ring drawn around its eye).
5. A town festival every Friday wherein fresh cold beer, hot baked potatoes with salt and butter, and grilled sausages are offered free-of-charge (paid for by the Police). A man performs amplified skiffle on a small platform while a dunk tank featuring local stray dogs raises money for the Police. (see John Rawls' "Consider An Economy Such As This," 1973, Harvard Press.)
6. If a person has a faded inkjet printout of a passage of Scripture taped up in the rear window of their car, the town agrees that sufficiently addled citizens, when found placing refrigerator items (e.g. lunchmeats, spoiled novelty mustards) over the Scripture, will not be subjected to punishment or even scrutiny.
7. "I Don't Want Your Soap." A free small vinyl sticker that applies to one's front door, at eye level, which indicates involvement in a community program that forbids high school-age kids from selling detergent products door-to-door as a means of raising funds for "college scholarship." Everyone knows that the kid just gets into a white pickup truck at the end of the block and lights up a Marlboro.
8. Old Folks-Based Racism! Or, actually, the absence of that sort of thing. The other day in our grocery store a salty old Sinatra-era bluehair said some really nasty stuff to some Polynesian kids who were playing around in their mom's shopping cart, and there was a big to-do involving the store manager taking away the lady's free sample of Meatless Meatballs and escorting her to the door. The whole thing just seemed unnecessary, if you ask me. The ideal town would not have Old Folks-Based Racism.