A message from the foot of Mechanic Street, where he’s forced to live

I think I am about 90% recovered from reading the kindly editorial that recently appeared in The Courier about my weekly newspaper column, Rockland Gothic.

It was appreciated, although one should perhaps always be slightly suspicious of having good things said about one in the press.

I should also like to thank several readers who stopped me in the streets of the Blessed South End since the end of May, to say how much they liked reading all that nonsense I used to write in the paper. I am surprised to find out how much their remarks affected me.

No, I was not fired. Except by myself.

After nine years of writing it every week, I felt there was a faint danger that if I kept writing Gothic too much longer, it might start to become less than utterly enjoyable.

So I stopped while I was still enjoying writing it, which means, of course, that I still miss having a place in the paper to share the oddness of life around here, not to mention keeping both my loyal readers up to date with strange tales of the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live. Of those malicious feathered beasts, The Four Seagulls of the Apocalypse who used to bother me so, the less said the better.

My undying gratitude also goes to former Lord Prez Reginald K. Trumpleton and must be recorded here. He gave me so much stuff to write about, I scarcely know how to thank him enough.

I admit it has been difficult to completely turn off the circuits in my head that were used to gather information for the column. It was a seven-days-a-week process, collecting notes for Gothic. I have a whole drawer stuffed with notebooks, each one riddled with stories, some of them true.

Why, only the other day there was a gentleman whose friends described him to me as a surfer from California, who left his chair at the Keag store in South Thomaston, to take a look at the river flowing under the bridge. His idea was to figure out if there was a powerful enough current to allow him to surf there.

There has been no evidence in the paper, neither reports of an ambulance call nor of an arrest, that seems related to this situation. (I visualize a headline, such as “California man tied to utility pole for own safety say Boy Scouts”.) I can only assume that, if he did it, then he either succeeded or else he was swept out of sight. Or else he didn’t even try.

Feel free to pick the conclusion that suits you best.

Speaking of conclusions, I will end with thanks to the people who used to read Gothic, the people who always meant to read it but never quite got around to it, to my Beloved who copy-edited many of the columns after I labored for hours writing them in squid ink on the backs of old envelopes, and the people who published that stuff for all those years.

David Grima


An open letter to Senator Collins

What happened to abortion rights in Texas, not just the limited access to abortion, but also the the severity of targeting anyone who helps find a solution, is galling. To say nothing of the issues with guns and voting restrictions. But what is just is deplorable (yes, Hillary got it right) is that you, our representative, helped make it happen.

What happened to you?

You must know most of the people you represent do not support these heinous laws. You enabled McConnell to fight dirty, and sadly your votes lump you with Cruz, Johnson, Hawley, Cotton, Jordan, Gaetz, Bobert, Greene and Bobert to name a few. The Susan Collins I twice voted for had integrity and would have not subjected Mainers to these horrendous laws.

Please bring back the old Susan Collins.

Pam Maus

Owls Head

If Darwin’s evolution hypothesis explains the vigor of life, the answer appears as “Yes!”

Charles Darwin suggested evolution results from; first, a stressor in the environment; second, a mutation that overcomes that stressor, and confers selective success in passing that genetic modification; and third, the transformation of a lifeform into another better suited to its environment.

COVID-19 seems likely to repeat this sequence, becoming stronger and thus more dangerous to us, its host. The longer we live with COVID-19, the more opportunity it has to hurt us, in the forms we know it, and to develop new forms even more dangerous. Why?

First, the vaccine promotes resistance to COVID-19, blunting its ability to harm us.

Second, natural development of mutations in the virus seems likely to create variants that overcome resistance, thus enhance its survival. Some variants may also promote its power to infect, enhancing contagion and its effectiveness in replicating itself.

Third, mutation of the virus surviving among impediments created by the vaccination seems likely to enhance its ability to invade and colonize beyond the contagiousness of the original virus.

Accordingly, this chain suggests that stressing the virus with vaccines can promote new, deadlier and more widely disseminated forms of our epidemic.

Not a scientist, I imagine that what this thinking suggests may well contradict reality. But…

If applicable to our confusion about how to conquer COVID-19, vaccination could well prompt new forms of the virus that would not have evolved had we simply lived and died within our pandemic, infected by a virus that was not stimulated into different forms.

If so, vaccinating some of us while others continue to cultivate COVID-19 in greater number, thus also spawning more variants, is likely to enhance the ability of the virus to meet the challenge that vaccinating only some among us creates.

The lesson seems clear: vaccinate everyone, world-wide, as quickly as possible. Or continue to allow some of us to cultivate more powerful variants.

George B. Terrien