Saving teddy

By David Grima | Sep 14, 2017

The Curious-Gazette recently published an image of a mass of strange flying beasts buzzing in the air over Buttermilk Lane. The caption writer, ever eager to present all that was known on the subject, referred to the creatures as “something,” and abandoned the attempt to be more specific.

I can now reveal that these were in fact vampire bats, returning to Knox County after an extended vacation, in order to acclimatize themselves for the annual festivities at Halloween in the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live.

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Now a word from our far-flung correspondent, in connection to this column’s item last week about a new crosswalk on Tillson Avenue.

“Mr. Limerock thanks you for the mention. It should also be noted that while out walking the dog early one morning last week, Mr. Limerock encountered eager cub reporter Stephen "Scoop" Betts on Tillson, who was some disappointed that less surrealist heads in city government had intervened to paint over the state’s longest crosswalk. Literally a government cover-up. I suggest we start referring to Cross-Walkergate.”

So! Yet another government scandal is exposed for the travesty it is, etc.!

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Then there is the mystery of what exactly happened to the picnic table near the Wass’s hotdog stand at the foot of North Main Street.

My occasionally reliable source says the table was taken away by government representatives, but was promised to be returned.

What is going on in Rockland? What do these ghastly incidents signify?

* * * * *

On the seventh of this month I observed the aftermath of a great tragedy, here on these mean city streets.

Driving back to my place of alleged employment along the road near the Claws lobstery in the North End, I saw a dreadful sight that lunchtime. A child’s teddy bear was lying face-down on the roadway, and it wasn’t moving.

I would have stopped to offer CPR if it had at all been possible, but the press of traffic behind me was too great for such an act of tender mercy to have been possible without the creation of a vaster tragedy in the form of a vehicle pileup.

But the facts were all too clear in my head. A small child occupying the rear seat of the family wagon, here on vacation, had decided to see if teddy bears could fly, and had flung the poor thing out of the window.

To this small person’s certain horror, the teddy bear had not flown, nor had it got up off the road and run after the quickly disappearing car. The child now faced a brutal but character-forming moment in its small life.

Does the infant immediately cry out and attract adult attention, incurring adult wrath, but possibly also saving teddy? Or does it simply shut up and bear the misery and sorrow internally, betraying nothing, not even a small tear in the eye?

It is a direct result of such childhood traumas as this that some children grow up to be perfectly normal human beings who contribute much to our common life, while others turn out to be neurotic specimens who cause widespread mayhem and despair wherever they go.

The only problem with this otherwise brilliant piece of analysis is that I cannot be sure which action causes which outcome.

Does the child save the teddy but become a raging monster as a result, possibly entering politics, rising to high office, and causing the downfall of great empires and so forth; or does the difficult decision to accept the consequences but save the bear lead to a lifetime of sane and balanced actions, and great compassion for humankind?

Or is it the child who hardens its heart and leaves teddy to his fate who causes the aforementioned horrors; or does this harsh decision taken so early in life lead to a sane and balanced adulthood in which tough decisions can be safely faced without loss of dignity?

I think I will need to find a way to delicately raise this subject with my friend Lord Prez Trumpleton when he is next in town, and calculate my deductions backwards based on such facts as emerge.

Did little Lord Trumpleton ever own a teddy bear?

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It is now becoming quite obvious that road construction in Thomaston will continue well into the second half of the century.

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Speaking of questions of sanity or otherwise, as of the eighth of this month, not a soul had expressed interest in seeking election to City Council or to our illustrious School Board.

Could this be the hopeful sign the people have been looking for so anxiously these past few years? That nobody is cross enough to want to run for election to fix something? That nothing is wrong anymore? Have we achieved a sweet equilibrium in which all is well and needs no further adjustment?

Questions, questions; many questions this week.

* * * * *

Just back from a little trip to North Conway in New Hampshire, a state just over our western border. There I found yet again that half the trinkets and goodies for sale in the local tourist stores were made right here in Maine.

Imagine if our trinkets turned out to have all been made in New Hampshire, and you will get some idea what I mean.

Also spotted during this little sojourn out of state was an official government roadside sign saying “New Hampshire: A Land of Many Uses.” I can just imagine how that brilliant piece of bureaucratic prose was dreamed up.

A governor’s blue-ribbon commission is appointed to brand New Hampshire as a forward-pushing and vibrant place to visit, and so the various factions in the state gather to make their case for a suitable slogan. (After all, “Live Free or Die” does seem a bit extreme.)

First the state’s seven lobstermen argue for highlighting the 19 lobster caught there the previous year. Then the state’s hikers made a case for showcasing the White Mountains in summer, while the skiers say that winter should be focused on. And so on and on, until all the state’s many constituencies have had their say.

In the end, the commission compromises, and settles with fading optimism upon “New Hampshire: A Land of Many Uses.”

But let us not condescend too much to our Western Brothers and Sisters. Here, we would probably end up with something catchy like “Maine: Plenty of Places and Some Stuff Here.”

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