Rockland Gothic

The insurance business

By David Grima | Oct 24, 2019

It was only with great difficulty that I was able to persuade Lord Prez Trumpleton not to hold his “Open Cabinet Meeting” in his bathroom, Monday.

I am not sure where all the press would have stood, as he only has a modest bathroom.

He has these open cabinet meetings at time of great stress and personal anguish, to reassure the world that he is still in charge of things, more or less, and that he is still up for the job. As we all know, the old boy has really been through the wringer, lately.

Ordering US troops to abandon their base in Syria was quite a surprise, for example, especially to the military who later had to drop bombs on their own base so as to deprive the bad guys of its shelter and comfort. Hands up if the general panic caused by our abrupt evacuation did not remind you of the final retreat from Saigon?

Here’s the trouble: Lord Trumpleton frequently causes problems that he then tries to solve, often by making things worse, and it makes him mad when people point that out in the press. I have tried to reason with him, but he said that refusing the professional advice of lower persons is the price he has to pay for being such a genius.

* * * * *

That spell of bad weather last week sure did a number on a lot of people, didn’t it?

Did you see how most of the photos of broken trees that were on the Village Stew website were taken by the Village Stew weatherman’s mother? I suspect an in-house conspiracy there.

However at least one person known personally to me survived what could have been a catastrophe during the wind and rain, when a large branch fell in his yard in Rockland and completely failed to hit anything.

It’s really a double blessing. Not only did the branch not hit his house or his car, but now it never will.

* * * * *

I heard the other day that although Port Clyde has a firehouse, there are no volunteer firefighters living anywhere nearby who can use it. The entire town fire department is down to about 25 volunteers, I was told, where once it had as many as 45.

Not that St. George is the only one.

* * * * *

I was told by an informed source that cruise ship companies have been buying real estate in Bar Harbor. I suspect this is one of the terrors that haunts the people in Rockland, who also fear great ships.

* * * * *

Speaking of government, according to one of my books of wisdom, the English philosopher Herbert Spencer wrote about American political life, saying that a republican government is indeed the best form of government, but that if it going to work properly it also needs the best form of human nature, adding that this is “a type nowhere at present existing.”

What a pity.

* * * * *

There were very few fruit flies this summer in my cardboard refrigerator box, on top of the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live. Perhaps the flies were all visiting Uncle Ed in Cushing, as he said he had swarms of the things.

* * * * *

About a month ago, a gentleman reported seeing the general manager of the Samoset Resort dressed in jeans and plaid shirt at work, which if you knew the fellow you would realize is very unusual. He is normally quite a dapper chap.

The gentleman inquired about this apparent lapse in dress code, and was advised that the general manager was just about to begin stripping beds in the rooms recently vacated by his guests.

The reason he was doing such hum-drum work himself is that the Samo, like many other places these past few years, has been chronically short of help, especially in the housekeeping department.

* * * * *

Last I counted, there were about 16 scarecrows set up along Main Street.

Somebody was complaining the other day that he keeps braking for them, mistaking them for pedestrians trying to cross the street.

As long as he does not mistake a pedestrian crossing the street for a scarecrow, it will not turn out too badly.

* * * * *

What do you think about efforts by disgruntled citizens to overturn the law that disallowed parents from being able to refuse to have their kids vaccinated, on religious grounds?

This has nothing to do with vaccinations being administered on church property, of course. It means that some parents appear to believe sincerely that God does not want their children to be vaccinated, and they are trying to cancel that law that says they have no choice.

How they can be so sure about God and vaccinations is quite beyond me.

It often seems to me that some people are as certain about what God wants as my dear friend Lord Trumpleton is sure that he is a genius.

Where do people get these ideas?

* * * * *

I received a tip the other day, to the effect that the army is working on building unmanned robotic tanks.

Just how that sort of thing comes up in general conversation is quite puzzling, but it certainly did. And it might be true.

* * * * *

Speaking of scarecrows, I hear that a secret enclave of do-gooders is trying to organize a winter festival in Rockland, for some time around the middle of February.

* * * * *

I recently met a woman from St. George (that town again) who says she operates an electric jackhammer in her spare time. I was even shown photographs.

* * * * *

Rockland Harbor looked a little like the aftermath of a great naval battle, following the storm. I hear that eight or nine boats were awash or outright sunk.

This sort of thing used to be known in the insurance business as an Act of God, and I wonder if such a description might possibly be on a par with what will eventually happen when large numbers of children are no longer being vaccinated against diseases that once used to make childhood a very risky business.

No, that will be no Act of God. It will be the consequence of some rather silly parents turning their backs on the genuine blessings of modern preventative medicine and public health. And who will comfort them when their children lie in their arms, suffering greatly?

It makes me think, unhappily, of these lines from the second chapter of Matthew, slightly amended for purposes of rhetoric and geography:

“A voice was heard in Rockland, lamentation and weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she would not be comforted, because they are no more.”

David Grima is a former editor with Courier Publications. He can be reached at

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Comments (2)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Oct 28, 2019 13:35

Good write and food for thought.  Your tongue in cheek words reverberate truth. Keep on writing and perhaps those intended will read and reflect....

Mary "Mickey"  (Brown) McKeever   ...  :0)  .....

Posted by: Alan F Spear | Oct 25, 2019 10:26

Hi David,

Your e-mail does not work -- I'd like to send you a little story.


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