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In the Catbird Seat/Joe Kirkish

Archie discusses the past, politics

November 8, 2012
The Daily Mining Gazette

Hi, Boss, it's Archie again, your friendly cockroach. Mehitabel's gone for the winter, hitched a ride on a semi back to New York. She's worried about the damage Sandy might've done to her downtown alley. But I thought it would be safer here, where we seem blessed with better weather than anywhere - global changes excepted.

Before she left, Boss, she talked a lot about how much she liked the few warm days of summer, how she marveled over the fall color changes and how she likes the crazy patchwork of communities where TV, radio, cell phones, tablets, and smartphones have, for better or worse, brought us up to date with the rest of the world.

Still, world-weary Mehitabel missed the sophistication of New York's know-it-alls. But you know what, Boss? From what I heard from the local old timers, ignorance wasn't always so bad. People still communicated over the back fence, at church functions and bars and on party-line phones. From what they told me, their ears never stopped burning. One said, "Not much happens around here, but what you hear makes up for it."

And they had plenty to keep them busy. For weekend fun, they had Electric Park - tucked in the woods between Hancock and Calumet. You got there by street car and unloaded onto a dock, with a great big sign overhead, bright with light bulbs, saying ELECTRIC PARK. And what fun they had, Boss, riding rides, playing games, picnicking with friends - all-day, all-family fun. And when it got dark and all the lights came on, it was like a fairyland. In one big building there was roller skating or dancing! That's what I was told.

But, Boss, things have changed. People don't do family-style anymore - stratified by age groups and now with both parents working, the kids grow up learning about "life" from everywhere but home. Boss, cockroaches don't do that. We learn from our extended families. Maybe that's why we live so long, happy and grateful.

We don't want more, more, more of what we see on the boob tube or in movies, we just ignore them. We have instincts that tell us not to load up with what we don't need. I feel sorry for all those victims of Sandy who lost so much and must start all over again. I hope they've learned how to slim down their material "necessities."

Meanwhile, Boss, I've been listening to folks listening to politicians - who don't seem any different here than those New York city slickers. I don't know how all this money spent on cramming negative things about the "other guy" will win out. Don't people know, Boss, that there are two sides to everything? Seems to me, to get elected no politician is going to say anything bad about himself, just points it up in the other guy. Seems elections are a process of selecting the least of the worst. But how can we do that when the mud begins flying months back and we wind up with meaningless shibboleths, half truths, uninspired ads and irritating phone calls, to say nothing of ads made up by slick admen bombarding us from papers, magazines, radio, TV - and even online! Because we usually vote emotionally, not logically, Boss, we're usually stuck with the politicians who spend the most money and who play off our prejudices.

Was it always that way, Boss? Weren't there any dedicated statesmen running for office to make OUR lives better? I'm afraid it's pretty much the same everywhere. So if you don't mind, I'll just stick around for the winter and see how our hardy local people survive as you all have for generations. As Mehitabel said one day when we visited a church, "Archie, we've made the world a mess so maybe we deserve what we democratically asked for. I only hope the Boss Upstairs realizes that we do try, but after all, we're still just a work in progress."

For now, Boss, it's your old friend Archie. Thanks for the crumbs around this computer and keep them coming.

Note: Tasty charity chile benefit at "Shepherd of the Sea" chapel, Copper Harbor, Saturday - noon to 4 p.m.. Take-outs available. Also on Saturday, the annual fashion show is at Finlandia at 7 p.m.

Rotten Tomatoes average: "Wreck-it Ralph," A-"



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