Saturday, November 9, 2013

Foxtrot Yankee: the duplicitous ethics of small town living, up close and personal

(Ed: for those of you with organized minds and lives, you can file this report under ‘shooting the messenger’)



You  know what they say: “life is one big learning experience, and then you die.”  Which relates to this lesson we learned a few months back:


What we learned today is apropos these recent words from Benet Pols on his blog:

It’s not on the agenda but citizens who’ve contacted me are certainly interested in a loan, which will be converted to a grant, made by the BDC to Brunswick Taxi. Brunswick Taxi is owned by Dale King, the husband of former Council Chair and BDC Chair, Joanne King.

Benet went on to refer to our broken story, and our unconventional ‘outlet.’

Our lesson is compliments of Dale King, owner of Brunswick Taxi, who taught us how small town life, seen up close and personal, can be full of surprises.

As we often do, we’re going to come at this a bit tangentially, moving in on the j-axis.  We don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Florida Youniversity.  Matter of fact, we’ve never heard of it either.  But an incident today makes us suspect there is such an institution, and that Dale King may be an alumni.  If there is, this must be their official logo:


As it happens, we and the missus and a dear friend were out on the town today for breakfast, and as we were on our way back, we passed this well known business location in Topsham, just across the bridge from Brunswick:


As we approached the establishment, we recognized Dale hisself standing in the dooryard, as it were, and he clearly noticed us.  Traffic was a bit heavy, and our windows were rolled up, but we distinctly noticed that King yelled the Florida Youniversity cheer in our direction. 


It’s pretty easy to lip-read the “F-You” cheer, especially when it’s yelled.  We’ve been doing so for ten years or more, since we have a neighbor who may be a fellow alumni of Dale’s.  He normally gives us the cheer after we’ve passed him by, so we’ve learned to do the lip reading backwards in the rear view mirror. 

Turns out, though, that whether you’re reading it forward or backwards, it looks just the same.  Mrs. Poppycock, who is also experienced in such matters, ‘read’ the cheer as well.

By now, you should have realized we’re being a bit coy about the exact pronunciation of the “F-You” cheer.  You might even have guessed that the first word of the cheer has a few more letters in it, letters similar in nature to those in ‘duck.’  Kind of poetic, don’t you think?  And maybe pathetic as well.  Look at that…a rhyme!  Decorum, as usual, comes first here on Side, even if it doesn’t in the taxi business.

Time was when giving the “F-You” cheer was unacceptable in polite discourse, and could easily lead to word spreading around town about what you had done.

And there might even be unpleasant personal consequences for giving the cheer.

But in these less gentle times, and given the ethics of this small town in which we live, the tacit public reaction amounts more to this:


We were wondering whether Benet will be getting the “F-You” cheer the next time he sees Dale, but then we realized he probably qualifies for the professional courtesy exclusion as a member of the local governing class.

Harking back to the opening suggestion of our being a messenger here on Side, however, we’re going to assume that King sees us as a two-way communications channel.  And that he wants us to pass along the “F-You” cheer to all our readers and non-readers and anyone else who has heartburn over his quarter-million dollar gift from you all via the BDC. 

So consider yourself appropriately cheered at, or perhaps sneered at.  (If the “F-You” pronunciation troubles you, you can always go with the airline pilot version: ‘Foxtrot Yankee.’)

(Ed:  on the chance that we misread Dale’s lips as we drove by today, he is free to submit an explanation of exactly what he was yelling at us when we passed.  Just like we gave him the opportunity to respond to previous posts.  Oh, and we just checked the TV listings, and Florida Youniversity has no game being televised today.)

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