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Monday, April 28, 2008

The Gang's All Here

It seems like every book I pick up these days is trying to teach people how to live, talk, dress, and eat like Southern folk. Either that or how to “Walk Yourself Thin,” a feat I attempted unsuccessfully at the mall where I gained five pounds celebrating each day’s activities with a fried chicken biscuit at the finish line.

Just because we live in small town America, it doesn't mean that we don't have access to the finer things that make for a cosmopolitan existence, like deli food and street gangs. We can march right down to Joe's Sandwich Shop and Tanning Salon and order a pastrami on rye like everybody else in the country. Of course Joe sometimes gets the pastrami and the pepperoni mixed up, but that's a better mistake making sandwiches than if he were making pizzas. I'm just glad he doesn't sell live bait on the side like he used to.

As for gangland activity, I’ll confess that our town, a little less metropolitan than say Goose Creek, is so small that our gangs meet at each other’s houses like Bible study groups, arriving in little knots of two and three together at the predestined meeting place. I’m anxious to see what the Bloods bring for refreshments. I don’t think I want to know what special ingredient they put in their potato salad. I can’t imagine that they’re much for cooking, what with spending all their time planning playground takeovers and group jaywalking, and are likely to pick up some tacky storebought dessert without bothering to take it out of the package. Of course, it’s difficult to disguise a Ho Ho, even on a silver tray.

For the most part, at least from what I’ve heard being shouted between cars at the traffic light, we have traditional gangs with traditional names; Pinheads, You Idiots, and Any Particular Color of Green You Waiting For? These groups don’t have any national affiliation as of yet, but give them a few more years of growth and there is no reason they won’t be able to exploit corporate sponsorship.

Our gangs mark their territory with graffiti just like those in more urban areas, although it’s considered bad form to spray paint on public property. Garden clubs spend many hours of their valuable time engaged in creative ways to beautify the city and vandalism that disrespects their efforts is met with disapproval. Whipped cream and squirt cheese work much better than paint for signs and symbols,with the additional bonus of serving as a food source for nature’s little creatures.

Since spelling is not a strong point in the area, most of our grafitti is done in pictures; frowny faces convey angst just as well as a naughty word and doesn’t get you in near as much trouble with the broom-wielding granny that finds you expressing yourself on the back wall of the Laundromat and who will gladly show you the square root of angst. A nice Mr. Yuk drawn in the dust on the police cruiser gets the message across just fine.

While I’m on the subject, it seems to me that a dress code of some sort would prove beneficial to everyone. Torn jeans and bandanas may be stylish, but what does that outfit say about your roots? Khaki pants are always nice and can be paired with a blue pinpoint Oxford for a sharp casual look, although there is always the chance that you’ll be taken for a bag boy at the A&P. Individuality can be asserted with a name patch on the left front breast in the traditional style, as long as we engage our creativity in name selection and elect only one Killer or Tiny per group. Somebody is going to have to give in and be Mr. Grumpypants.

So as to spare hurt feelingss, it seems necessary to mention that we have recently developed a motorcycle gang franchise, and even though he doesn’t have a Harley, Pervis Pridemore has a lot to be proud of. He has a sidecar that will hold the things Delores told him to pick up at the store including the string cheese and bulk toilet paper, unless of course, it’s holding Delores herself who likes to hop in for a spin down the driveway to check the mail or fetch the newspaper. However, all this chauffeured luxury has served to increase the amount of room Delores occupies in the side car.

Maybe Delores needs some of those pointers on how to walk herself thin. I hope she doesn't try it at the mall. That sidecar can only stand so much.


plaidearthworm said...

I love the names of your gangs! Now I know you're uptown, because we don't even have a traffic light. And we're not always sure we have graffiti, because we have so many artists in town. It gets tricky when people scrub away an art installation. ;)

Great post, I love it!

the Bag Lady said...

Wow, you are living in the bigtime. We don't have a traffic light. We don't have gangs, either, unless you count the Sudder twins on their dirt bikes. Someone did once write something on the side of the community hall, but it was so poorly spelled that no-one knew what it meant. (Well, old lady Johnston thought she did, but she always thinks she knows everything!)

Carolyn Erickson said...

It sounds idyllic. LOL at the gangs meeting as if for Bible study groups.

Mr. Grumpypants sounds kind of scary though. If he sticks to khaki and blue, maybe he won't be so intimidating!