When it comes to clinging to the past, there is perhaps no better illustration of the divide than the looming closure of Eureka's post office sorting facility. Here is an institution that loses $64 quadrillion per quarter (approximately), whose junk-mail delivery trucks dispense ads for pizza and credit cards and don't even bring us NetFlix anymore.
Thought exercise: When was the last time your mail carrier delivered a letter-sized envelope that you actually wanted to open?
Imagine a post-USPS world with email and stuff delivered to your home that you actually want (read: stuff you ordered off Amazon and eBay).
Are you honestly mourning the "loss" of a bankrupt, black hole of federal waste? Because I'll be celebrating, Irish wake-style.
Chief Ugg Boots
Hiring a public official is a little bit like a Kardashian marriage: Until you actually get into bed with him or her, all you really know about this person is what you've read on the Internet.
This is especially true up here, behind the Redwood Curtain. Ever notice how far local agencies go to out-brag each other over their "national recruiting efforts?" As though our own hip, weird university town can't produce a single qualified candidate capable of enforcing our laws?
Such was the case with the 2013 hiring of Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills, wooed northward from the laid-back climes of San Diego. Despite protestations from many quarters that Eureka's finest could ably promote a chief from within its own ranks, the city council opted for reality show-like, Bacheloresque nuptials.
So we civilians got to know Chief Mills the only way we could — TMZ-style — through a series of interviews published in the Times-Standard.
What we learned — to our considerable amusement — was that Mills is the kind of guy who likes to say "dude" a lot, along with such SoCal hipster slang as "frickin'" and "hey, man."
At that, everyone put on their Ugg boots, fist-bumped, sang 'Kumbaya' and handed over the squad car keys to our new head cop, Chief Jeff Spicoli.
It was epic, man!
Now here we are a year hence — the honeymoon is over — and Chief Spicoli's reign of terror is, like, starting to cause some way-bad vibes, bro.
If we'd had a chance to pitch just one question to him back in 2013, it would've been this: "Like, bro: Are you a nanny-state, big-government liberal?"
Unfortunately, we were never given the opportunity. But we now have our answer, courtesy of Big Jeff's announced crack-downs on those perennial scourges meth and weed bicycles and shopping carts: "Big government? Like, totally dude!"
"Like, get your bicycle off the sidewalk, man. And while we're at it, here's a court summons for yer frickin' shopping cart."
Spicoli's mellow has, in other words, soured to rage: Grow the government. Pass more laws. Get waaay harsh on bicycles and shopping carts, man. Build more jails!
How is the existing Eureka Municipal Code — weighing in a full 100,000 words north of Dickens' notorious doorstop, Bleak House — not sufficiently "epic" for Chief Ugg Boots?
Big Jeff, we had high hopes for you. It could've been righteous, brah.
But I'm gonna keep riding my bike wherever I want. Just don't Tase me, bro.
The Bus Stop Non-Proliferation Treaty
I've seen you around town. You're the ones always driving those creepy white panel vans. You seem to travel in packs of four to six young people.
I frankly don't have any problem with packs of young people — panel-vanned or otherwise.
But county brass? Now that's a different story.
Was it your mysterious blue construction helmets with matching T-shirts? Something about the way you go around the city picking up cigarette butts and squeegie-ing transit bus stops clean of scunge?
Hard to say. Call them paranoid if you will, but whatever it was, pencil-pushers at the county want to make extra sure those panel-vans aren't secreting mobile ICBMs.
But fear not: The good people at the county of Humboldt are here to assure us that AmeriCorps is not — repeat, IS NOT — engaged in the manufacture, testing or trafficking of nuclear warheads.
The Greater Eureka Bus Stop Non-Proliferation Treaty, as it were, is written right into Section 20 of their contract. Mere testing or storage of nuclear warheads by AmeriCorps, in fact — never mind detonation — requires immediate disclosure from the trash-pinching Blue Helmets.
The fact that the county actually has to ensure AmeriCorps' promise not to nuke us back into the Stone Age in writing is, one might venture, slightly unsettling. And it sure tells you something about the level of trust the county places in garbage-picking civil servants.
Whatever happened to the day you could defuse implications of thermonuclear Armageddon on a simple handshake?
If you happen to be reading this while hunkered down in your bomb shelter, fear not. You may now safely resurface and head back to your McJob.
You can even take the bus, departing soon from any number of sparkling clean, plutonium-free bus stops.
Know where the bodies are buried? Email Ryan: firstname.lastname@example.org