Old Grouches can follow in moving to Nowhere

Letter by Slim Wolfe

Local changes – November 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Old Grouches can follow him in moving to nowhere

Editors of Colorado Central:

Now, Martha Quillen, ain’t no need to be chastened by the State of Rural Missouri. That cranky woman was probably just jealous ’cause here in 20th century Salida we’ve invented color. Just happens I was in rural Missouri in September. They had two colors for houses, white and brick. They’re a hardworking lot of farmers and I hardly blame them if they brook no graffiti (nor any other nonsense from the 20th century, such as off-white or pastel). My impression was I sure wouldn’t want to be a teenager there, ’cause the tighter those repressed grownups try to screw the lid on the jar of adolescent energy, the farther those shards of glass are gonna fly.

Then again, there’s the Hays, Kansas, approach: Put all the restaurants, etc. on the strip and save the historic downtown for offices and showrooms. No thanks. I’d rather sit where I can rub elbows with that historic brick and stone, but in Hays they saw me coming and wouldn’t give me a seat downtown. I can’t think of any town that appeals to me near as much as Salida, so I wish the grownups would behave.

If some cranky merchants called some teenagers out on the carpet and blatantly attempted to extort cleanup-labor, well, I know I never did forgive my parents for gaining notoriety through chastisement, and I expect those kids would be resentful. They are next-of-kin and next-in-line. Any old grouches like me who can’t stand a late-night ruckus can move like I did to the middle of nowhere, not buy a house on F Street and expect the neighborhood to knuckle under. All of Central Colorado needs a social and entertainment hub. I suppose we could round up everyone on their fourteenth birthdays and quarantine them in Smeltertown until they can demonstrate mastery of social graces by amassing 20K in real property, but that has hardly guaranteed civil behavior in anyone else.

The basic unit of capitalism is “the sale,” which proceeds from “I’ve got something you lack,” to “I’ve got more than you,” and “I’ll have more clout when I’ve got you and your money in my pocket.” Therefore, the adult cat in the capitalist jungle develops claws. The young adult on rollerblades with boom box is merely demonstrating a younger, less developed set of claws. Maybe I think my older generation had more genius and better taste in our glory years, but all the evidence ain’t been collected yet. Would that the framers of our constitution had proscribed self-righteousness as they did theocracy.

Slim Wolfe Villa Grove