By nature, I’m not a subtle person. If I think somebody is a booger-brain, then I’m not inclined to refer to that individual by some contrived euphemism, such as claiming he or she suffers from a condition that causes a backup of nostril mucous into the cranial cavity. I come right out and call a booger-brain a booger-brain.
I’m not about to criticize somebody for being insulting. That would make me a hypocrite.
After all, in my other life as a political columnist, I make my living insulting people. Well, not people exactly. More like elected officials, bureaucrats, candidates, activists, and other assorted whackjobs.
They’re similar to people, except they put out more press releases.
The following story is true.
True, that is, in somewhat the same sense that the things gubernatorial candidates say are true. A few insignificant details may have been slightly altered in order to protect the identities of the innocent subjects. (And to improve the joke.)
Nevertheless, this story mostly really happened and is a good deal more interesting than the things gubernatorial candidates say. Also, a good deal weirder.
Most people probably think they know when they’re doing something that’s against the law in Maine.
Littering? Everybody ought to be aware that’s illegal.
Meth lab in the kitchen? No question you’ve got a law-enforcement problem.
Pyramid scheme involving sales of oil leases in the Georges Banks? Get lawyered up in a hurry.
In other areas, though, it can be tough to tell which side of the law you’re on.
Going topless in public? It’s legal for both men and women.
I’m predicting with some confidence that for the next couple of months, there won’t be any more topless women parading through the streets of Maine’s cities and towns.
I’ve recently returned from a fact-finding mission to Louisiana (my accountant informs me the Internal Revenue Service is more inclined to accept deductions for a trip described as a “fact-finding mission” than the somewhat more accurate depiction as an “alcohol-fueled rampage into wretched excess”).
I know there are some among you loyal Down East readers who believe this feature goes out of its way to not only find, but to revel in salacious material. I have heard from you in the form of angry e-mails and crude graffiti spray-painted on my file folder labeled “Salacious Material.”
“Why can’t you find something else to write about besides juvenile attempts at the sort of potty-mouthed humor that was outdated when I was in high school?” wrote one astute fan. “Grow up.”
Which took a lot of spray paint.
Like most journalists, I have this unfulfilled dream. For more than thirty years, I’ve wanted to do a feature story on a subject worthy of my skills, my talent, my initiative. But at every turn, I’ve been frustrated, blocked, and defeated.
Just about every city or town worth a mention has some sort of food closely associated with it. Philadelphia has the cheese steak.
New Orleans has the po’ boy.
Boston has the baked bean.
And Washington, D.C. has the earmark.
It’s disgusting the way some Web sites use lurid headlines, expressly designed to exploit the public’s prurient interest, in shameless attempts to entice readers. Fortunately, here at Down East, we’ve never felt the need to promote ourselves in such an unseemly manner.
Unless somebody sends us nude video of U. S. Sen. Olympia Snowe.