We're All Nuts
Tinfoil on the windows. Check.
Shotgun by the front door. Check.
Encryption devices on the phone, computer and TV. Check.
Just getting ready for another day in Maine, the 12th most neurotic state in the nation, according to Perspectives on Psychological Science.
The magazine’s online survey of over 3,500 Mainers indicated we’re unfriendly, untrusting, ill-behaved and less conscientious than the residents of any other state. I was all set to dispute those figures, when I came across this item in the St. John Valley Observer’s police blotter for Madawaska: On Aug. 15, the cops were called about a guy who had “accrued $108 in late rental fees on three DVDs.”
OK, so maybe we’re not as conscientious as we could be.
But unfriendly? Come on, what are you? A jerk or something? If so, stay away from Sangerville. The Piscataquis Observer reported that on Aug. 15, local law enforcement was summoned because, “Three subjects were walking and planned on starting trouble.”
Untrusting? According to the Bar Harbor Times, on Sept. 6, a man was told to move along after he was spotted on the Bluffs “selling buoys out of his vehicle.”
Badly behaved? The Lincoln County News reported that police responded to a call from a Waldoboro wedding reception on Aug. 31. The bride was arrested for domestic assault. The next day, she was nabbed again, this time for violated conditions of her release.
I could come up with more examples if I wasn’t so busy digging a bunker in my backyard.
First thing I’m hiding in there is my mechanical gorilla. The state is full of oddballs who steal that sort of thing.
Although the good news is the eight-foot robotic simian swiped from Sandy’s Sales in East Machias has been found and returned to its rightful owner.
The gorilla showed up in Vermont, a state that rated almost as weird as Maine in that national nut-case survey. The thief posted several videos on YouTube, promising to leave the beast where the authorities could find it (as it turned out, in a cornfield) and asking for leniency.
When the gorilla arrived in East Machias on Sept. 13, accompanied by a ukulele band (who even knew Maine had a ukulele band – and what does that say about our mental health?), it had suffered some damage. The owners, uncharacteristically conscientious for Mainers, promised to repair it and seek restitution from the perpetrator if he’s ever caught. Police claim to have a suspect. Maybe that guy selling buoys.
All the news of the week couldn’t have been that off-kilter. Something normal must have happened, like … college football. On Sept. 13, the University of Maine Black Bears defeated Stony Brook 28-13 in the “Battle for the Butter.” A couple of guys on ESPN Radio gave the game that name – and some unexpected national exposure – for reasons that are best left to psychological surveys to explain.
Could have been worse. Some of the rejected monikers for the contest included “The Bore on the Shore” (somebody has geography problems), “Mobsters vs. Lobsters,” “Clash of the Crab Cake Cupcakes” and “Ineptitude in the North Latitude.”
It’s stuff like that that drives me crazy. Must stare at the scenery until the urge to destroy the radio passes.
By coincidence, the Maine Department of Conservation has announced the official beginning of foliage season. The department will post updates on the leafy color scheme on its Web site each Wednesday through Oct. 15.
So far, the predominant hue seems to be green.
Hey, not all national surveys make Maine seem like a haven for wackos. The League of American Bicyclists has the state listed as the sixth best place in the country (and first in New England) to go pedaling around the countryside wearing a funny-looking helmet, really tight shorts and a pained expression.
The extra business is being attributed to the two discount airlines that service Portland, JetBlue and AirTran.
It’s at the Maine Mall in South Portland. Please don’t embarrass us by going in and ordering cider.
OK, it’s not exactly JetBlue, but it’ll be at least as much fun as bicycling or watching a mechanical gorilla. The Downeast Scenic Railway hopes to eventually restore the rail lines all the way to Green Lake.
Looking for the Maine town with the most interesting ballot questions this November? Look no further than Scarborough, where residents will be asked to decide if they want to allow slot machines at Scarborough Downs racetrack, as well as whether they want to dump the nickname of the high school sports teams, replacing the current Red Storm with something closer to the old nickname of Redskins, but without the implication that people in Scarborough have some deep-seeded psychological problem that prevents them from grasping the concept of racial insensitivity.
Looking for the Maine town that hosted the strangest protest of the week? South Berwick takes the honor, after 50 high school student staged a sit-in over a policy that bans backpacks.
School officials say the ban was put in place in 1999 to prevent students from bringing weapons to class and to reduce stress on their young backs.
Looking for a good place to go deer hunting? Good luck. Maine wildlife officials say the hard winter reduced the size of the herd, and they expect this year’s harvest to be down 18 percent from last season.
The state issued just over 50,000 doe permits this past week, compared to 66,000 last year.
One more thing that might be down in the state this year: pot smoking. According to the Maine Drug Enforcement Administration, the amount of marijuana being grown here is off, mostly because of the wet weather.
The MDEA says that’s why its agent have seized a lot less weed in the woods of western Maine this growing season. Another reason: Helicopters from the Maine Army National Guard aren’t available to do aerial surveillance of suspicious agricultural activity, because they’re all being used to keep an eye on suspicious activity of another kind in Iraq and Afghanistan.
I wonder how that change will affect our psychological profile.
Less grass. More uptight.
Fewer helicopters. Less uptight.
Looks like a wash.
Al Diamon can be e-mailed at email@example.com.