Down East 2013 ©
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“Why can’t you find something else to write about besides juvenile attempts at the sort of potty-mouthed humor that was outdated when I was in high school?”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.
Also, the writer didn’t say how long ago it was that he or she was in high school. If it was recently and my jokes are only a couple of years behind the times, that’s not so bad. Adam Sandler  has been getting by on lamer material than that for decades.
Nevertheless, I think I deserve an opportunity to defend myself against these charges, which are unfair, ill-considered, and generally booger-brained.
You see, it’s not my fault.
My editors are to blame.
I’d really like to devote this space to important matters, such as a thoughtful discussion of the bond issue  approved in the final hours of the recently concluded legislative session.
Or how about some in-depth analysis of former Christian Civic League executive director Michael Heath ’s short-lived run for governor.
Also, I think the closing of the last sardine factory , not only in Maine, but the entire United States is worthy of a few pixels.
But the editors won’t allow it. “Play to your strengths,” they tell me. “You’re not so good at serious stuff. You’re much better at juvenile attempts at the sort of potty-mouthed humor that was outdated when we were in high school.”
Which was in the 1920s or something. I’m gonna need more dirty dinosaur jokes.
As for your irate e-mails and angry spray paintings, you now know where they’ll do the most good. Get to it. Right after you finish reading the latest update on:
Nudity in Maine.
Ever since a bunch of topless women marched through downtown Portland  to protest not being able to walk topless through downtown Portland, the idea has been spreading. Now, it’s reached Farmington , where a similar event is planned for April 30. Of course, Farmington is nothing like Portland, where uncouth louts leered at the marchers, took photos without permission, and shouted inappropriate comments. People in Farmington, a college town with a sizable academic community, are more refined, more in control of their animal instincts. As a woman without blouse or bra walked the streets of their downtown this week to promote the march, they dealt with the issue in a mature fashion.
They went screaming to their elected officials, demanding they pass some kind of law  against public nudity.
And while they’re at it, could they outlaw those low-rider jeans plumbers wear that show their butt cracks?
(Put down that spray can. My editors made me write that.)
Unfortunately, neither the selectmen of Farmington nor the state Legislature will be able to act before the march takes place. In fact, by the time any governing body (fully clothed, of course) can confront this issue, it may be moot. That’s because there’s an annual event in Maine that for centuries has effectively controlled the amount of public nudity that can occur throughout most of the year.
And even if somebody defied the elements to plow through the snowbanks in February with nothing on above the waist but a pained expression, who’d notice? Everyone except the topless protester would be huddled inside by the wood stove.
That seasonal shift ought to have settled the matter of public nudity, but, sad to say, that’s not the case. A different special interest group has already announced plans for an event in Portland to promote exposure of another kind
These people don’t want to hide their guns  in their pants.
The practice of walking around with a visible gun is called “open carry,” which I always thought referred to drinking from a beer can in a public place. Strangely enough, that practice is illegal, but strolling through town with a Glock on your hip is not. Even if you’re topless. There’s something wrong there.
Anyway, there appear to be lots of people who would like to take their kids to the playground, get coffee at Starbucks, and attend peace rallies with their pistols exposed. Trouble is, when they attempt this sort of thing, uptight unarmed citizens run away in a mass panic and call the cops. In an effort to educate these squeamish types about the law, the open-carry advocates will be gathering near Portland’s Back Cove on April 25 to flash their weapons.
I’m just speculating, but I doubt there’ll be quite as much leering and shouting of rude comments as at the topless march.
No similar naked-gun event is yet scheduled for Farmington, but it’s only a matter of time. Then we’ll find out which causes the most consternation among the citizenry of that enlightened town: exposed metal or exposed skin.
To conclude, let’s discuss something that actually is against the law: jaywalking.
Jaywalking is what I call a “gateway crime,” since it’s well known that nearly all criminals start off engaging in this seemingly innocuous practice only to graduate to armed robbery, murder, and pyramid schemes. Our prisons are filled with convicts who mistakenly thought they could stop breaking the law after crossing against the light.
Now, one man has had enough of society’s indifference to lawbreakers who dash across roads in the middle of the block, and he’s doing something about it.
And, in an ironic touch, his name is Jay .
Jay York (rhymes with walk – well, almost) is a photographer in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood. He’s been complaining for some time about kids crossing the Franklin Arterial, a busy four-lane highway, in places where there are no lights or crosswalks. A few days ago, he used his cell phone to snap photos of some topless people doing just that.
Sorry. They weren’t topless. But they were allegedly (my damn editors who are all weird about getting sued keep making me put that word in) jaywalking .
The potential proto-felons (alleged, of course) weren’t happy about being caught in the act. They (allegedly) confronted York and (allegedly) tried to grab his phone. York eventually called police, who arrested two of the (alleged) miscreants.
There’s a lesson for all of us in this story, which is that it’s a lot more fun to read about topless women and gun-toting men than it is to read about people of either sex engaging in jaywalking.
Hey, don’t complain to me. The editors made me do it.
Al Diamon will be on vacation next week (allegedly). He won’t be able to read e-mails sent to firstname.lastname@example.org  until he gets back because some jaywalkers stole his cell phone.