Friday, November 13, 2009

The Great Escape

I can remember the exact moment, two years ago, that I decided to leave the hum drum confines of my hometown. This is not a knock on the town;Hum drum is good. The catalyst of this epiphany was the infestation, or more accurately, the scourge of “reality” television. I had to escape or risk becoming one of the millions of human marionettes the media has created. Fortunately, I had the financial means that were required for my journey.

There was bullfighting in Spain, marlin fishing in Cuba, drinking absinthe in London, fashion week in New York, and traveling with the Hells Angels in California. I have been to Ireland, India, The West Indies, Australia and South Africa.

I met many famous and unique people along the way, leaders of counties, CEO’s, writers, actors, everyday people, and even a yuppie serial killer.

I can tell you about a group of young campers in Arizona who saved hundreds of buffalo from a gratuitous slaughter, a mountain in Montana that is actually one big diamond underneath the trees and dirt, a painting where the man in it physically ages as time goes on. There was the king who killed his brother to take his throne, the prospector in Alaska who was so frozen, he had to light his own hands on fire to keep warm. These are just a precious few of the things I could tell you about.

Along the way I laughed, cried, loved and hated. I was scared, haunted, guilty, remorseful, resentful, and grateful.

The cost of this extraordinary journey was absolutely nothing and I never traveled further than my own house. There is no fee for a library card in my town. We who live in this small slice of Americana are lucky. Our town is not, as far as I know, run by people with special interests and hidden agendas. Inquires into fiscal or hiring decisions are not met with smug or indignant replies. Most importantly, the town has not reverted to numerous, keep trying until you get the outcome you want, attempts at Proposition two and a half overrides. It is understandable that police and fire departments could outgrow their buildings and might need more up to date technology, or require certain staffing levels to perform their duties.

What I find totally unacceptable is the use of scare tactics that use the public library as part of the coercion. It is a disgrace that such treasured institutions are forced to justify their existence and worse, beg and plead for their livelihood. The library is a precious resource and should be treated as such. It is a sanctuary that gives freely, asks absolutely nothing in return, and should never be compromised for any reason.

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