I’ll be the first to admit that in the past I’ve been pretty liberal with the word “nut.” I’ve used it to describe local “activists” who love nothing better than trying to catch small-town politicians with their pants down. I’ve used it to describe just about anyone who has issued an opinion on the Los Osos sewer in the hopes that at some point in the next 300 years they’ll decide to stop talking about it. I’ve pretty much used it against anyone who’s decided to fixate on an issue without regard for facts or logic. Sadly, there have been more nuts over the years than I can properly count. And I’m about to add another to the list.
What do you call an adult—I have to clarify that, because this really sounds like the work of someone much less mature, which would explain the manic tone and grammar—who runs around Morro Bay tearing down political signs? This isn’t a rhetorical question. I’m really hoping there’s a linguist out there who knows a word that combines the concept of petty theft, having too much time on one’s hands, and living in a bubble in which a relatively small coastal town’s mayoral race is the MOST IMPORTANT THING THAT HAS EVER HAPPENED. Oh, and throw in a tendency to overshare on Facebook if you get the chance. If anyone happens to think of something, let me know.
In the meantime, I might not have the right word for such fanatics, but I do have a name: Kathleen Welles. Some of current mayor Jamie Irons’ supporters complained that their pro-Irons signs were disappearing from their yard. Then, in an April 6 Facebook post riddled with smiley faces and creative grammar, Welles announced:
“Regs place on the Embarcadero is great as it is visible from ALL angles up and down the waterfront. Reflecting on past elections Irons and his lil boys try to put signs up there but Billy takes them down on his daily drive in the morning. If you give me a bunch Carla….I KNOW the great spots. Billy comes along with me with a nail gun or a better apparatus to make sure the signs STAY where we put them. Just sayin. :) I think you need to be more the assertive with Irons and his crew :) In addition if you have N Johnson’s signs and Headding……we need a BUNCH. I have a lot of the perfect locations.”
(For the sake of space just assume there’s a [sic] whenever you find yourself confused.)
When Irons’ supporters denounced Welles for stealing signs, she sent the press a letter that makes cut-and-paste ransom notes look like hand-calligraphied wedding invitations. She accused Irons’ supporters of being “OBVIOUSLY in a desperation mode,” and insists that her post was in reference to legally removing signs in past years. But the kicker, one of the best “I’m not crazy” letter finales of all time was as follows:
“As a footnote I looked up your Facebook as I did not have a clue or care who you are.And I need to tell you. The photo of you sitting on the bench that was dedicated to Nick Howell is a disgrace. Many of us that have known Nick our entire lives, and know that he would have never NEVER supported a minion like you. He was a MANS MAN. Please sit somewhere else.”
I’m not sure to whom she’s referring, but clearly it’s a “he” and clearly he’s a pansy.
Now typically when people are sending letters to the press, they at least try to clean up the punctuation a little, make sure that all their sentences are, in fact, sentences, lay off the caps. Hell, maybe even avoid challenging a person’s masculinity because you don’t happen to agree with his/her decision to sit on what I presume is a public bench. I’ve asked this question before, and no one ever bothered to answer, but I keep hearing the phrase, so someone—maybe even Kathy Welles—should be capable of enlightening me: What does it mean to be a man’s man? Is one “man” now insufficient to convey that the person has one X and one Y chromosome and a pair of testicles? Does the term man’s man somehow denote anti-women sentiment? Or is it just something you spew because you don’t have a coherent argument or attack?
Now Morro Bay’s old guard has been passing around the crazy baton for the past couple of years—defending the city’s less-than-stellar aquarium because they’re old and their grandchildren like it, defending City Manager Andrea Lueker who hoodwinked the city by upping her severance pay from six to nine months by using the examples of cities much larger than Morro Bay, and even defending a city councilman who voted to give his own restaurant a contract for a city event without even realizing it was a conflict of interest. And whenever someone tries to point out that you can’t run a city the way you run your weekly bingo club, the response is always to harrumph, talk about how long they’ve been living in Morro Bay, and sit back while their buddies talk about how the city councilman’s restaurant put together a lovely steak and lobster spread. It’s democracy by curmudgeons, and it isn’t working out all that well. How much money did the former City Council waste on a sewer facility the Coastal Commission was never going to approve? And how much longer is the old guard going to whine about the fact that they’re finally moving in a new direction?
My money’s on Morro Bay turning into the new Los Osos—the town all the other cities tiptoe around because they don’t want to have a three-hour long conversation about the sewer with a woman who spends her free time removing political signs from peoples’ yards and patrolling public benches to determine that the only people sitting on them have sufficient balls to prove they’re worthy of doing so.
Shredder is a man’s woman and a woman’s man. Send dresses and ties to firstname.lastname@example.org.