to voice over artist Tim George
the part of Hank Peabody
Tim George's website to learn more
about his work
The Lowest Common Denominator
from The Reeducation of a Turd Peddler
by John Henry Peabody
idiot compassion," Janet implored.
"The more you go along with an idiot the
more you become as idiot yourself."
from The Reeducation
of a Turd Peddler
WELL, THE JURY IS no longer
out.After a year of legal wrangling, the City of El Fornio has decided
that it will be against the law for any person to wear open-toed shoes,
sandals, heels or bootsany footwear presenting any fool appendageon
Juan De Anza Street, also known as Main Street El Fornio.
Why, you ask, has our great, little town decided to play
to the lowest common denominator?
Ill tell you.
Last summer a boy from up from Lompoc on his vacation, name
of Anthony Firestone, was walking with his family downtown, along the
main drag, and in an awkward flip flop hitchno doubt dragged down
by, we discover late in the trial, a McDonalds supersized coke,
fries and Quarter Pounderstubbed his post-prandial toe.
Who hasnt? I remember big toes, bloody and split open
uglythey were a right of passage. I remember Janet walloping her
left big toe in the parking lot at the beach. We were, like, thirteen
or fourteen. She had great feet and took a hit. Medic!
Unfortunately, in little Tonys case, the toe became
infected and after three visits to the doctor, two doses of antibiotics
and three afternoons where he didnt wash the injured digit, continuing
to wear flip flops back down on the streets of Lompoc, little Tone Tony
lost the memberwhich means they cut off his toe (out of respect
to his privacy, we never did learn, during the trial, which big toe
I have to say that Im a bit pissed off about it all. Just because
some fat boy stubbed his toe, couldnt take care of it and got
it amputated, we should all be told that we cant wear
open-toed shoes on Main Street.
Whatever happened to common sense?
The lowest common denominator trumps everything these days.
This town, in the words of a friend, has become anhedonic.
Like a lot of spots up and down the coast, they dont
want you to have good time. At least, not in the way you used to.
People could come here because it was a good place to come
to. It was a great townis! But they spend so much time protecting
whats great about it, youcant get into it anymore.
Tony Firestone stubs his toe on Main. Then the next you
know, some idiot ex-con gets too drunk in the park and knocks somebodys
block off. All of a sudden, were all idiotic ex-cons who get drunk
and knock somebodys block off. Everytime I have a
beer I could knock somebodys block off, right?
Last year I pushed a plywood float for three hours up Main
Street during the Solstice parade and ended up getting put in a cage
with a bunch of other exhilarated volunteers who just wanted one, maybe
two, cold ones. Instead, we got our IDs looked over and bright colored
bands wrapped around our wrists as guards watched us from the perimeter.
This is the kind of thing that makes us the laughing stock
of the Western world.
I remember when you could sleep on the beach, camp in a canyon or dive
off the pier. Were all treated like idiots nowadays who cant
take care of ourselves. They spend months setting up events so that
you might have a good time, but at the end you cant really have
one. Rather, you end up helping the police and city council support
their vision of an orderly society. No creature likes being scolded,
shining citizen, brazen criminal or loyal pet
In protest, I vow that some time this week, I will shoot
a rabbit out back of the historical society parking lot (theres
a lot of them), put on my flip flopswhich I wear, like, twice
a yearwalk down Main Street, then, eventually, jump off the pier
and swim back to shore. None of it is immoral, but all of it seems to
be illegal these days.
Am I becoming nostalgic?
POSTSCRIPT: Today I was downtown and saw that in some of the local shops
Little Tonys Toe Key Rings were for sale. Yeah. Someone
had made up plastic toes hooked to key rings, designed and executed
the packaging, and now you can buy them up and down Main Street. Once
I figure out whos behind this, Im getting a case for the
historical society. Dolores will likely protest, but I feel like Im
about to have my confidence in this town restored.