Joanne Palmer's Life in the 'Boat column appears Wednesdays in the Steamboat Today. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Find more columns by Palmer here.
Steamboat Springs Let me always live in a town where the biggest problem is a baseball tournament. Let me always live in a town where a bear rummaging in a Dumpster makes the police blotter. Let me always live in a town where the residents are so passionate about issues that they take the time to express their opinion in a thoughtful way.
Let me not live in a town where people call a fellow columnist at home and demand he move or have a heart attack.
You don't have to be nice, but you don't have to be nasty, either.
Stop the brutal whining.
Let me state for the record that I have not yet had the pleasure to meet Rob Douglas, but I am a big fan of his work. I find his columns to be exceptionally well written and thought-provoking. I am impressed he is willing to stick his neck so far out. I am not. People have asked me to write about growth, the schools, City Council or other hot-button topics, and I always have declined. I've lived here long enough to know that familiarity often breeds contempt. So, except for today, I will stick to writing humor.
Now, for anyone who does not like what I'm about to write, I will forewarn you that I have taken precautions. I have taken a picture of my thighs and enlarged it to 18 inches by 20 inches and duplicated enough photos to create a fence around my house. The sight of these dimply darlings after a winter of inactivity and unusually high caloric intake will make anyone who views them beat a hasty retreat. If you send me nasty e-mails, I will retaliate with a digital picture of the aforementioned body parts and that should take care of it. If not, beware, because we also have a humongous snapping turtle named "Chopper," 50 big dogs with razor-sharp teeth and an impressive dart gun collection.
Stop the brutal whining.
If you don't like what's going on, put yourself in a position to change it. Whining is easy; bullying and threats are cowardly and accomplish nothing. Working for change is hard, but sometimes you get what you want.
I'm not a big fan of Triple Crown. I don't like the crowds and the noise. I'm not smart enough to figure out the solution to affordable housing but know we desperately need it. I have mixed feelings about growth and am really tired of the phrase mixed-use residential-commercial. There you have it. I've stuck my neck out an inch. Chop it off if you think you can stomach a picture of my thighs.
If I felt strongly enough about any of these issues, I would run for City Council, lobby the Chamber, picket City Hall, go on a hunger strike, start a petition, form a committee or do something productive that might get the result I'm after. A decent example of this was "Save Our Schools RE-2," the group of concerned citizens that rallied to recall a School Board member. They may think they failed, but I contend they raised the bar. They set an excellent example of what should happen when people object to something going on in town. I love the current fundraising drive for the universal playground at Soda Creek and Strawberry Park elementary schools. Rather than complaining about the fact that Strawberry Park has a crumbling old playground, one mother took it upon herself to spearhead a campaign to create universal playgrounds accessible to all children.
These are the kind of grass-roots efforts that can effect change.
Granted, this takes time. Commitment. Organization. It takes studying an issue backward and forward so you can talk about it intelligently instead of having a knee-jerk reaction. Or making a nasty phone call.
I'll probably keep whining about the weather, but I'll try to stop whining about my thighs and get to the gym.