The return of Joe SixPack, or false perceptions, laudable goals

San Rafael Newspointer,

published July 17-23, 1991 (unedited version)

Joe  Sixpack ambled into  the Positively 4th Street Bar on Saturday  afternoon to start one of his long weekends  away  from his job in Sacramento at OLTP (Office of Long Term Paining).   He threw some darts, had a few beers and was chewing on some nuts at the bar when two young men pulled stools back next to his.

“You mind?” one asked, as they pointed at the chairs.

“Nah, get comfortable.” Joe responded.

“You live here?” the smiling one asked.

“Nah, I’d get tired of living in just one bar,” Joe said as he began playing with a couple bar nuts.

“I mean do you live in Marin?”

“Nah, not that rich.  It’s cheaper just to visit friends who live at the zoo than to try buying a cage.” Joe offered.

The quiet one smiled and the chirpy one laughed and continued. “It’s so nice here, I guess it’s pretty expensive.”

“You two could buy a 2 bedroom condo with closets to  match your preppy clothes for about $200,000 — if you hurry.” he said, as  he  tilted his head and Lite beer can to drain  its  contents into his mouth.

“It’ll  be awhile before we can do that.  We both just finished Master’s programs.  We both decided that Marin is where we want to live.  It’s just so beautiful.”

“Yeah, living in a park can be nice.  Your parents own a home here?”

“No.”

“Parents rich?”

“No.   Our parents are just regular hard working folks.  We both had to work through college.  Benny had a football scholarship.  He’s from the Midwest and I’m from the City of  Industry near Los Angeles.”  the chirpy one replied.

“I’m Tom Enthuse and this is Benny Design.  We called  him Bene because he designs everything so well.” the talker said,  as they  both reached over to shake hands and Joe mumbled his  first name.

“Tommy and Benny come to Marin… toting their hopes and masters degrees…  hoping to win… a field of dreams to live in…  So what are your degrees in?” Joe asked, as he rolled  his eyes into space and tried to catch the bartenders attention.

“Ben’s degree is in Urban Design with a BA in architecture.  I have a BA in Poly Sci with a Master’s in Video Production and Computer Graphics.”

“Ya wanna chew on some nuts,” Joe asked, as they nooded no.  “Let me guess, Bene wants to design some “tres bene,” livable communities that will reduce reliance on automobiles and  provide housing  affordable to people like you guys…  You want to work for George Lucas or Autodesk or one of their powerful  related companies and plant wonderful images in people’s heads.”

Rolling their heads while nodding and smiling, Tommy  said, “You just about hit it on the head.”

“Well, if  you want buddy Benny to have any  work  you  had better  assume an important policy making position with Lucas  or Autodesk very quickly.” Joe responded.

“What do you mean?” the quiet one said, proving he could speak.

“The creative heart of architects and designers starves  in this county.   A handful of comfortable people stiffles their creative ability to address housing, transit and true environmental needs by planting wacko seeds in the minds of the uninvolved voting public.”

“What does that have to do with Tom quickly getting an important position with Lucas or Autodesk?” Benny asked.

“The real world of local politics runs on these premises.  Voters who most need to: neither attend nor involve themselves enough in local affairs to know how they are being screwed.  Accurate, in-depth news coverage is abysmal.  The Brave New  World of 1984 arrived, and we are now controlled by images that emanate from electronic monitors.” Joe stopped to chew on some nuts and tried to assess whether he was getting through, then continued.

“NIMBYs (Not In My Backyard) will continue electing NIMTOs (Not  In  My Term of Office) who will only allow  DECME  (Density Erasers  Causing Million Dollar Estates) projects to be built  so guys  like you won’t be able to live here.  Although the  NIMBY’s will continue to say they are  for all the things you  idealistic college  educated types want to do, when “cruci..cnch” time comes  they will  find a means to kill what needs doing by planting  a  false perception of your laudable goals among the voters.”

“Political leadership comes in to correct that.”  Tommy opined.

“If you last 5 years around her and gain some real political experience, you won’t be able to fill half a hand with politicians who will step in front to lead a crowd. After the crowd is pointed and about to move in a direction, that’s when politians step  to the fore and say ‘Let’s go this away’.” Joe said, as he bent his empty beer can and asked the bartender,  “You recycle, don’t you?”

“So what role does Lucas Film and Autodesk play in all this?” Benny asked.

“I’ll explain that to you right after I commune with Mother Nature and call to see where my friendly fiend Dwayne the-Do-Hickey is.” Joe said as he stepped back and moved to get to the Men’s Room.

Joe  often  visits  Dwayne Hunn who works on projects for Northbay Ecumenical Housing (NEH)  and  North  Bay Transportation Management Association (NBTMA).

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