ON THE AVENUES: The “downfall” occurs when we all fall down.


ON THE AVENUES: The “downfall” occurs when we all fall down.

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.

There’s something I need to get off my chest.

It began when an alien vessel double-parked in the Galaxy Cosmos Redshift 7 emitted an ultraviolet probe ray of a molecular composition entirely unmapped by the puny mind of humans, bouncing first off one of the heroic concrete plinths atop the heroic Summit Springs atrocity (as destined to carry vivid plastic elevators catering to traveling business-class poltroons), then streaking through the Kroger parking lot at precisely the millisecond my thumb depressed the “lock” button on the key fob, thus interrupting the intended signal, and ensuring that when I emerged from the supermarket, arms sagging with groceries, I’d find the car rifled by just another New Gahanian heroin addict.

No matter.

My car stays pristine like a rental, and apart from the stench of Mountain Dew-permeated urine emanating from nearby mulch, nothing seemed to be out of place, although at this precise moment of surveying the scene it occurred to me that having returned a beachball-sized lump of used plastic grocery bags entering the store, now almost every item I’d purchased, from cucumbers through tiny cans of cumin, had been wrapped with two or more fresh ocean chokers, meaning I might as well have carried the used bundle directly to the checkout line rather than depositing it in the recycling bin by the entrance.

On the drive home I marveled at the anti-social anger of my fellow roadway imperialists and lamented the fact that tinted windows always prevent one from seeing the expression on the bald, bearded, reckless white guy’s face when you fly the bird, especially when he responds by pulling his piece and waving it in the air – but enough about his ubiquitous gun, because the ones who really scare me immediately display their penises (although isn’t this why we have automobiles in the first place?) and you realize they’re all out there merrily breeding even as the 1% gets another trillion-dollar dividend.

But hey, let’s all just stay calm and blame it on the black woman walking back home from the store with her groceries in 90-degree heat. Why on earth would she pound her bootstraps on the sidewalk without using them to lift herself up to automobile ownership?

Is she some kind of socialist?

Looks like the perfect opportunity for the blowhard in the MAGA cap to crank the AC, turn the steering wheel, and eliminate another welfare leech, safe in the knowledge that drivers in Floyd County are held responsible only when they cause damage to another car.

There it is again — not the institutional, prosecutorial cowardice, but my middle finger.

It’s funny how so few people bother voting in an election, but constantly cast social media ballots in support of their favorite chain restaurant erection, forever eager to ship money out of town while deriving some bizarre reinforcement from metaphorically fellating multinational corporations, and this is as good a segue as any to a valuable insight from The Guardian’s Zoe Williams, in a story only tangentially pertaining to recent criticism in the UK directed at celebrity chef Jamie Oliver for touting a Jamaican-inspired rice dish.

What is illuminating is that all this illustrates the point made a decade ago in the book The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Almost Always Do Better that inequality is bad for everyone; it makes everyone angrier, rich and poor; everyone’s mental health declines, whatever their class.

In a nutshell, yes.

For a very long time I’ve been of the view that it’s going to get considerably worse in New Albany before there’s any chance of the situation improving, and during the past couple of weeks, the dim-witted dictatorial tendencies of our mediocre eminences are becoming ever more insistent and pronounced.

The governing clique’s escalating paranoia, perhaps fueled by plain fear that there’ll likely be no blue wave in our area come November, is manifesting itself in increasingly non-democratic behavior — and mind you, the bar was subterranean to begin with.

In one of the strangest turnabouts in recent memory, one of the mayor’s most strident sycophants recently experienced the perils of dissenting from Dear Leader’s arsenic-spiked buttermilk will.

It happened when 3rd district councilman Greg Phipps inexplicably fell victim to his first epiphany during seven years of dozing legislative habitation, the procedural dots finally becoming visible over the summer as it became increasingly evident even to Phipps that the emasculated street grid “modernization” of 2017 hadn’t resolved safety issues in the midtown area, and in fact, may have worsened them.

Several residents of the midtown East Spring Street corridor already had committed to attending the Board of Public Works and Safety meeting on Tuesday, August 7, but as Phipps observed when called upon to speak that day, their pedestrian safety concerns had been “galvanized” by the unthinkable, tragic death of Matt Brewer the previous evening.

Cut to the Star Wars cantina, eyes popping and heads exploding as Phipps dramatically threw down a previously unknown gauntlet: if the Bored of Works has no intention of listening to his comments about street safety or responding to them in any coherent way, the functionaries need reminding that as a councilman, Phipps has a say in budgetary matters.

By the time the meeting ended amid the usual robotic, indecisive gurgling sounds on the part of inconvenienced city officials, Board of Works member Cheryl Cotner Bailey, conveniently the executive secretary to Mayor Deaf Gahan, who appointed her, already was in possession of the anchor-festooned summons.

Might Phipps please Come to Jesus by reporting immediately to Gahan’s office at his earliest possible convenience, otherwise known as Right Now or Else?

Once there, the Green Mouse reports that Phipps was subjected to one of Gahan’s legendary off-camera temper tantrums, the mayor’s dazed and nervous public face replaced by imitations of mafioso movie scenes memorized amid underachieving youth.

Amid the flying spit, glowering and grimacing, we can easily surmise the exchange between king and vassal. In short, how dare Phipps threaten to thwart the hallowed party line and actually do his job by representing the voters in his district?

Perhaps the wayward councilman would enjoy a recreational kneecapping on the order of Diane Benedetti’s fall from Guido Gahan’s grace back in 2015? Make one more mistake like that, surely screamed the former veneer salesman, and Phipps would find himself in the down low bunker’s unadorned therapy chamber for hour after hour of the collected works of Adam Dickey, as intoned by the DemoDisneyDixiecratic chairman himself.

Assuming his Phipps’ sanity survived more or less intact, there’d be candlelight dinner at Ronnie Mac’s with Warren Nash.

Ironically for a regime that complains constantly about ill treatment at the hands of a lone blogger situated atop the glassy know-all, the benign and bumbling “public Gahan” seems perfectly capable of voluminous abuse in private, when playing his cherished role of “Downfall Gahan.”

“HWC Engineering couldn’t mass sufficient donations for a deposit. HWC’s asslick didn’t happen.”

As for Gahan’s meeting with Phipps, let’s be honest by paraphrasing the words of the saintly Andy Griffith: What it was, was bullying.

Phipps got it, all right.

Maybe now, at long last, he gets it.

Recent columns:

August 20: Non-learning curve: This ON THE AVENUES column repeat reveals that since 2011, we’ve been discussing the safety hazards on Spring Street between 10th and 9th. Too bad City Hall is deaf.

August 9: ON THE AVENUES: There’s only one way to cure City Hall’s institutional bias against non-automotive street grid users, and that’s to #FlushTheClique.

August 2: ON THE AVENUES: Daze of future passed.

July 26: ON THE AVENUES: Maybe, just maybe, you really can go home again.

July 19: ON THE AVENUES: Confusion, exile, ignobility and resistance amid various other Chronicles of New Gahania.