Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

 
 

Commentary

 


They say you’re a geezer if you spend your day wondering why things aren’t as good as they were back when you were a kid.

Call me King Geezer, then. I will fight for my crown.

Example #1: Insurance for the Haines Fourth of July fireworks display. This week it appeared the Haines Chamber of Commerce and Haines Borough were playing a game of chicken over which would provide insurance for fireworks, as neither group wants the risk of something going wrong.

No one in memory has sued over our fireworks display, but God knows, there’s a lot that can go awry when you mix crowds, a long day of boozing, and aerial bomb bursts. What’s more, someone might actually have fun.

Kid Example #1: When I was a kid, my hometown of Media, Pa. not only put on a fireworks display, it blew up a car every Fourth of July, right in front of the courthouse.

The fire department filled a junker with something explosive, torched it and BOOM! A fireball of flames erupted, sending black smoke everywhere until a fire engine whipped around the corner and, just in the nick of time, unloaded a crew of firefighters who doused the blaze, smothering in a cloud of white smoke a crowd of people who, just moments before, were smothering in a cloud of black smoke.

To this day I can’t recall anything else about the Fourth of July in Media, but I’m blessed with boyhood memories of watching a car blow up. I now own several cars deserving of being blown up, but, in our sue-happy culture, where do I go for insurance? Or explosives?

Example #2: Pay phones. The phone company pulled every last one out of here last spring, saying they cost too much, even though phone utilities can charge about anything they please and cell phones don’t work at the ferry terminal, most of the highway or out Mud Bay Road.

We’re a port city that hosts people from all over the world and spends hundreds of thousands of dollars inviting them here, but no matter. If you’re out of range, or have forgotten your cell phone, or its battery’s kaput, or you don’t have one, well it sucks to be you, buddy. Besides, we’re all so important, it’s only responsible for each of us to carry a Dick Tracy Spy Phone, 24-7. The world’s G-7 leaders may need to reach us during a crisis.

Kid Example #2: When I was a kid, you didn’t need a contract or to stand on a park bench at a certain corner during sunspot activity to make a phone call away from home. All you needed was a dime. A dime was a lot easier to carry around than a Dick Tracy Spy Phone, and if you lost it, you were only out ten cents.

The phone company provided a small, enclosed house where you made your call in privacy and comfort. It was called a “phone booth.”

You always had service because you also had a phone at home. It was black and made of kryptonite and felt like an iron skillet. In a pinch, it doubled as a weapon against intruders. Back then, phones were useful.

 
 
 
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