Archive for June, 2009:
There’s always some old lady out there, thinking she and her friends are God’s designated judges of good taste. And the words out of her mouth are almost always “That’s just tacky.”
But what is tacky, really? And why does tackiness change with the region of the country?
Think about it, in Florida there are lawn flamingos. Pink birds, often with whirligig arms that do nothing but look . . . well, tacky. These often go hand in hand with the sofa on the front porch and maybe a car up on cinderblocks. Well you need something to look at from your Lanai. (That’s Floridian for what the rest of us call a screened-in porch.)
If you go to the Midwest, they have cows. Fake ones. Sometimes these are clearly something an enterprising soul cut from plywood and just painted up. Sometimes these are life-size, life-like reproductions, done well enough to make you turn your head as you drive by and ask yourself “Was there a cow just hanging out in that front yard?” It’s always disappointing when you realize you’ve been had.
These days most of us have cell phones, and most of us are familiar with the standard 4-1-1 code for information. But there are a few other 1-1 numbers that are useful as well. 6-1-1 is your cell phone company, which is handy . . . because 1-888-Verizon or 1-800-SprintPC is soooo hard to remember.
Then there’s 3-1-1, which a lot of people don’t know about. It’s for reporting non-emergent things to the people who can do something about it. Most major cities in the US have 311 service. However, they run on limited hours. So that mattress in the road that’s causing swervings and a bad backup had better fall off the truck between the hours of 9am and 5pm on a Mon thru Fri. It’s just a shame if something should go wrong (but not so wrong) during non-business hours.
On the upside, if you call 311 (which I have, good Samaritan that I am), they are generally nice to you. They are grateful to have citizens on the lookout for things that can be taken care of, glad to have that mattress reported rather than an accident because no one called in the mattress.