Locals Still Complain
AUBURN – An endless array of political and environmental calamities enveloped the entire planet Tuesday, with no corner of the globe except Maine being spared from sudden and violent deaths by the thousands.
While Maine is almost always a relatively stable place, experts say, this year marks the first time this was the only spot in the entire world with no major earthquakes or hurricanes, no significant crime, no bloody political revolutions or overbearing dictatorships, no public health crisis, no mudslides, no volcanic eruptions blackening the sky with ash, no giant wildfires, no poisonous snakes or spiders, and no professional or college sports teams expected to miss the play-offs.
Mainers reacted to the news in their typical rugged-individualist New England manner: by searching for something to complain about.
“Well, this winter’s been pretty tough,” remarked Charlene Gustin of Auburn, waiting in an orderly line at a well-stocked grocery store with a cart full of relatively inexpensive goods. “We’re finally getting some decent weather, though.”
A number of people interviewed for this report are unhappy that gasoline costs $3.60 a gallon. “It’s ridiculous,” said Jim Philbrick of Turner, filling his Chevy Tahoe at a Gulf station on Route 4, where he did not have to wait for a pump. “The taxes alone are completely unreasonable.”
Some expressed doubt that catastrophe had indeed spread to every single inch of the Earth outside our state borders, suggesting instead that overblown media hysteria had created a false perception of the overall state of affairs.
But these skeptics were quickly convinced once shown pictures of giant clumps of floating trash surrounding once-pristine Pacific islands, polar bears swimming for days on end without finding ice, and citizens of New Hampshire committing mass suicide because they are no longer able to Live Free.
“I don’t know, the Chinese seem to be doing pretty well,” said Frances Bourgoin of Leeds. She was then informed that air pollution in China has gotten so bad that people have to crawl around on their stomachs in order to breathe.
“What about Canada?” asked Bourgoin. Thousands of deadly car crashes a day because no one knows how to drive. A dysfunctional national health care system that features doctors pointing and laughing at sick people.
“Huh,” she said.
Vernon McBride, a sociology professor at the University of Southern Maine, believes that Mainers have become complacent with all this relative peace and harmony, and are therefore extremely vulnerable to certain kinds of disaster.
“Yes, the winters are tough,” he says, “but we know they’re coming. We’ve gotten pretty good at preparing for them. We can ride out even the worst blizzards and ice storms with relatively little loss of life, save those who strangle all the self-important assholes who think we’re really suffering.”