Tuesday, April 17, 2012

4-way #2: The Escape Hatch

Much like its name implies, the Escape Hatch means one thing.  A way out.  A quick escape from some unspeakable horror or impending doom.  A burning building.  A nose-dive from 30,000 feet.  A sinking ship.  Or, in this case, a town called Harrisburgia.

I don't mean to suggest any existential threat to Harrisburgia or its citizens.  It's not burning, crashing, or sinking (except perhaps metaphorically).  The Hatch serves a more subtle purpose than the preservation of human life.  It's all about the preservation of human sanity.  Surrounded by a mix of madness and monotony, frequent, quick escape to the north is necessary to prevent Harrisburgians from coming up with their own, more "creative" methods of coping.  If Chuck Palahniuk taught us anything, it's that, left to our own devises, we will become insomniacs, black-mailing our employers and producing homemade soap (and napalm) in our basements, in order fund our underground fight clubs and guerilla armies.  Not to mention the schizophrenia.  No, more conventional ways of coping are preferred for Western Civilization to continue as planned.  There's just one catch...

Saturday, April 14, 2012

4-way #1: The Plugged Stool

The Plugged Stool lives up to its name:  shit-splattered and backed-up, without any other options, you've got no other choice but to squat a few inches above the filthy seat and pinch one off.  No sense in flushing it, you know you're only going to make matters worse.  Just be glad you didn't feel the icy touch of that filthy toilet seat on your ass.  You got the job done with only minimal skid-marks on your shoes.  Get the fuck out of there and hope the next person's got the time to figure out where they keep the plunger.

Cliff Avenue and County Highway 110 meet at this 4-way stop, The Plugged Stool.  It's surrounded by what sadly passes as the new business district of Harrisburgia.  In reality it's an crammed orgy of capitalist ventures all trying to cash in on the fact that The Stool lies dead-center of the four Harrisburgian schools and serves as their only ways in or out...

Ménage à Trois...quatre, actually

This ménage is not the fantastical, messy 3-way we all secretly hope to drunkenly stumble into some day on a beach in southern Mexico.  No, this menage is a backed-up 4-way where nothing goes in or out smoothly.  Not on a beach, but in the purgatory of corn fields between Sioux Falls and Harrisburgia.  The dreaded 4-way stop.

There is a time and place for the 4-way stop.  Perhaps a lonely intersection in the country where to winding highways meet.  A quiet residential area where a couple through-streets come to cross.  Maybe in a place where civilized people can be counted on to follow simple rules to avoid a breakdown in the social order.

Harrisburgia is not this place.  There are two 4-way stops that must go for two very simple reasons...

Friday, April 13, 2012

Welcome to Harrisburgia

By Harrisburgia, I mean the weird little place a few stone-throws south of Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  I hope to shed some light on the confusing situation which continues to develop here.  Step into my brain and experience first-hand the oddities that stare me in the face everyday.

Those of us not originally from Harrisburg have admittedly made a strange choice in now calling Harrisburg home.   I say "strange" choice, rather than "irrational," "regrettable," or "dumb," because I don't want to step on any local toes.  Perhaps it's been this fear of toe-squishing that has caused many of us to grow accustomed to doing and seeing things that, if we had not already taken them for granted in Harrisburg, would strike us as bizarre...