In pro comedy there are standard set-up lines – “guy walks into a bar with a parrot on his shoulder…” – “X, Y and Z are adrift in a raft….” – and “Chapel Hill Town Council decrees…..”. The familiar set-up alerts the audience to the upcoming punch line. It can be anything and, with the Chapel Hill Town Council, we do mean ANYTHING.
The Chapel Hill Town Council has voted to outlaw “using a cell phone while driving” within its city limits. Or is it “village limits” or “theme park limits” or “while in the asylum”?
Chapel Hill is the first municipality in America to try and do so. Chapel Hill was also the first municipality to declare Fidel Castro’s birthday as a town holiday – all the lunatic anarchists in front of the post office get to take the day off.
“Using a cell phone while driving a vehicle” is a really dumb thing to do. So is “watching The Bachelorette” ….. “voting for Sheila Jackson Lee”….. “believing anything you read in a McClatchy newspaper”…… and “agreeing to serve on a Homeowners Association board”. Some people do these dumb things in spite of the abject dumbness of them.
At $25/infraction, the first football gameday in September should generate enough revenue to put a retractable dome over Franklin Street and outfit the entire Town Council in original costumes from The Mikado.
Declaring doing a dumb thing illegal doesn’t deter folks from doing it, but rather adds a sort of rascally excitement to it. Intentionally violating a minor law ($25 fine) when the odds of not getting caught are waaaay in your favor appeals to the “inner Bandit” in all of us. Or “the inner Thelma & Louise” for the she-folks among us.
Burt Reynolds didn’t care one way or the other about the 18-wheeler loaded with Coors; he just wanted to best Sheriff Jackie Gleason…. see if he could get away with it. That’s how most normal folks will treat this latest stunt by the bungling burgermeisters of “Berkely With Pine Trees”.
Why does a hound dog lick himself….. or the Chapel Hill Town Council pass goofy laws ??? Because both “can”. We mean no offense to the noble “hound dog”.
“Chapel Hill is a zoo” has become a trite phrase thanks to Chubb Sewell 40 years ago. It wasn’t Jesse, it was Chubb but that’s a moot point. I prefer to think of Chapel Hill as “a theme park”.
Imagine a giant subterranean staging warehouse under the quaint village. Employees (known as the village people…. ouch!) enter each day thru a secret portal under John Edwards’ racquetball court at The Compound off Old Greensboro Road.
Each one is assigned his/her “character” to play that day. Each is cross-trained for five different characters such as “crazy earth mother” ….. “indignant feminist”….. “Patty Hearst wannabee”….. “clueless coed”….. and “frightened lady who took wrong turn off I-40”. They get into the costume for their character du jour and go up into the park to play that role. Some characters get to rant and rage at visitors. Others are only permitted to glare and snort.
The primary requirement to be a “Chapel Hill village people” is take yourself very very very seriously. Reek with pretentiousness and a faux air of superiority over all you survey. Having a naturally pointy-head and beady eyes helps but make-up can do wonders.
NOTE: I have give-take 75 or so dear friends who are CH village people. Are they offended by the above? Who do you think supplied me the inside info?
Chapel Hill’s cute little council “outlawing cell phoning while driving” doesn’t bother me at all. The town of Salem once burned witches. Nancy Pelosi wanting to use her cell phone while riding her broom down Rosemary Street should know better. Fly down to Pittsboro where it’s legal. Or over to Durham but only if the witch is packing heat.
One of my spies got me a copy of other upcoming silly laws by the Chapel Hill Town Council:
No citizen can be named Mitt, Mike (K) or “Christian” either as an adjective or first name.
No “right-turns” permitted at any time for any reason ever.
Fraternities and Sororities can no longer refer to their membership drives as “rush”. The town and the university will immediately distance themselves from them if they do.
There are two groups of people in this world:
(1) Those who think what happens in Chapel Hill “matters”…..and
(2) All the rest of us.