I have this newspaper picture framed:
The article, which I believe ran in what was then the Monadnock Ledger, went like this:
Junkyard owner Daniel Kingery can strip used cars, but he can’t host strippers, according to zoning board members. The board on Tuesday rejected an appeal by Kingery, who sought to run a strip club in his junkyard by calling it a “cultural facility.” He had been told by the town’s code enforcement officer to close his club on Route 202 North. But Kingery argued his business is a cultural facility, like a musuem, which is permitted in a rural zone. Town officials said there’s nothing “cultural” about strippers dancing in a junkyard, and the zoning board agreed. They ruled Kingery’s business has no place in a rural zone and is banned by an anti-pornography zoning law that voters adopted last month. The board said Kingery offered no evidence that his club is cultural, and that is was clear from his testimony that it was sexually oriented. Kingery said he would appeal to Hillsborough County Superior Court.
In the picture, he’s attempting to make his case by reading the dictionary entry for the word “cultural.”
And that is why I’m not going to vote today.
Okay, okay, so I’ll vote today. But I’m not going to like it! I’ll tell you why.
It’s because you and I are the people on the zoning board. We have a day job, right? We’ve been working all day, and we really just want to go home and have a burger and a beer and watch some stupid TV. But it’s an election year, so purely out of an inescapable sense of civic duty, we put on a clean shirt and head out to the town hall. And there we sit in a cold, metal folding chair, listening to Dan Kingery read the defnition for “culture” out of the dictionary.
Maybe you’re the Sipowicz-like guy in the foreground, with his orthopedic sneakers and his forbearing face of stone, willing to listen forever as the guy buries himself in his own b.s. Maybe you’re the stringy old man with the work shirt and the razor-sharp part in his greasy old hair, who’s participating mostly out of spite. Maybe you’re the wounded-looking matron who’s heard this kind of nonsense one too many times, and just wants to sign a petition for a new wheelchair ramp in front of the library and go home. Or maybe you’re the trunk-legged old bat at the end of the row, who’s happily drawing kitties in her notebook as the meeting goes on and on and on.
Point is, this is you, the voter: the one with the decency to show up one more time, drum up a little faith in the system, donate a few more hours of your precious time in case someone has something useful to say to you.
And you know who the politicians are. They’re all Dan Kingery. Doesn’t matter how you vote — this is, more or less, who you’re voting for:
The guy didn’t even wash his beard before coming to the meeting. He didn’t even put on his best flannel shirt. The Dan Kingerys who want your vote have already set up this hideous junkyard in your backyard, and there’s nothing anyone can do about that — but now they’re trying to bring in strippers, too.
Because there’s two things he believes: that he deserves to get what he wants, and that everyone else is some kind of idiot. Their only plan is to make this county a little bit crappier, but they won’t be satisfied with that — they have to try and make it seem like they’re doing you a favor, too.
Man, I wish there were a way of giving someone, like, a stink vote. Like: okay, you get my ballot, but you need to know that you are not fooling me for one second. You need to know that I will vote for you because your stench isn’t quite as stenchy as the guy from the Stench Party.
But just because I voted for you, that doesn’t mean I think you smell all right. You don’t get my trust, you don’t get my support, you don’t get my approval. All you get is my stinking stink vote.
I’ll vote, I’ll vote! Now leave me alone.