Being a 40-year-entitled boob myself, it is rare that I come across the entitlements of others, and am left mouth agape. It takes a special person to ever cause me to reel back and think, “My lord, can this person be serious?!” But recently I encountered a fellow entitled boob, and she was firing on all cylinders.
The Place: A Manteca website dedicated to Neighborhood Watch. At its best, a valuable site to keep people updated as to the goings on in our Family City. At its worst, a sort of online coop full of hens and roosters clucking non-specifics like — “I saw a suspicious man on a bike in the Trailwood area.” Or my personal favorite — “Did anybody else hear that loud noise about 20 minutes ago?” These Colombo-like clues to solving local crime rarely bear fruit. But as we all know, people love a sounding board and feeling like they are contributing to the cause. Kudos to that. But sometimes the complainants in these kangaroo courts are pitching a suit that is so rooted in “entitled boobery” — it causes my soul to cringe.
Case in point: (a paraphrased version of a message on the site) “Hi everyone, I am new to the Manteca area, we live in a subdivision on the south side of town next to an orchard. And while I love passing by the beautiful almond blossoms on the way home from my Bay Area commute. There are currently several tractors kicking up dust, and being extremely loud – and it is 10:45 p.m.!! Who do I call? What should I do? Sincerely, E.B.”
The message had been posted nearly an hour before I arrived with mouth agape. I fully expected a barrage of “You live near an orchard, what did you expect?” or “Oops, is your Hummer H2 getting dusty?”
It was a group of fellow hens, ready to cluck and display their misinformed feathers. “Call the Sheriffs!”...”There should be an ordinance requiring these Farmers to shut down after dark”…or the coup d’cluck “I’d storm out there and give that farmer a piece of my mind....such a nuisance!”
I drew a deep breath, understanding that in this incident, there is a specific reason almond orchards are sprayed at night. The cooler weather cuts down on the evaporation process of what is being sprayed on to the trees. We were expecting rain within a few days, so time was of essence. Less wind. Less traffic to maneuver around when reaching the orchard’s end…etc. I tried to make these things clear to the group. But speaking logically to a coop caught up in the whirlwind of a cluckfest is a no win situation.
And the bawk bawks continued.
The Truth of the Matter: The economy of the entire Central Valley, nay, all of California – is rooted and reliant upon agriculture! You made the decision to move to what I’m certain you considered a quaint little hub east of the Altamont. If you indeed called the Sheriff, I wish I could’ve been a fly on his shoulder as he attempted to internalize the laughter at your complaint. If you’d like to pass a city ordinance requiring farmers to close up shop at dusk, please let me know what meeting you plan to attend. I need a good laugh.
And if you followed the advice to approach the farmer, and give him a piece of you mind – I say Thank You. The countryside out here is smaller than you think and I can’t wait ‘til the story trickles throughout.
ATTENTION Online Whiners . . . For those Manteca Bulletin subscribers that hold an actual newspaper in their hands, and read it the way God intended – on the toilet – I say Kudos! But there is a new seat occupier in town. The Online Reader. Let’s be honest. Within 15 years, (and probably less), there may no longer be a paper you can hold in your hand. I like many old souls, enjoy holding it in my hands. The new generation of “Onliners” will never know the joy of a half fold. Or even the rare perfect quarter fold. That way I can flip from a picture of Marty Steves selling a Jeep, directly to a story by Rose Albano Risso about what Father Walker and the St. Anthony’s congregation are up to this week. I like my paper in my hands. There is an art to reading a newspaper that this new era of “swipe left” Internet types will never understand.
I’ve recently encountered the most annoying of the new age online reader. The “Why isn’t it Free?” online entitled boob. They believe that since the Manteca Bulletin is available online, that it should be free. Huh? Did you skip class the day Business 101 was taight? The Manteca Bulletin is in the business of selling their stories and news articles. Period. Most the complaining I see is via their Facebook page. The one that highlights a few of the day’s articles, but directs you to the actual Bulletin website to read them. I saw someone write “but if it’s on Facebook it should be free!” Oh really?! I’ve seen a Facebook page for the Jack Tone Fruit Stand. It doesn’t mean when I walk in I’m entitled to a free bag of peaches. I realize that comparison is a little apples and oranges (produce stand pun intended) but it falls under the same tree.
The Bulletin website even allows for a few free reads a month. It’s n an attempt to wrangle you into purchasing an online subscription. For all you whiner: That’s called a “Loss Leader”. Sort of the way New Deal Market would have a sale on mayonnaise, but bump up the price on tuna. They are giving you free taste, in order to procure your business. Do you think the Bulletin pays their employees with pats on the backs, and high fives?! Jason Campbell can’t buy new Adidas running shoes if the Bulletin is giving away his articles for free.
Or maybe the Bulletin can go a step further. I can come by your home or work site, and read it to you. Hopefully after a few weeks I’ll be able to gain insight into which columns and articles tickle your interest in order to more adequately serve your time in a manner befitting a newspaper. In fact, I’ll see about the paper printing a special “Entitled Boob” Edition — one that caters to you, specifically. We can have the reporters call you periodically throughout the day, just to make sure you are in the news loop.
Or in the words of Jack Nicholson as Col. Nathan R. Jessup in A Few Good Men - “...I don’t give a damn what you think you’re entitled to!” So please shush and just buy the paper like the rest of us.
Quote of the Week...Had an experience today with “road calm”, a guy honked at me when I made a lane change. I waved in response. He waved back as in “we all have those moments.” Hats off to you red Minivan guy. Good humans are everywhere. — Chris Ricci
Condolences...On Super Bowl Sunday we suffered the loss of Rodney McCleary Jr. in a tragic accident. He was a true Manteca original. He could charm your pants off with the best of them – but he’d prefer to give you the shirt off his back. Always ready to pitch in and get his hands dirty. I recall on one occasion many years ago, Rodney saw a group gathered at my house and rolled in. As the sunset BS and horseshoe session started, Rodney noticed I had a kitchen cabinet that wasn’t closing correctly. And that was more than his handyman psyche could handle...So over the next few hours, he proceeded to pull half them down and reset hinges. Everybody kept telling him to get his butt outside and join the game...but he said “I started this project, so I’m damn well gonna’ finish it”...Thanks Rodney, the World needs more people like yourself. R.I.P. Brother.