It happened again. Somebody used “that” word right in front of me. They didn’t even have the tact or shame to say it under their breath. He just blurted it out in mixed company, as if his level of comfort with it somehow gave him license to spread it to others in our community. It is a word I despise as much today, as the day I heard it for the first time. It is a word so ugly and pervasive, it should required to carry a bar of soap when using it.
The word is “Mantweeka”.
The sound of the word “Mantweeka” makes my soul cringe. It causes a sort of a “chicken or the egg” effect inside me – as I don’t know which to hate first – the word or the person using it. I realize it is just a tongue in cheek attempt to flippantly mock the situation around us, but that situation has reached dire straits. The Meth Epidemic is not an issue that is solely inherent to our town yet somehow we’ve decided to coin a saying that makes us the capital of it. The Methlehem if you will. If you are using this word, you are part of the problem. You are effectively creating a culture of tolerance and acceptance for something very ugly. Meth has reached a social plight status in this neck of the woods – yet people continue to trivialize it with a cute nickname?! We are in need of a serious culture change.
The tolerance of apathy – breeds apathy...I have nieces and nephews growing up in this town and I will make darn sure this is a word they are never comfortable with. Ask yourself what you would do if you heard your 10-year-old son or daughter using the word “Mantweeka” with frequency? I’d assume you’d put a stop to it?! I understand the need, at times, to have an uncomfortable laugh over an intolerable issue, enough is enough. There should be a level of pride we have in our town — one that we cultivate not only amongst the adults, but one that is broadcast down to our future Mantecans.
And I’m by no means suggesting we act like Manteca Ostriches and bury our head in the sand to the problem. That is something we’ve done the last 25 years, and now the problem is at our doorstep. But bestowing an ugly nickname on it only gives it ownership over us. We don’t give stupid nicknames to problems like racism, homelessness, and poverty…I don’t hear anybody attaching other cute colloquialisms to the terrible things Meth addicts do in Manteca. I don’t look at a group of late night tweekers gathered on bikes behind Target, and think “Swingshift Bike Club” and when I read in the paper that a group stole all the electrical wiring from the MRPS Hall, I don’t think to myself “Oh crap, we got ‘Tour de Franced’ by Team Copperhead” (or “Lance Armstronged” not sure which one works better) My point is, we need to slowly begin creating a positive change. Allowing a word to define our town – no matter how stupid the word is intended to be – gives that word, and the problem it describes ownership over us.
Think back to 25 years ago. If you traveled outside of our area, and introduced yourself as being from Manteca, you’d be met with an “Oh the waterslides” or “Man that place stinks!” I can honestly say the latter of those two, used to give me a strange sense of pride. The days when you knew you were home by the smell of the 99 corridor. Well, that smell has changed and now it reeks of ether and paint thinner or whatever the local meth cook is tossing in this week’s batch.
There aren’t many option you have as a citizen to stifle the problem. We look to our local law enforcement agencies to keep a lid on a problem that is bubbling over, but there is one small step you can take. Stop using the word “Mantweeka.” It may seem like a small insignificant thing, but I believe in a trickledown effect and if the kids in this town see that the adults don’t care, how can we expect them to break the cycle? So the next time you hear someone use that word, let ‘em know — “The name is Manteca – get it straight or you and the problem can peddle your backside right down 99 on the way out!”
The Sky is falling...I watched last week from a field near DVI Prison in Tracy as a group of skydivers fell to Earth. My first inclination was to head for cover. I’d seen the movie “Red Dawn” recently and have been waiting for the Russians to attack since ’84, but much to my surprise they were Americans and regular Joes to boot. That’s right folks, there is a new Skydiving business opened just 4 miles out of town on Kasson Road. Skydive California is the name. So who has the guts? Manteca to a T is looking for a partner in crime Where are my Jumpers at?! California Skydive (209) 835.7474
Quote of the Week...”The difference between stupidity and genius – is that genius has its limits” — Albert Einstein
The Manteca Mural Society Fundraiser May 23: MMS is continuing the ambitious Veterans Mural Project on the east-facing wall of the Bedquarters parking lot. They are raising funds for the WWII Salute to Veterans. The cost for all the murals is approximately $125,000 and they hope to finish them in conjunction with the Centennial of Manteca in 2018. The MMS is patterning a fundraiser similar to that of the fire department and calling it “Fill the Helmet.” Volunteers from the American Legion Post 249 and the VFW will don military gear and ask for contributions for this project. We will have one or two volunteers posted at each corner. Additionally we will encourage people to come by the BQ parking lot and get information about the Veterans Mural Project and the MMS. BBQ and free hot dogs.
For additional information contact Tom Wilson, Vice-President Manteca Mural Society, 209.988.1971
“It’s not Where ya do, It’s What ya do”