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Small town life ... lessness.

by effenheimer at 10:52 AM on May 15, 2003

Like I've said, I work a smallish daily newspaper in a city of about 60,000 that serves southwest Iowa. I write features and columns, which are my first love and, frankly, priority. I'm the only columnist worth a shit at my paper, the rest are all about what you would expect talking about how to bake a fucking pie and what color their kid's poop is. As a gesture or pathetic attempt to make me think they were working to help me become syndicated, my paper started running me in a couple of other papers that we own.

Now those papers are in REALLY small towns with weekly papers that make my paper look like the New York Times by comparison. The only lefties in town work at the paper and like to run my stuff, but they are also torn because they know that if I write something about how it is wrong to have a white's only prom, it won't be well accepted out in the sticks where they consider a person of color to be an Irish guy with freckles.

So I wrote a piece about prom and in it I mentioned what is pretty much an undeniable fact that some kids have sex on prom. In fact, some kids use prom as an excuse to have sex for the first time. It's like a practice wedding and that means gettin' laid.

Well, apparently the good people of Shenandoah (how perfect is that?) were so concerned by this revelation that they had to put it on the agenda at the next city council meeting. Apparently, they thought that in a town of a few thousand people that has NO CABLE and nothing else of interest to do that kids would somehow be LESS tempted to screw than if they had ANY KIND OF DISTRACTION WHATSOEVER! It strains reason frankly to think that in the 2k3 there are people who still think that the sticks are place where virtue lasts forever. If anything, more kids per capita screw and do drugs in the country and small towns than in large cities because the social network is so much tighter. Every kid knows every other kid. If there are 40 kids in your graduating class, nothing happens in a vacuum. If one girl discovers sex, you can bet every guy in school will know about it and want a piece. This will in turn make every other girl realize that if she wants a boyfriend she "better give up the goods." Next thing you know, the seniors are plucking the juniors, the juniors are plucking the sophomores and so on and so forth.

There is this stereotype that life is good and pure in the sticks. I have never known that to be true.

So now, in an attempt to practice my skills of manipulation, I will give the good folks of Shenandoah their own column filled top to bottom with all the bullshit aphorisms they like to hear. Hot apple pie with vanilla ice cream. Drinking coffee at the diner listening to the wisdom of the ages courtesy of the local farmers. Going to church on Sundays... and Wednesdays ... and whatever other night people go to church. Swimming out to the old fishin' hole and bangin' fat Debbie Gronstal in her dad's tractor shed, the smell of diesel fuel igniting our senses.

comments (8)

Yeah there's that myth of the idyllic rural life. But my seven year stint in the sticks was pure hell. Oh sure, some country girls are easy but that's just cuz they're bored.

by Anna at May 15, 2003 6:24 PM

That's some scary shit man...

by LOCKHEEd at May 15, 2003 6:39 PM

Go Eff! You've shattered their smug little bubbles. Now rub it in their faces. That's what I love about journalism, and I mean it. ;)

by jean at May 15, 2003 9:04 PM

Those are the same people that never let their kids watch TV or listen to that rock music, and then these people expect their kids to be able to function when they're released into the real world, but instead they become axe murderers.

by Linz at May 16, 2003 9:01 AM

Or maybe they aren't the same but damn, I hate those people.

by Linz at May 16, 2003 9:01 AM

I lived in Missouri Valley Iowa for about 4 years. The city council there managed to get MTV taken out of the cable lineupe because of Beavis and Butthead. The question is, how the hell was it any of their business? How towns like this survive is beyond me. Everybody worth a damn leaves at 18 and never comes back and if they stay, they are no credit.

by eff at May 16, 2003 10:47 AM

Dude, you've got issues about being from a small town. This is your problem, and not the problem of people who live in these small towns where your columns come out. I've lived in small towns, suburbia, and the big city. Everywhere you go, there are teenagers who have sex. They did when I was in school, and they do now. Big deal. You know what though? Yes, there are also kids in small towns who get pregnant at 15. That also happens everywhere. There are kids in small towns who do drugs...and adults too. That also happens everywhere. All you hear about on the news, on TV, and in music and movies is negative crap, sensationalism, and violence and sex. What you ought to be doing...What more people ought to be doing is being different and putting something good out into the world. Stop putting out crap. Being a pessimist and writing pessimistic things does not make you a brilliant journalist. Neither does being "shocking and scandalous." I think there is a place for small town stories about apple pies and ice cream, the local small town sports column, and other things you appear to deem boring and bland. Those are actually welcome stories to some people. If you don't like it, move. The whole "shock-the-small-town-folk" thing is highly overrated. Move, or just continue to write your little stories in Iowa. Either way, seek therapy.

That's how I see it.

by Melissa at December 5, 2003 2:10 PM

Dude, here is a question I would like an answer to- Where did you get the last name Gronstal from in this? I'm only curious because it's my last name and there really aren't that many of us around...

by SEG at January 16, 2004 1:24 AM

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