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November 13, 2007

Welp’s Louisville:The scourge of sarcasm

Last week, just as I was about to have a great idea for Kentucky, a news item interrupted me to report that Kentucky was looking for great ideas. The Kentucky Chamber of Commerce has been collecting ideas for most of this year to hand over to our new governor before he has a chance to ruin everything. And the chamber people must be really prescient because they’ve apparently known for most of the year that we were going to have a new governor. OK, maybe that didn’t take so much foresight. The chamber’s “New Agenda for Kentucky” includes some interesting proposals. One clever citizen suggested raising switchgrass for biofuel in interstate medians, instead of just mowing the grass all summer long. Another citizen touted state-of-the-art distance e-learning to educate teachers in Kentucky’s rural areas, where teachers are in short supply. And another advocated year-round school, which would not only reduce our kids’ uneducatedness, but also increase parental run-around-the-house-naked days. To read all the good ideas (and the bad ones), visit www.newagendaky.com. Meanwhile, the grassroots religious organization CLOUT (www.cloutky.org) announced its intention to present state and local leaders with advice on the healthcare crisis, which may require the “wallop upside the head” — as opposed to the “power and influence” — meaning of the word “clout.” Being a big fan of its own ideas, my mind began reeling with some suggestions for the governor-elect. Good ideas, like: Take the tax money away from basketball and give it to teachers. Festoon the Ten Commandments monument with brachiopods. Tell the U.S. government no more cheap coal until they destroy the weapons of mass destruction stored in Richmond. Make everyone involved in mountaintop removal mining rebuild the mountains using sporks from Orange Julius. Raise the cigarette tax $4 per pack and spend the proceeds on cancer hospitals. When smokers’ nicotine buzzes start to wear off, encourage them to spin in circles really fast like toddlers to simulate the effect without the poison. To help the farmers, legalize marijuana, regulate its potency, tax the bejesus out of it, help Eastern Kentucky become the Napa Valley of weed, sell it to all the ADHD tourists and watch it bury the commonwealth in such an avalanche of cash that each hillbilly has his own cee-ment pond and master’s of science in botany. Use the proceeds to fund Head Start, full-day kindergarten and higher ed. Place a 100-percent surcharge on the sales of all high-emissions vehicles and give the money to TARC. Pipe in some Big & Rich and Kelly Clarkson on those TARC buses to lure middle-class white people on board. Make it illegal to wear more than one article of UK or U of L attire at once, including accessories and tattoos. Make naps mandatory. Legalize gay marriage, formally apologize to all the gay people for abusing their civil rights, and save us the trouble of doing it in 20 years. Require the doors on fast-food restaurants to be too narrow for fat people to get in. Offer Northern Kentucky to Ohio in exchange for Bengals tickets, then scalp the Bengals tickets and use the money to go to the movies. See? Tons of good ideas. But the governor-elect would be foolish to ignore a new scourge facing the commonwealth: sarcastic hospital workers. This harrowing problem came to light last week when the family of Linda Long of London, Ky., sued Marymount Medical Center in London, in part because its employees “snickered and made derogatory comments” about her religion. Long, who was suffering from a rattlesnake bite to her face, sought care at the hospital after attending church services at the East London Holiness Church, then died en route to Lexington, where hospital workers are also notorious cutups. Now, as any self-respecting snake handler knows, a snakebite is God’s will. It’s pretty much the whole point of snake handling. Perhaps we are asking too much to expect our healthcare workers to interfere with God’s will AND keep a straight face. That’s an issue I hope Kentucky will give the attention it deserves. Do you have ideas for the new governor? E-mail me. Contact the writer at citystrobe@leoweekly.com