Tuesday, April 27, 2010 Opinionesque • If somehow you could pack up your sorrows

Publisher’s note: This story originally appeared in the Tuesday, April 27 edition of the Lassen County Times.

I’ve got a friend — a long time Susanville resident — who’s become a real hater of our community.

Lately he’s been complaining about the good old boys, the corruption, the disintegrating business climate, the secret courts in Nevada that hide criminal convictions of Lassen County’s elected officials and a litany of other crazy, local conspiracy theories. Obviously, the negativity has taken over his consciousness.

Now he says he wants to move to Chico as soon as he can so he finally can enjoy the spectacular and wonderful life he deserves and is denied simply because he’s stuck here in awful Lassen County. While I’d hate to lose a good friend and watch him leave town in a huff, I certainly don’t want him to see him stick around here where he’s miserable, either.

We don’t see Susanville the same way, that’s for sure. Frankly, the longer I live here, the more I appreciate our way of life. I’ve always joked I wouldn’t want to move to Chico unless I could own a bar so I could get rich selling lots of alcohol to the college kids, but that’s not really much of a joke. I don’t want to say anything bad about Chico because the city certainly doesn’t deserve any criticism from me, but I can’t imagine it as the number one prime place on the planet to live. For those of us who have lived in big cities that truly offer lots of things to do, Chico remains a pretty provincial place.

Hey, it’s mighty easy to beat up on the good old boys — they’re such a soft target. Yeah, they’ve been here forever and they have lots of money and power. If you take the time to look, you’ll find those same old family names everywhere — generation after generation, in fact.

They’re the athletes in the schools. When they get older they find the time to coach the youth sports teams. They join the service organizations such as Rotary, the Elks, the Masons and others. They get elected to public office. They serve on the commissions and the boards, often without any significant pay, selflessly helping this county move forward. They turn out in droves when there’s a community fundraiser or function.

Are some of them bad apples who take advantage of the system, abuse their standing in the community and cash in on their status? Yep. But for every stinking bad old boy you can find, I’ll bet you I can find couple of dozen good ones.

These folks are the movers and shakers in our community. Let me say thank you to all of you for all you do. You make our community a better place to live. You make a difference, and your contribution is recognized by nearly everyone.

Sure, we’re struggling economically here in Susanville — just like the rest of the country. The world. We’re not alone in that. From what I hear, we’re holding our own. The other day I even heard about a new business coming to town. Money’s tight, but we’re surviving. We’re not ready to give up and throw in the towel yet.

And I’m sure by now everyone in town has heard all the rumors about the secret courts in Nevada for California’s public officials, the law enforcement officers being arrested for drunk driving and drug possession who never face any consequences, the judges who aren’t really judges anymore and hoards of federal agents swooping through town dropping indictments everywhere they go in an effort to finally root out all of the corruption once and for all.

You know, we hear these same rumors here at the newspaper. In fact, every time we hear one, we check it out because if any one of them were actually true, it would be front-page news. Talk is cheap. Unfounded rumors are even cheaper. Next time you hear something that seems too outlandish to be true …

Honestly, I don’t want to be mean to my friend, but if you really hate it here so much, maybe you should pack up and leave. They say the grass is always greener on the other side. I wish you every happiness and joy.

Ah, and once you find yourself choking and sweating in smoggy old Chico, just think about all the lovely parking tickets you can collect. Now there’s something for you to complain about!