EDITOR'S COLUMN Oak Harbor has a whatever system

Our series of columns on Oak Harbor’s basic services hit a bump in the road when a highly placed civil authority declined to talk about one particular service that could conceivably become the target of a terrorist attack. The public could find this news alarming, but don’t despair. As we have already written about sewers and garbage, you can feel confident terrorists are not lying in the weeds waiting to blow up city sewer lines and garbage trucks. But, if they did, could you imagine the reaction? Anthrax is one thing, but fearing that our sewage and garbage are unsafe could set off a national panic. The federal government would require us to keep all our sewage and garbage safely in our houses until the FBI could check it out, and garbage haulers of foreign birth would be hauled before tribunals for interrogation and possible execution.

Fortunately, we’re not worried about sewer and garbage. It’s the other basic service on your bi-monthly bill from the city that concerns us, and for the sake of national security I more or less agreed not to write about it, particularly because those in the know had orders not to talk about it. Meanwhile, Oak Harbor residents keep using it, and there’s even a big seminar on it scheduled for Dec. 8 at Oak Harbor High School. Unfortunately, for security reasons, I can’t tell you what it is.

I use a lot of this stuff myself, but since learning it could be the target of terrorists I’ve quit thinking about it, at least by name. Whenever the substance comes to mind, I just think “whatever” instead of the specific substance. Then, should a terrorist overhear my ruminations, he’d thinks this “whatever” stuff is pretty important, but where can you find it to blow it up? Don’t ask me.

Now that I find myself writing a column about something I can’t mention, I’m left with a lot of space to fill. Whatever is a big subject, but it’s hard to discuss without mentioning it. So maybe I’ll use the rest of this space to acquaint readers with some of my favorite works of art, so you can better get to know your new editor. Some censorship will be required when whatever is mentioned, of course.

I’ve always had a fondness for good ol’ country music, before radio ratings and record sales forced it to get citified. My partiality for country started many years ago when my father bought our family’s first stereo console, which came with five free records. One was an album by Sons of the Pioneers, featuring their number one hit with the popular refrain, “Cold, Clear, Whatever.” I could imagine those pioneers riding along the plains, searching for whatever, and finding it cold and clear. From those early days, I’ve had a fondness for whatever in the arts.

In high school, I was introduced to the great English poets, and I particularly related to Samuel Coleridge, author of The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. It still resonates with me today, especially since we live on an island surrounded by whatever. Who can forget that famous verse, “Whatever, Whatever Everywhere, But Not a Drop to Drink?”

My taste in films is unique, as I consider Kevin Costner’s “Whatever World” one of the greatest pictures of all time. A world consisting entirely of whatever was particularly appealing for someone with my life-long appreciation of whatever, so perhaps I am biased. But I love it when whatever falls from the sky, as happens frequently around here, and as far as I’m concerned, the more whatever the better. Kevin Costner’s Whatever World was just another name for heaven.

Well, I’ve filled up my allotted space without once mentioning the subject I’m writing about, therefore city and national security have not been breached. Next week, we’ll take a look at the Oak Harbor Police Department. Nobody’s worried that terrorists will mess with them.

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