Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Slapstick Shanagans Stall Selectmens Meeting

As it says in the "Welcome" words to this Blog, I don't have a political agenda, and I am not one to embarrass town officials, some can do that very well on their own. That being said, I am, however, one to seek out stupidity, and silliness, no matter who is at fault, and bring it to light.

Last night we had just such moment here in town.

The writers strike may still be on, but we aren't hurting for good sketch comedy here in Sturbridge. (See previous posting regarding incident at Board of Selectmens meeting.)

When a town official is making a presentation to a board, or talking to another official during a recess, it takes a person with either enormous brass ones, or very little gray matter, to heckle the official, and to call him "Bozo". And not to do it just once, but a few times!

Then there is the person being heckled going over to the heckler and getting himself slapped silly.


You just don't walk into a mine field unprepared hoping you don't get blown up. If you do, then you deserve to be blown up no what matter your intentions are.

Now what do we do about this kind of behavior? Simple. We stop it dead in its tracks. Now.

"Dad. You can't come to the Board meetings anymore."
"Why? I didn't do anything."
"Dad, don't give me that. You provoked someone, and called them a "Bozo".
"Well, he is, and he touched me, too."
"Dad, you slapped him like a bad prom date. You can't come anymore"
"My daughter's a lawyer, you know!"
"I know, Dad."

Now, as far as the official goes:

"OK, next time you are heckled from the audience, just continue on with your conversation, or presentation, and ignore them. Then sit your ass down. No going back to the heckler, no reply comments. Nothing. Present, and sit. That's it. Then go home and write about the incident in your blog. You got it?"
"But he called me "Bozo"!"
Well, maybe it's time to take off the rubber nose, funny wig and large shoes."
"I don't wear those!"
"Anytime we draw attention to ourselves we wear a costume. To that guy, your wearing a red nose, greasepaint, and large red shoes. Can't change his perception, unless you change how you are perceived."

Actually, I can't imagine either of those conversations ever happening. As a result the behaviors, both at the meetings and away from town hall, will perpetuate.

But, we don't have to have the behavior interfere with our town government. It takes forever to get things done here in town as it is, don't delay the process any further with side show shananagans. If the crowd becomes unruly, then the moderator must throw them out of the meeting. If an official gets out of hand, the same applies. Suspend them like the NHL suspends a player. You don't come back for two meetings, or three. That's it. Then move on with the agenda. If we have to start paying a patrolman to be at the meetings, then so be it. And, they have tasers.

We elect, and appoint officials based on their experience and intellect. Common sense, or lack of it, is something we don't see until after they are in their position. If they lack it, and are unable to get some, then we have the power to use ours and not re-elect them, or re-appoint them.

So, I guess this whole ugly event comes back to rest on our shoulders. We either ignore the behavior and it becomes worse, or we don't allow it.

And, if they behave themselves in the Town Hall, but still want to "meet at the bike rack after school", then so be it.

They're on their own time then.


  1. This is absolutely embarrassing incident not only for me, but the entire town. I considered carefully the ramifications of going forward with a criminal complaint as well as the ramifications of failing to do so.

    In my view, the consequences of allowing this type of behavior to go unanswered would merely strengthen the message that individuals may be subject to physical attack when their viewpoint is counter to that held by others in attendance.

    It is regrettable and most unfortunate that the town is being subjected to this and it is my sincerest hope that it will be quickly resolved so that we can concentrate on the issues that lay ahead.

    I am hopeful that we can all take something valuable from this and that perhaps we can foster a more tolerant approach to issues. Certainly I shall be focused on such.

    I want to assure your readers that I did not in any way physically or verbally assault the other party as now claimed.

    Yet in the bigger scheme of things the really important thing is that this entire event should never have happened as it is hurtful to all of us.

    I appreciate your blog approach to this as it sheds light on just how ridiculous things appear from the outside looking in. Given all that is going on, it is a great insight to see just how distracting these "slapstick shanagans" really are.

    Regardless of the culpability of the other party here, I would love to be able to turn back the clock and have stayed home that night. Good Lord, the Patriots were on and I missed the entire first half, just to end up in the middle of a storm.

    I really do enjoy your blog. Keep on writing.

    T. Creamer a.k.a. Bozo

  2. Well, said Mr. Creamer.

    At times we tend to set ourselves up. We need to look at everything that we touch, or are involved with, and see just how it will affect us in other things we pursue. That doesn't mean give up things that we believe in, such as our approach to the truth around town government. Being aware that our values may indirectly incite others to attack us is all we need to know, that and how to respond to them is necessary. No, on the contrary, we should remain steadfast in our beliefs, and if someone gets "out of hand", then we must know from the instant it happens what would be the best approach, and what would be better than that. Otherwise, everything we fight for is for naught. Not taken seriously.

    I agree, you were in a tough position the other night, and if you were struck, then the filing of charges is the right thing to do. Behaviors like that should not be tolerated. Although calling someone a name during a recess could be construed as "free speech", it still is a hurtful, and destructive thing. Nothing gained from it.

    I appreciate your candor. I know the readers will as well.


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