Out Of Stock Pt. 2

(Con­tin­u­ing a paper for the 244th Con­gress of the Forum for Amer­i­can Folklore.) Sticky”

A city pro­ceeds as a poly­pus, and is always hav­ing throw­ing out ten­ta­cles as it thinks to go in more direc­tions. Any­thing it touch­es becomes stuck fast to it, and is indeed anoth­er link of chain, anoth­er cell’s‑worth of strength.

Ver­i­ty Den­ford, Tam­ing the Metropolis,” Draft­ing Table (Jan­u­ary 1941), p. 147. Takanakuy”

Pub­lic places, every time, appear to me as a bat­tle of all against all, the sort of bar­room fight in a West­ern pic­ture where every­one man­ages to get thrown through the win­dow, just to keep fight­ing in the street. Each man sets out to fight the man in front of him, and he only turns when a stray blow lands from anoth­er direction. 

-Del­bert Pinck­ney, Naked I Shall, Brock, 1952. Con­tract Bridge”

Imag­ine two sub­ur­ban neigh­bors. They start with unbuilt lots, and have to guess one another’s inten­tions. One plays two bed­rooms, and the oth­er answers with three. One plants two Japan­ese maples; the oth­er, only one. One fronts the street with five win­dows; the oth­er answers with seven. 

- Drea Tedeschi, What Devel­op­ment Wants,” Mast​head​.com, April 181999. Stock Photo”

…all the asset wants is to antic­i­pate some­thing that you’re already think­ing. It’s the same with hous­es. A devel­op­er knows that when you think of a house you are think­ing of a peaked box with three win­dows and a chim­ney and a front door in the mid­dle. They can meet you halfway there, but then you can’t get a good mason any­more for the chimney. 

-Eli­nor Pietrus­ki, Brac­ing for the Crash,” Cir­cuit (Novem­ber 1978), p. 29. Pen & Paper”

In a large, win­dow­less room, the com­mu­ni­ty sits in small groups at card tables, play­ing through fic­tion­al zon­ing appeals, reviews of ero­sion con­trol plans, and curb cut approvals. One com­mu­ni­ty leader at each table patient­ly leads the rest with the help of copi­ous notes.

-Del­la Drinck, New Pro­gram for Civic Engage­ment.” Boul­der Intel­li­gencer, May 30, 1995C1. Sealed”

The code to the city has been locked away in a safe. The safe is in an office, in a lit­tle bank build­ing, off on the edge of the city, up above the road on a lit­tle ridge. A few peo­ple work at this bank but one elder­ly man alone knows the com­bi­na­tion to the safe. Every morn­ing he comes to the office where the safe is and looks through a tele­scope, between two trees, at the city grow­ing beyond. He checks the results against the code and clucks to him­self every now and again.

Jane Bark­er, Fable,” 30 Sto­ries, Sut­ton Long & Sons, 1988, p. 40. Sweater”

Put on a com­fort­able sweater and ven­ture out on an aver­age day. The sweater will lend you an air of trust­wor­thi­ness and allow you to suc­cess­ful­ly approach any passer­by you may meet with. Don’t pass out fliers, don’t make demands – just extend a hand. 

-Charles F. Wrighton, A Neighbor’s Guide to Plan­ning Your Com­mu­ni­ty,” Our Home (July 1965), p. 14. Adver­si­ty”

Access to food, shel­ter, and med­ical care of the high­est qual­i­ty shall be guar­an­teed as a basic right, with the sole pro­vi­sion that every­one avail­ing them­selves of these ben­e­fits be made to appear as shab­by and deprived as pos­si­ble. The free hos­pi­tals shall be hid­den in cin­der-block ware­hous­es, and the win­dows of spa­cious duplex­es shall be cov­ered with ragged boards and old sheets.

Ian Chalke, Ley­lines, Du Fey, 2011.


(August 2023)