Press “1” for World Peace

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Full disclosure: I count Tom Murphy as a friend. I think he’s a terrific Town Moderator. Of course I haven’t lived in Ipswich long enough to have experienced any other Town Moderator, and where I come from they don’t have Town Moderators, so I may not be the best judge of Town Moderators. But from everything I can see, Tom is totally earning what we pay him, which is just under 68-1/2¢ a day.

Anyway, I’m inclined to trust Moderator Murphy’s judgment, especially when he’s judging a matter I don’t know much about, and this would include electronic keypad voting in Town Meeting.

The idea was originally proposed by the great gadfly-citizen Phil Goguen; it was one of the rare moments when Phil has supported anything that would cost any money: The shock of it actually showed up on the Richter scale.

FinCom and the Select Board have waved off keypad voting in the past because of the expense. To his credit, Moderator Murphy kept an open mind and explored the possibility, ultimately deciding that the voters should give it a whirl. The test, scheduled for our May 14 Town Meeting, will be free, compliments of the keypad-seller. The idea is, once you taste it for free, you can’t help but go back for more, even if you have to pay for it. It’s like cocaine in my old neighborhood in Chicago, or those bits of Asian food on toothpicks they give you in the food court at the mall.

I hope the keypad-voting test goes well. I hope with the electronics, Town Meeting suddenly makes the jump into hyperspace, and the evening wraps up so quickly, the Town’s citizens become instantly addicted to warp speed.

And let me just suggest, by way of encouraging my fellow voters to relax and give this new drug a try, that I’m pretty sure this keypad-voting test is the result of scrupulous study and research by our diligent Town Moderator. If I know Tom, I feel almost certain that he is bringing us this test vote onlyafter reviewing and perhaps even personally experimenting with other forms of voting.

You realize, of course, that down through history, groups have been deciding issues by many different methods. Ipswich is fond of

(a) shouting “Aye!” or “Nay!” (a test of the citizens’ lungs and the Moderator’s ears),

(b) holding up brightly colored cards (a test of the tellers’ eyes, and their ability to count without their fingers) or,

(c) when necessary, keeping your neighbor from knowing the dark secrets of your soul by filling out a paper ballot.

But there are other options. For example:

Fighting. In olden days, public questions were sometimes decided by combat. I mean reallyolden days. People who felt one way chose a champion to representing them in a one-on-one fight; people who felt the other way chose their own champion, and hoped that their guy could beat the other guy. Think how much quicker it would be if we arrived at Town Meeting and, instead of 12 Articles, we simply go 12 rounds. The “aye” side chooses Mark Warner, the “nay” side chooses — well, just stay on the “aye” side, because the “nay” side is in trouble. Anyway, in the end, Moderator Murphy did not consider combat to be a practical choice for the Town of Ipswich. At least not officially. How you settle your issues with your next-door neighbor is your own business.

Smoke. Another olden-times communication device: smoke signals. Impractical at Town Meeting, you say? Not so. With the recent “vaping” craze comes the inevitable “vape-voting” system: I think you suck for “yea,” blow for “nay.” Or maybe it’s the other way around. In any case, I’m sure if the Town Moderator explored the possibility of vape-voting, he ruled it out for very good reasons.

Luck. The NFL has many layers of tie-breaking procedures to decide who gets into the playoffs; the official document governing tie-breaking is a 65-point outline nearly 1,200 words long. If two teams have the same record of wins and losses but also tied on a bunch of other, more obscure records — like the most total points scored minus points allowed among just the teams in their own conference — the 12th and final tie-breaker is literally a coin toss. Which is really, really attractive to me when it comes to Town Meeting, especially the two-night, 11 p.m. variety. I get dreamy thinking about the clock inching toward 10 p.m. and the Town Moderator saying, “Okay, folks, I got a nickel here. The Town Manager will call it in the air.” Heads, we build a new school. Tails, we sell Little Neck. Life is simple!

Miscellaneous.Of course the list of voting formats over the course of history is endless.

  • Rhythmic clapping.
  • Foot-stomping.
  • Leaning. Leaning works. If you already have tellers counting votes, why not save on paper and just have “ayes” lean one direction, “nays” in the other?
  • In some primitive areas, each voter receives a dove upon entering the forum, then you release your dove at the proper “yea” or “nay” moment. (The problem was that tellers had to count votes very, very fast. Also: high cost of birds.)
  • Hippie communes used to vote by waving cigarette lighters, after which it caught on at rock concerts.

But no. Keypads it shall be. Let the voters hold their handhelds and experience electronic ecstasy.

The May 14th Town Meeting will be fun. It will be an adventure. Arrive unbiased. Don’t wear gloves. Be ready to tap your keypad.

And by all means, get there early. Those slick keypads could have this thing all wrapped up by the time you find a parking space.

 

 

Doug Brendel lives on outer Linebrook Road, which has almost been reached by modern technology. Follow him here at Outsidah.com by clicking “Follow.”

 

 

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Pay no attention to that phantasmagoria behind the curtain

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The Internet is awesome. Now you can look up archives in advance. I looked up Ipswich 20 years from now, and it was fantastic.

Remember that little Bruni complex on Essex Road?

(Essex Road? you say. Well, most of us back here in 2019 just call it “133.”)

Hey, as it turns out, seems the Bruni complex expansion was a great idea.

I remember when neighbors were complaining about John Bruni building 200 rental units: townhouses, four-story apartment buildings, acres of parking spaces.

People were horrified because the beloved Bruni Marketplace — with its Lahey doctors’ offices, Zenobia gift store, Equestrian Shop, and Sterling laundry service — was going to be demolished and supposedly rebuilt.

Folks were nervous because the project seemed to keep expanding and expanding, and they couldn’t get answers about exactly how EXPANDED AND EXPANDEDthis project was going to finally get EXPANDED to.

Oh, if folks back then had only consulted the crystal ball of the Internet and feasted their eyes on what was to come!

They could have relaxed.

No, not just relaxed.

They could have reveledin the wonder of it all.

Here we are, a scant two decades down the road, and just LOOKat 40 Essex Road in Ipswich, Massachusetts!

You thought Trump had a big thing going in NYC?

Ha.

Small potatoes.

Bruni World is phenomenal.

It’s like Jordan’s, except you don’t have to drive so far.

Forget about Zenobia and the equestrians. This is no longer just a place to come to get your passport photo taken and to buy a salt lick.

The gleaming world-class high-rise office-and-condo structure at the heart of the Bruni complex has become an international attraction.

(I love how Topsfield teens sit on their rich parents’ rooftops to enjoy the laser-light show beamed from the now-famous Bruni “MassachusettSpire” every night.)

The shopping mall around the base of the skyscraper has not only totally revived Ipswich retail foot traffic (remember when businesses kept closing on Market and Central?), but also rejuvenated the entire U.S. shopping mall industry.

(Timemagazine’s cover story last week, February 1, 2039: “Bruni Boon!”)

Of course, there are inevitable downsides.

Ascension Church, on County Street, used to have some of the loveliest stained glass windows on the North Shore. The windows are still there, but sunlight no longer reaches them because of the enormous shadow Bruni World casts across much of central Ipswich.

(The Turkey Shore neighborhood has sure changed, too. Between New Hampshire residents driving down by the thousands to the Bruni World Casino — press the Floor 43 button in the elevator — and the death of all the trees along the river for lack of sunlight, property values have dropped an average of 4,000%. Still, the houses are really nice, and they’ll look even better once the owners can afford to paint them again, after the recent tax increase, which was needed to cover the cost of the Bruni World tax-exemption deal, which was totally necessary in order to keep Bruni in Ipswich, because that’s what a town does when it has a huge revenue-generator like Bruni World.)

I remember 20 years ago, back in 2019, when the big news was that John Bruni’s 40 Essex Road development proposal came under the state’s 40B law, which allowed developers to bypass most local zoning if 25% of the units were technically “affordable” ANDif the town’s housing stock was less than 10% “affordable.”

At the time, Ipswich’s technically “affordable” housing stock stood at 8.9%. So Bruni was able to, well, I won’t say “bulldoze,” but, yeah, “bulldoze.”

But look what we’ve got now, a scant 20 years down the line!

An internationally acclaimed leisure and vacation destination!

Hordes of people pouring in to our town to spend their money!

It makes me chuckle, thinking about my friend Keri MacRae, who used to be one of the neighbors owning property close to the new complex.

Back then, she expressed frustration with the Zoning Board of Appeals, “enlarging the plan, adding six more units, adding 22 more parking spots, adding 1,200 square feet of retail … not listening,” she said. She and many others were apoplectic about what appeared to be never-ending expansion of the Bruni proposal.

Oh my.

What a tragedy if we had actually listened to Keri MacRae, and curtailed the spreading of this splendor.

  • We wouldn’t have our spine-tingling Dunkin-sponsored “Espresso Express” rollercoaster, running from the pinnacle of Bruni World’s 50-story “Affordable Dream” tenement tower down to the front door of the Ipswich Public Library (featuring a newly legalized drive-through!).
  • We wouldn’t have the status of former President Justin Bieber landing at our Bruni International Heliport (where Gordon’s flower shop used to be) or Tom Brady’s grandchildren arriving in their limousines to ski at our new 666-unit Bruni Cable Gardens resort.
  • We wouldn’t have such fabulous skyways, complete with moving sidewalks, arcing from 40 Essex Road down to the newly reopened Bruni Candlewood Golf Club, over to the Bruni Ipswich Country Club, and up to America’s hottest new vacationland, Bruni’s Little Neck (ID required).

I’m so grateful Ipswich woke up, 20 years ago, before it was too late.

Sure, there’s the traffic congestion, the noise pollution, and somewhat of a public health crisis due to decreased air quality. And yes, the crime rate has ticked up a bit, but this is mostly from pickpockets working the covered pedestrian bridge that takes tourist families over Essex Road to the Bruni World Carnival where Corliss nursery used to be.

On the other hand, look what we’ve GAINED, people!

If we had remained mired in the concerns of mere abutters, we would have lost out on the unparalleled benefits — the sheer thrill — of Bruni World.

All because somebody was a little bit nervous, back in 2019, about a four-story building going up 20 feet away from a rural residential zone.

What a lack of foresight!

 

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Doug Brendel lives on outer Linebrook Road, just past the point where the sun will no longer shine if his Bruni World nightmare becomes reality. Follow Doug here at Outsidah.com.

 

Ipswich Builds a Wall

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There are three types of people in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

First, there are people who don’t use the parking lot at the train station because they have no use for a parking lot at the train station. They aren’t getting on the train, they’re not using the train to go to Boston or Newburyport or any point in between. This column is not about them. This column is about people who use the parking lot at the train station.

Second, there are people who use the parking lot at the train station. They commute into Boston on weekdays (saving thousands a year on city parking fees), or they go shopping somewhere along the Newburyport line, or they promised their snotty little nephew they’d take him to the Science Museum, and they can’t put him off any longer.

Third, there are the outcasts, the riff-raff, the wretched refuse of humanity. You might use the term “low-life.” Or even “scumbags.” No, of course, nobody calls you by these names to your face, if you’re in Category 3. But this is apparently the attitude of the Town of Ipswich toward you. In this third category are the folks who want to use the parking lot at the train station, they may even urgently needto use the parking lot at the train station, but they’re banned. Barred. Disqualified. Excluded. Forbidden. And that’s just the first six letters of the alphabet.

Why? you may ask. What crime did these folks commit? What wrongdoing could possibly compel the Town of Ipswich to go to the trouble of establishing actual legal barriers to keep these people from using the parking lot at the train station? Did these hooligans slash tires or spray graffiti on the benches? No. Did they park at an angle and use up two spaces? Wrong again. Don’t tell me they left an empty Zumi’s Macchiato cup on the platform!None of these.

The only people the Town of the Ipswich bars from parking on the parking lot at the train station are the people who want to park there overnight. Which means, by and large, people who work in Boston on the night shift. Those swine. Those no-good dirty rotten graveyard-shift overnighters. We’re talking maintenance workers. Cab drivers. Registered nurses. People who don’t have the common decency to get day jobs, so they can commute with the rest of us normal human beings.

I’m always interested in how underdogs get to be underdogs — this comes, perhaps from growing up in Chicago Cubs territory — so I summoned all my liberal courage and asked Ipswich Planning Director Glenn Gibbs why the Town of Ipswich discriminates against night-time commuters. Glenn is a good friend of mine, a fellow Episcopalian, and as far as I’ve seen, a straight-shooter. Also, he has announced his imminent retirement, so I felt reasonably sure that he wouldn’t take umbrage and pull strings at Town Hall to have me mercilessly persecuted.

Glenn was horrified. He had no idea. The very notion that parking is banned overnight on the parking lot at the train station was disturbing to him. He assured me he would check around with the proper authorities and report back to me to confirm. Overnight parking, he told me, must surelybe allowed on the parking lot at the train station.

Uh, sorry, wrong.

“It appears that there is a ban on overnight parking at the MBTA lot after all,” his email said. “Its apparent purpose is to avoid the problem of parkers staying into the morning peak period and limiting the number of paces available for morning commuters.”

Yes, that’s quite a problem: those damnable night-commuters not getting off their shifts and back on the train and into Ipswich station in time for the fine upstanding respectable daytimecommuters to find their parking spaces.

So the Town of Ipswich said, in essence, “We’ll build a wall.”

I realized as I read Glenn’s email what a blessing it is that the Town of Ipswich protects us from such a threat. A handful of parking spaces taken up by a few overnight commuters, when they’re needed by even the smallest percentage of our multitudinous daytime commuters, could devastate our local economy. Much wiser to force the overnight commuters to drive their cars into Boston, pay exorbitant parking rates, and live in relative poverty, so that the savings can go to the truly deserving: people who work in the daylight. The acceptable people.

“This is an issue that our Downtown Parking Study Committee will be reviewing in the coming weeks,” Glenn added. Well, okay, but I certainly hope that wisdom and justice will prevail, and those who are being rightly discriminated against will continue being discriminated against. Those graveyard shift losers need to know their place.

Sure, sure, I know what you’re thinking: This is a lawsuit waiting to happen. Any class of people unfairly prevented from accessing public services — they just hire a lawyer and off we go to court. But let’s not worry our pretty little heads. We can win this case. It’s entirely possible we’ll get a crooked judge.

 

 

Doug Brendel lives on outer Linebrook Road, far from the Ipswich train station. By the time he gets there, there’s hardly ever anyplace to park. Follow Doug here at Outsidah.com.

 

Driver, Do You Go to Utica?

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I have the occasional nightmare about being chased by police, but otherwise, I don’t believe I have anything that qualifies as a criminal tendency. So when I’m reading crime stories — I don’t mean the old-timey Dashiell Hammett novels and the Dick Tracycomic strip; I mean the real ones, at TheLocalNe.ws — I sometimes have a hard time understanding what I’m reading, or even believing what I’m seeing.

For example: Not long ago, a story out of Gloucester puzzled me. “A man accused of holding up a bank Monday morning was later found on a bus in Lynn,” it began. “The suspect had apparently ridden it there while trying to escape from Gloucester.” All of this attributed to the Gloucester Times.

So the robbery allegedly happened around 9 a.m. A man in his 30s “passed a note to a teller stating he had a weapon.” Police reportedly “dispatched multiple cruisers and investigators to the scene and to the area surrounding the bank.” There was surveillance video. There were witnesses. The suspect, as it turns out, was already “known to police.” His name and description were broadcast to law enforcement agencies in the area, and to state police.

At about this point, as I’m reading through the story, I’m thinking, If I’m doing this bank robbery, I’ve only got a couple of choices. I’m either planning to lie low — I’ve got a busty blonde girlfriend waiting for me in a garage somewhere in Dogtown, with a grease-soaked bag of gyros and a case of beer — or I’ve arranged a way to skedaddle out of town in a huge hurry: Assuming I haven’t stolen enough money to cover the cost of leasing a helicopter, I might still have a rented James Bond-type speedboat waiting in one of Gloucester’s 14,786 harbors — or maybe I’ve got a lead-footed henchman in a fast car ready to get me west fast. Lunch in Worcester. Yeah, baby. Count the money over a pastrami reuben at Deadhorse. Then head for the hills. Maybe even Schenectady.

But this was apparently not said perpetrator’s plan. The suspect “was located on a bus in Lynn.”

Not running from the bus.

Not shooting his way out of the bus.

Not clinging to the underside of the bus, like Keanu Reeves in that Speedmovie back in the 90s.

No.

Just sitting on the bus.

Probably paid for his ticket with stolen money.

Do your banking in Gloucester, and look where your money goes.

I don’t know what to make of this story. It’s probably too late to help the bus-riding bank robber of Gloucester, but I do feel I might be able to offer some small measure of wisdom to other bank robbers, here in the Cape Ann area, and possibly even beyond:

  1. First of all, if you need this kind of advice, bank robbing may not be the career for you. Go back to school. In Massachusetts, community college is cheap. Get a normal career. Carpenter. Barista. Think outside the banks. You’ll be happier.
  2. If you decide to forge ahead with your dream of robbing banks, delete your digital copy of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It’s not a good guide. If you back off your drinking enough to stay awake till the end, you’ll see that Paul Newman and Robert Redford actually end the movie somewhat badly. You don’t want to go there.
  3. Bank robbery is a speed-based enterprise. The bus is not about speed. You need a more nimble alternative. Think Uber. Think your sister-in-law’s pickup truck. Compared to the bus, you might more surely escape the scene of the crime hiding in the cab of a Marini tractor. Forget the bus system. It’s good for a lot of things, but not for bank robbery getaways. (Please tell me you didn’t pay your fare and then say to the bus driver, “Step on it!” That would be embarrassing.)

One final note: If they give you Internet access in jail, feel free to email me. We can talk. I’m concerned about how you’ll fare in prison, dude. I mean, come on. You robbed a bank, and then took the bus. Huh?

 

 

Doug Brendel lives on outer Linebrook Road, where the bus never goes. Follow him by clicking “Follow.”

 

I Loved How You Paused at Pineswamp

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Please help me.

I’m sitting in my car, head bent over the steering wheel, weeping and gritting my teeth.

Will somebody please explain to Ipswich drivers the concept of right-of-way?

I’ve tried, in many of my 266 previous “Outsidah” columns, to explicate this seemingly simple subject. But I guess there’s only so much education that can happen in a humor column. “Haha, look at that, the Outsidah thinks we should observe something called ‘right-of-way,’” readers seem to say whenever I write about it.

So it’s up to you, dear reader. Please, I beg you, please: It’s time to take matters into your own hands. As follows:

Please, somebody, explain to Ipswich drivers that when two vehicles are facing each other on Linebrook Road, preparing to cross Route 1 when the light turns green, the vehicle going straight across Route 1 has the right-of-way, while the one turning left onto Route 1 is obligated to wait — that means WAIT— which means SIT STILL— which meansYOU DON’T GO FIRST— until the car moving straight across Route 1 has passed you by.

It also means as I pass you going straight across Route 1 — exercising my right-of-way while you, dear left-turner, are sitting there waiting, with your left blinker blinking, signaling your intention to turn left onto Route 1 (yes, I see your turn signal; I understand your intentions, but this doesn’t change the fact that I HAVE THE RIGHT-OF-WAY) — as I head straight across Route 1, passing you, there is no call for you to blast your horn at me in indignation simply because I had the temerity to exercise my right-of-way and cross ahead of you, instead of pausing to “be nice” and let you turn left in front of me, in violation of the law. You jerk.

Coming of age in Chicago, learning to drive in the big city, did me no good when I arrived here in small-town New England. Here, drivers have an ongoing unofficial competition to see who can be nicest. In Chicago, when I was growing up, essential driving gear included a jack, a crowbar, and a gun. Here, drivers slow down at intersections to make sure there’s nobody coming from another direction whom they can demonstrate their niceness to. Oh, look! There’s a Volvo, heading my way, 110 yards off to the left! Maybe it’s someone I know! Maybe someone from my church! I’ll hesitate here and let them go first, just in case I cross paths with them at Zumi’s this week, and with a simple nod they’ll acknowledge that I’m officially “nice,” because I let them through the intersection ahead of me on Thursday afternoon.

Meanwhile, the traffic behind this nice person is backing up to Georgetown.

Somebody please explain to Ipswich drivers that the law is the law, and the overall fastest way for traffic to flow is if everybody obeys it, and if you don’t obey the right-of-way laws you are endangering yourself and all those around you. If you pause to be nice at an intersection when there’s no other reason to pause, the other drivers approaching that same intersection — including the string of vehicles closing in on your rear bumper — have no reason to assume you’re going to hesitate. They’re operating on the assumption that the law is the law. They’re not sitting there behind the wheel hoping you’ll have some beautiful opportunity to demonstrate your niceness to a random Buick crossing Broadway onto Brownville. They’re assuming you’re going to keep moving at a reasonable speed. When they plow into your backside, I predict your niceness will suddenly give way to rage — or at least despair. And honestly, I hope to be there, by some felicitous convergence of serendipity and cynicism, so that I can step up to the wreckage of your vehicle, first to inquire as to your well-being — “You all right? Okay, good” — and then to have the honor of pointing out that you got rear-ended only because you failed to observe certain traffic rules which extend back in history just about as long as we’ve had automobiles. To put it another way, you’re the ignoramus, not the guy who smushed you.

Not to mention the millions of dollars in lost revenue you’re costing Ipswich businesses, especially on weekday mornings, as you stall miles of traffic — dozens, maybe millions, of cars standing like gravestones behind you on High Street, or on South Main Street and County and Essex, or on Market Street and Topsfield Road.

Yes, I know. My wife has already scolded me. I write way too many “Outsidah” columns about traffic. On the other hand, I only speak the truth. Last week a guy stopped me in Market Basket and reminded me of a column I wrote years ago about a family stranded at the stop sign on Liberty Street, whose children graduated from Ipswich High School, went off to college, married, and had children — all while the family car was still sitting at the stop sign on Liberty, hoping to get out onto Lord’s Square. “We’re doing fine,” the guy told me. “Yeah, still there. Still hoping to move on, someday. But look!” he exclaimed, pulling an iPhone from his pocket. “I got pictures of the grandkids!”

See what I mean? If we don’t do something about the Ipswich traffic situation — if we don’t get people to observe the right-of-way regulations, so some sense of order is restored to our intersections and our emotional lives; if we don’t turn our one-way Liberty Street around, and make it go the opposite way, away from Lord’s Square, so people can finally escape; if we don’t begin driving the actual speed limit, instead of everybody doing 40 mph, regardless of whether the speed limit is 50 or 25 — we will doom our town to a suspended Brigadoon-like limbo. We’ll be trapped in a 380-year-old time warp, where our lives are permanently shackled to an arcane colonial-era system of convoluted rules and regulations utterly incomprehensible to all outsiders.

Oh, wait. That was the whole idea, wasn’t it?

Never mind.

 

Stranger Danger Re-Arranger

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My identity was stolen last week, and I’m so grateful.

When my bank notified me that someone had appropriated my Visa, I was horrified — because they wanted to prosecute the devil who did it.

“No!” I cried. “Wait!” I immediately realized that this might be my big chance. Could I let this guy keepmy identity? Take over the lease payments on my car? Answer my telemarketing calls? Put my kid through NYU? Could this be a way around buying my own Town of Ipswich surplus-garbage bags? There might even be a way to finesse this person into taking my workouts at the gym.

There was no issue about getting my money back. My bank offers “fraud protection.” (As it turns out, this phrase doesn’t mean what it actually says. They don’t protect fraud. They protect you fromfraud. It would be silly, I guess, to protect fraud. It’s illegal, after all, and presumably doesn’t deserve protection — at least not beyond “You have the right to remain silent” and all that.)

But I wasn’t really eager to get my money back; I was more interested in answers.

  • Who was this person?
  • What drove them to such a heinous crime?
  • How much of my precious money did they spend?
  • Did they get anything good?

I imagined somebody shady but glamorous: an international playboy, wearing an Armani suit, using my Chase bankcard to lease a Learjet for a flight to meet his Czech mistress at his villa in Rio. The kind of fellow Pierce Brosnan would have played in a movie, except it would be a hit.

As it turned out, my fantasy was only a fantasy. My credit card, bank investigators advised me, had been used to obtain $27 worth of dental work. I thought this must be a typo. At the very least, an identity thief would spend 27 HUNDREDdollars and get a full set of dentures. What can you get from a dentist for $27? Now I imagine investigators searching for a middle-aged part-time parking lot attendant with bad teeth. I feel sad for him: a guy lucky enough to score someone else’s identity, but unable to hightail it for Tahiti because he’s got too many cavities, and possibly gum disease.

I figure when they finally zero in on the perpetrator, my iPhone will buzz, and a bank detective will ask me if I want to press charges. Well, I’m not going to be too hasty to respond. Maybe this craven criminal would be open to negotiation? You can keep my identity if, for example, that means you’ll take my kitten in for its last two vaccinations. Or maybe clear the mountain of dead oak leaves piled up against my garage door. And then there’s the matter of that ongoing little disagreement with my neighbor about the rats in the compost heap; if you can sort that out, take my identity, andthe rats, and more power to ya.

Meanwhile, I’ll take on a brand-new identity. If you see a guy skipping lightheartedly down Central Street — a guy who appears to be utterly carefree, possibly even debt-free — a guy who waves back at you when you yell “Hey there, Chester Moschloskowicz!” — that’ll be me.

I think Chester Moschloskowicz will be one of those people who always pays cash.

 

 

Doug Brendel, alias Chester Moschloskowicz, lives on outer Linebrook Road, at least till his identity replacement moves in. Follow Chester by clicking “Follow” on this screen.