A Trivial Pursuit

Made a trip to the other Portland this month, where triple digit temperatures poached my brain and also got me tangled up in a riot between the Patriot Boys and the Love Bugs in Tom McCall Waterfront Park. I actually toasted the whole thing from the fifth floor of the Marriott, with a drink that was not fruit juice in my hand.

Then the doggy spell we’ve had here pretty much shut down my cerebral cortex for another week or so. Just as I got out from under those hot-weather doldrums this morning, I was just in time to pick up the newspaper and read that PETA wants to erect a roadside memorial for the 4500 or so lobsters tragically lost when a truck overturned on Route 1 near Cooks Corner in Brunswick and skidded down an embankment, dumping the unfortunate crustaceans out onto the ground. No survivors, apparently, due to a combination of temperature and a fresh water bath from the fire hoses getting them off the pavement.

I don’t usually get too excited about tweets, but this one from our own Sarah Graves sums up the situation for me: “Don’t know how many of those lobsters were on their way to their forever homes.”

While I have to say a five-foot granite obelisk might contribute to the beauty of that long boring stretch of road, I have to wonder if we don’t have a few more pressing matters to worry about. It seems to me this minor hoo-haw is a perfect example of how we’re losing the ability to identify the important and replacing it with the hundreds of little hits of dopamine or outrage that we get from Facebook, Twitter, Candy Crush, or @realDonaldTrump.

Flint, Michigan still has little potable water, children are still separated from their parents on our southern border because of their color, American citizens are being stripped of their citizenship also because of color, our governor thinks all rights and pleasures should be reserved to white people, preferably men, and we can’t mourn a genuine American hero without turning him into a political grenade.

I know, I know. I’m in the entertainment business. I’m not supposed to think? feel? care? about politics (and someone will surely take me to task for getting above my station). But as much as I’d like to make this lobster thing entertaining, I can’t for the life of me sustain a laugh over it. At least the Patriot Boys and the Love Bugs were rioting about something important. This ridiculous and narrow-minded scheme to memorialize “suffering” crustaceans, for goodness sake, is a trivial stand-in for how we’re spending our days. How much longer, do you suppose, until we regain a sense of proportion?

About Richard Cass

Dick is the author of the Elder Darrow Jazz Mystery series, the story of an alcoholic who walks into a dive bar in Boston . . . and buys it. Solo Act was a Finalist for the Maine Literary Award in Crime Fiction in 2017 and In Solo Time won the award in 2018. The third book in the series, Burton's Solo, comes out on November 1, 2018. Dick serves on the Board of the Mystery Writers of America's New England chapter and lives and writes in Cape Elizabeth.
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2 Responses to A Trivial Pursuit

  1. Gram says:

    What was the important thing that they were rioting about in the other Portland?

    Like

  2. Kate Flora says:

    I’m with Gram…what were these gangs rioting about? Curious readers want to know. Love the Sarah Graves quote about “forever homes.” Hard, this week, to regain any sense of balance.

    Like

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