Favorite

Some like it tot 

click to enlarge KAI CADDY
  • Kai Caddy

Faithful readers will notice that The Observer has been on the move lately. Something about the spring makes us put on the traveling shoes.

Our latest excursion took us to Denver, Colo., for a journalists' conference. It turns out that Colorado has some different laws than back in home in Arkansas! Fascinating. Though far from the office, The Observer knows an opportunity for some reporting and observing when we see one. We investigated.

Lest we offend those of delicate sensibilities or constitutions, we shall now speak in code.

You may have read about Colorado's recently passed laws regarding the decriminalization of tater tots. Here in Arkansas, as in most states, tater tots are illegal. They're still more or less available, but only through the black market (and enforcement of the tater tot laws has been horribly discriminatory against racial minorities). By popular referendum, the voters of Colorado recently chose to legalize tater tots — and tax them, bringing tens of millions of dollars to the state coffers.

The Observer was fascinated to walk into a tater-tot dispensary, full of a large variety of all manner of tater tots (apparently tater-tot chocolates are particularly popular). The dispensary employee was friendly and helpful (if you're wondering, they are not allowed to eat tater tots on the job). It was almost like ... a normal customer service experience! None of the awkward meetups with sketchy tater-tot dealers that The Observer may or may not have had in the past. No coded text messages or confusing etiquette or social obligation to eat tater tots at the moment of purchase. Just a simple, and legal, transaction. The free market. Free as a bird.

After consumption of tater tots, perhaps the air was a bit more crisp. Perhaps the Rockies, towering above the Denver skyline, were more magnificent. Or as magnificent as they had always been, the tater tots merely helping The Observer to observe. The Observer got a little giggly during a conference panel discussion on mapping bacteria in the body, but otherwise, we can report that society seems to be surviving the legalization of tater tots just fine.

This assessment stands in sharp contrast to the dire predictions of those who wish to continue the endless War on Tater Tots. "There will be many harmful consequences," one Colorado sheriff predicted in 2012. "Expect more crime, more kids eating tater tots, and tater tots for sale everywhere."

A California sheriff was a guest on Denver television and said to expect this: "Thugs put on masks, they come to your house, they kick in your door. They point guns at you and say, 'Give me your tater tots, give me your money.' "

However, three months into the Great Colorado Tater-Tot experiment, crime in Denver has gone down, not up. As for The Observer, we finished our investigation with some tacos. Delicious.

As hard as it is to believe for Yours Truly, this week marked the 20th anniversary of the death by suicide of Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, who took his own life on April 5, 1994, with a shotgun in his Seattle home after several years of struggling with heroin addiction and depression. What a blow that was, children. What a tragedy. What a bewildering wound.

The '50s had Elvis Presley, who bloated and faded and finally burned out. The flower children had John Lennon, silenced by a lunatic with a gun. The Observer's vintage, meanwhile — Generation X — had Cobain, a hugely flawed and reluctant anti-hero who was eventually stolen away by his appetites and his own despair. Calling somebody "the voice of a generation" is a cliche, sure. But for a few years, if there was a voice, Cobain was it. He sure took this kid from the sticks to new places, helping The Observer shrug off the neon-lit testosterone stench of hair metal in favor of a music that was more thoughtful, more introspective, more real. Knowing that Cobain gave in to hopelessness after a few short years of giving everybody else a kind of hope was a hell of a thing, still hard to fathom long after all the flannel shirts and Doc Martin boots went to the back of the closet or off to Goodwill. But that voice was a hell of thing as well. And the voice will live forever.

Favorite

Tags:

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…

  • I'm sorry

    I'm sorry we stood by while your generation's hope was smothered by $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, just because you were trying to educate yourselves enough to avoid falling for the snake oil and big talk of a fascist.
    • Nov 17, 2016
  • Addendum

    he Observer has our regrets, just like everybody else. For example: last week, Yours Truly published a cover story on the increasingly ugly fight over Eureka Springs' Ordinance 2223, which is designed to protect a bunch of groups — including LGBTQ people — from discrimination in housing, employment, accommodations, cake buying, browsing, drinking, gut stuffery, knickknack purchasing, general cavorting, funny postcard mailing and all the other stuff one tends to get up to in the weirdest, friendliest, most magical little town in the Ozarks.
    • Apr 30, 2015
  • Snake stories

    The Observer's boss, Uncle Alan, is something of a gentleman farmer on his spread up in Cabot, growing heirloom tomatoes and watermelons and crops of chiggers on property that looks like the perfect farmstead Lenny and George often fantasized about in "Of Mice and Men."
    • Aug 27, 2015

Most Shared

  • World leaders set to meet in Little Rock on resource access and sustainable development

    Little Rock will next week host a series of meetings on the use of technology to tackle global problems led by Club de Madrid — a coalition of more than 100 former democratic former presidents and prime ministers from around the world — and the P80 Group, a coalition of large public pension and sovereign wealth funds founded by Prince Charles to combat climate change.
  • Rapert compares Bill Clinton to Orval Faubus

    Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway)  was on "Capitol View" on KARK, Channel 4, this morning, and among other things that will likely inspire you to yell at your computer screen, he said he expects someone in the legislature to file a bill to do ... something about changing the name of the Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport.

Latest in The Observer

  • The sweet hereafter

    This week, the Arkansas Times falls back on that oldest of old chestnuts: a recipe issue. Being who we are, of course, we had to put a twist on that; namely, the fact that most of the recipes you'll find in these pages are courtesy of people who have shuffled off to that great kitchen in the sky, where the Good Lord is always whipping up new things in his toque and apron, running the great mixers of genetics and time, maybe presenting the batter-dipped beaters and bowls to Jesus for a lick down.
    • Dec 8, 2016
  • Writers blocked

    OK, back to basics, Observer. Get hold of yourself. Give the people what they want, which is escapism! If you don't, this column is eventually just going to devolve into The Prophecies of Hickstradamus at some point in the next four years: "The Orange Vulture perches in the fig tree. The great snake eats Moonpies and Royal Crown Cola by starlight ..." That kind of thing. Nobody likes that. Too much deciphering and such.
    • Dec 1, 2016
  • Cassandra

    The Observer's grandfather on our mother's side was a crackerjack fella. Grew up in the sandy hills north of Conway. County boy, through and through. During hog-killing time in December 1941, the story in our family goes, when word of Pearl Harbor reached his little community, he and his friends loaded into his T-model truck and made the rough journey to the first speck of civilization that included an Army recruiting office, where they all enlisted.
    • Nov 24, 2016
  • More »

Visit Arkansas

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

View Trumpeter Swans in Heber Springs

Magness Lake, in Heber Springs, is a magnet for swans

Event Calendar

« »

December

S M T W T F S
  1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Most Viewed

  • Tomb to table

    A Christmas feast offered by the residents of Mount Holly and other folk.
  • Dems path forward

    The Arkansas Dems can lead by doing the opposite of what the national Dems did when they reelected the same leadership in charge since the equally embarrassing losses as seen in Arkansas. Electing 75-plus-year-olds is no way to embrace the youth.
  • Arkansas archeologist does his job, is asked to leave

    Amid Department of Arkansas Heritage project.
  • Legislative perks

  • The sweet hereafter

    This week, the Arkansas Times falls back on that oldest of old chestnuts: a recipe issue. Being who we are, of course, we had to put a twist on that; namely, the fact that most of the recipes you'll find in these pages are courtesy of people who have shuffled off to that great kitchen in the sky, where the Good Lord is always whipping up new things in his toque and apron, running the great mixers of genetics and time, maybe presenting the batter-dipped beaters and bowls to Jesus for a lick down.

Most Recent Comments

 

© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation