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

From the ArkTimes store

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
  • Show and tell

    The Observer is an advocate of the A+ method of integrating the arts and using creativity to teach across the curriculum, an approach that the Thea Foundation, with help from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, is offering to schools across the state.
    • Feb 25, 2016
  • Yawp

    The Observer has been in a funk lately for a number of reasons: revulsions and slights, both foreign and domestic. We get that way most years as the winter drags on, once the tinsel and colored lights of Christmas drop into the rearview, soon after we come off the New Year's Day hangover.
    • Mar 24, 2016

Most Shared

  • So much for a school settlement in Pulaski County

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Cynthia Howell got the scoop on what appears to be coming upheaval in the Pulaski County School District along with the likely end of any chance of a speedy resolution of school desegregation issues in Pulaski County.
  • Riverfest calls it quits

    The board of directors of Riverfest, Arkansas's largest and longest running music festival, announced today that the festival will no longer be held. Riverfest celebrated itsĀ 40th anniversary in June. A press release blamed competition from other festivals and the rising cost of performers fees for the decision.
  • Football for UA Little Rock

    Andrew Rogerson, the new chancellor at UA Little Rock, has decided to study the cost of starting a major college football team on campus (plus a marching band). Technically, it would be a revival of football, dropped more than 60 years ago when the school was a junior college.
  • Turn to baseball

    When the world threatens to get you down, there is always baseball — an absorbing refuge, an alternate reality entirely unto itself.

Latest in The Observer

  • Dumb and smart, at the same time

    The Observer spent the week at a bar and thought a lot about a joke and its writer.
    • Jul 20, 2017
  • -30-

    A newspaper died up in Atkins a few weeks back, not with a bang or a whimper, but with the sound of change jingling in a pocket, just too little of it to keep the printing presses rolling.
    • Jul 13, 2017
  • Does she know?

    Did Kim Walker-Smith, when recording "Throne Room" for her new record "On My Side," truly understand the power of her music? Does she now know that her song was the one that played on the radio as Michael Reed thumped into the Ten Commandments monument on the state Capitol grounds and brought it on down?
    • Jul 6, 2017
  • More »

Event Calendar

« »

July

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

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Ruth Coker Burks, the cemetery angel

    • Go Fund Me Page. https://www.gofundme.com/RuthCokerBurks

    • on July 22, 2017
  • Re: The ballad of Fred and Yoko

    • I grew up in Charleston and attended the College of Charleston, right around the corner…

    • on July 21, 2017
  • Re: A week at Midtown

    • Beautifully & perfectly written. Maggie & Mistown are definitely unique & awesome!!

    • on July 21, 2017
 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation