Catch 22

by Calendar Hacksaw

Well, old Calendar got into serious trouble with the “Editor and Publisher” for not contributing “useful” information, in apparent violation of my contract, so in order to make amends I hereby offer a score of recommendations to the newcomer, the part-timer, the weekender, or whatever you call yourself, based upon the lessons I’ve learned while walking a few miles in your shoes during the past eight years. They’re numbered for easy reference.

1. Some newcomers don’t understand all the waving that goes on among motorists in Twin Oaks and through Caliente Canyon. You don’t need to “understand” it; just do it. It’s the only thing that separates us from civilization.

2. Piute Mountain School has the best Special Education Program on the planet. If you have a child who has special needs, you’d do well to pull up stakes right now and move to Walker Basin. Your career might suffer, but you’ll have you child to thank you. You make the choice. And it’s not just the Special Ed teachers; it’s also the Special Education Aides. They make the difference.

3. “Open Range” is just that: open range. If a 1,200-pound steer makes a deposit on your doorstep, just say “thanks.” Let it dry out, scoop it into a cardboard box, and take it back to the City. Put it on your neighbor’s lawn or your boss’ desk. Spray it with water, and it’ll come right back to life, just like freeze-dried foods. Who says you can’t get something for nothing anymore?

4. This area is home to literally hundreds of vertical mine shafts, each of which is filled to the brim with the skeletal remains of thieves. I understand it’s a particularly miserable and lonely way to die. I, for one, do not intend to find out, and I recommend that outlook for others as well.

5. The bisquits and gravy at Shockey’s are the best I’ve ever had. Put lots of pepper on them, and chase them with a cold Bud.

6. Most newcomers have seen the Refuse Collection Point (“The Dump”), over in Caliente. But you need to know that there’s a closer one. It’s less than a ¼ mile behind Shockey’s on Sand Canyon. You can tie this in with the biscuits and gravy if you time it right.

7. Basins have no natural drainage, other than seepage. Walker Basin is a “basin.” Consider the ramifications. Don’t do anything foolish.

8. If the property you bought came with a worn-out 1947 travel trailer that barely measures 8-feet in length and is infested with vermin, go ahead and sleep in it for a few years before deciding on new accommodations. All the rest of us did, and it builds character. It also helps you to become humble, and not be so critical of what your neighbor is doing on her property.

9. Wayne Moody is the best columnist in the Fence Post. He just gets better every month. Someday he will be famous.

10. There are still plenty of Native Americans living around Walker Basin and the Piute Mountains. If you’re lucky, you might make friends with one of them. I did.

11. If you’re from the City, you’ll have to learn that some problems can’t be resolved without a little killing. Come to think of it, if you’re from the City you should already realize this. “Bad” bears and “bad” pumas have to be dealt with; there are no socila programs available for either.

12. Be innovative in satisfying your energy needs. Don’t rule out anything: Coleman fuel, kerosene, 12-volt batteries, solar, propane, inverters, small windmills, whatever works. There’s nothing worse than darkness when there’s no alternative. Plan ahead, and have a back-up plan ready, too.

13. Dirt bikes and ATV’s tear up dirt roads. Don’t be so stupid as to think you can use your dirt bike to “innocently” rip the hell out of a dirt road - public or private - and expect no one to raise an objection. Use your brain. It’s costing someone a lot of money to buy fuel for heavy equipment to grade these roads every few months. What was your contribution? Did you pay for the easement? If you contributed nothing, and have to legal right to use the road, you are a thief and should be treated accordingly (see #4).

14. Read the Fence Post every month, and pay particular attention to the Walker Basin/Twin Oaks Crime Report. After a few months of doing so, everything should become clear to you.

15. Those little white vertical signs you see ever so often along Caliente Creek Road, comin’ or goin’, tell you in miles and hundredths how far you are east of the intersection with Caliente-Bodfish Road. So if you come across some emergency and need to get to the nearest telephone to report it, write down the mileage on the sigh before you leave the area. It’ll read something like “6.87” or “3.36,” with the fractional number smaller than the mile number. Paying attention to this could save a life and save you from a lifetime of guilt.

16. The Fence Post would be shirking its journalistic responsibility if it failed to tackle issues or espouse opinions whenever it’s warranted. If you don’t understand that basic Constitutional principal, it’s time to return to high school civics. You can’t get your way by trying to intimidate a free press. If you can’t live with that, ol’ Calendar will provide you with a list of countries where you can invest in your own “Country Reader” And throw your weight around all you want. In the meantime, quite thinking that you have to get your way every time. Get over yourself. Get a life.

17. If you see a lot of your neighbors wearing firearms, you should sleep a lot better. They’re wearing them for a reason. Feel free to ask them why.

18. Know your identity, and avoid labeling yourself. Walker Basin is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic community, where a person is known by her worth. If you neighbor asks who you are, don’t answer by saying something like, “I’m an unemployed ex-con.” Those are labels. All labels have to be left south of Tejon Summit. Be something “real” instead, like a retired oil field worker, and art student, a cowboy, a waitress, a hiker, a deer hunter, or a property owner.

19. There are some labels that are used in these parts: “loser,” “deadbeat,” and “thief,” just to name three. They’re up for grabs, so if you see one you like or one that fits, go ahead and adopt it (see #4).

20. It’s easy to co-exist with an enemy in a big city, but if you have an enemy in Twin Oaks you’re going to run into her every time you turn the corner (there’s only three). So learn when to apologize, and don’t hesitate to do it.

21. Fritz the Mechanic is as honest as the day is long. I’ve had three dealings with him so far, and I’d take any one of my vehicles to him before I’d take them anywhere else. Now Fritz has to live up to the praise. Life’s tough when you’re good, Fritz.

22. Al St. John and the Twin Oaks General Store has the best “vanity” telephone number in Twin Oaks. It’s 867-2359, or TOS-ADLW, which stands for Twin Oaks Store: Al Doesn’t Like Windmills. If you don’t believe me, just look at your telephone keypad.

Next month: Calendar tells a bunch of lies. Stay tuned.

Calendar Hacksaw's e-mail addresses are <> and <> and he'd love to hear from you.

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