Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Opinion

June 17, 2013

No ifs, ands, or butts

Having hindsight in the little New Jersey resort town of Wildwood will soon be a civic offense punishable by a $25 fine. “That’s right, Rambo! You heard me! I want you, and your plumber’s crack out of town, now!” Police chief Steven Long says his officers are getting special training to enforce the new “saggy pants law” when it becomes effective on July 2 — just in time for the big Fourth of July festivities.

This is no small task for the sheriff and his merry band because Wildwood is a very popular resort island on the Atlantic shore. It’s full-time population of about 5,500 folks swells to as much as 250,000 during the summer months. Apparently, a great many (that’s plethora to you, Ron) of these touristy-folks leave their belts at home when they schlep on over to Wildwood. When they crawl the beaches, boardwalks, roller-coaster, water and amusement parks, and the juke-box joints in town there is just too much polka-dot drawers, tattoos and front and back cleavages on display.

The permanent residents support the law — in fact several spoke out in favor of it during the town council meeting where the law was enacted.

Here are a couple quotes I took from the article I read. “It’s long overdue,” one lady said, “People who choose to dress like that offend any person. There has to be some common standard of decency. It offends all of us.” Another man said, “We need it. This is our city. You have to respect it.”

The city commissioner said the city is not trying to be the fashion police but, “There’s a fine line that gets crossed between being a fashion statement and being obnoxious. Families feel threatened.”

The mayor was great. He said the city wasn’t going to be out “...hunting these kids down. We’re not going to be out there with a tape measure. But we know what’s right and not right. If we don’t make an attempt to clean our town up, who’s going to? This is just adding a little bit of decency to our town. It’s amazing — and this is a pun — how decency has fallen through the cracks.” (Get it?)

Chief Long and the mayor hope that citations will not have to be issued for low-slung jeans — just gentle reminders to hike them up. However, the law is serious enough that subsequent violations could result in fines up to $200 and 40 hours of community service. Of course, they expect constitutional challenges to the law from the American Civil Liberties Union and probably the American Civil Plumber’s Cleavage Union.

All this family decency and civic pride and image talk seems to be a little bit contradictory when one considers that Wildwood is a glitzy, neon, carnival-like tourist trap of a town on the Jersey shore. The town bills itself as the “Birthplace of Rock and Roll” and even has a “Doo-Wop Museum.” All it’s trollies, gas/convenience stores, markets, diners, doo-wop motels and hotels, and liquor stores flash with as much chrome, gaudy colors, and neon signage as the Las Vegas Strip. Some facilities have even been listed on national registries — probably places like the “Dew Drop Inn” and the “No-Tell Motel.”

Here’s an interesting statistic I found through my exhaustive study on this town. New Jersey state law is very strict on how many liquor licenses my be issued in any given municipality. The limits are: one consumption (bar/restaurant) license for every 3,000 residents and one distribution (liquor store) license for every 7,500 residents. With only 5,500 permanent residents, strict interpretation would require a Wildwoodite to drive to another town for a bottle of wine.

But there is more to the story. There is another goofy state law that allows municipalities to “grandfather” liquor licenses that were on the books prior to 1948. As a result, this cute little family-oriented, decency-first village of 5,500 souls has 61 active liquor licenses. Wow! It seems to me that Chief Long and his posse might have a lot more problems with alcohol-related incidents than folks with droopy drawers.

As an example, just last week in Wildwood, a patrol officer noticed a droopy drawered wino stumbling down the street with his right foot on the curb and his left foot in the gutter. He pulled his car over and said to the guy, “Sir, I’ve got to run you in on a charge of public intoxication.” The wino tottered there still with one foot on the curb and one in the gutter and replied, “Ossifer, are ya absolutely sure I’m drunk?” The cop replied, “Yes, buddy, I’m sure. Now let’s go!” Obviously relieved, the lush said, “Oh, what a relief — I thought I had become crippled.”

Of course, if you are arrested for drunk-and-disorderly conduct in Wildwood and your butt is showing also, you are going under the jail!

See ya...

         —————

Dick Platt is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears on Tuesdays. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? Email:

soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Belcher, Bob.jpg Salute to 'Mr. Derrick Days'

    I can’t help but think back to the “near-death experience” that Derrick Days had 14 years ago, and how one man’s determination brought it back.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Tinsley Resurrection

    I was 29-years-old when my father died of multiple myeloma, cancer of the bone marrow.  He was 53 years of age. Only hours before his death, I spoke with him. Our eyes met during that final visit, the same eye contact we had shared from my birth.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dr Don Newbury 2014.jpg It’s about time

    Some aspect of time steals quietly into our psyche in all conscious moments, and our use or abuse of it is central to much poetry, lyrics, scripts, conversations — you name it.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dick Platt 2014.jpg The Wonderlic Test

    Did you hear the one about Texas A&M’s “Johnny Football” Manziel testing better than all the other quarterbacks in this year’s NFL Scouting Combine? No, this is not the start of an Aggie joke.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • deannakirk.jpg Work Out? Bite your tongue!

    I've shared this before, but it bears repeating. I'm a lot like my late, dear Daddy … whose idea of “working out” was a good, brisk sit.
    Amen, Daddy. Me too.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Letters to the Editor for Saturday, April 12, 2014

    Thanks for service
    To the Editor: The Blooming Grove Elementary School would like to express appreciation to several individuals and businesses that for three years have provided a “free” vision exam and eyeglasses for many of our students.

    April 11, 2014

  • Dr Don Newbury 2014.jpg Uncle Mort: For the Birds

    Personal experiences racked up across three-quarters of a century — including yips and yaps at lecterns spanning five decades — offer positive proof that many times, utter silence is preferable to spoken words.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dick Platt 2014.jpg One-liners

    For many years, in a previous life, I had somewhat of a reputation as a master-of-ceremonies and I stayed relatively busy at that avocation. I never met a microphone I didn’t like

    April 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Deanna Kirk mug Gotta love a small town

    There's so many things to love about living in a small town. Why just last week I got to hang out with my ex-husband, his folks, his wife and baby at the Youth Expo. Then just a day later, I got to see my other ex-husband and his wife at the hospital, when one of our daughters got sick and landed there.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jacobs, Janet.jpg Weird foods on our shelves

    The Atlantic magazine reported recently that sales of frozen pre-packaged dinners are falling and Nestle is considering selling off its Lean Cuisine food line.

    April 4, 2014 1 Photo