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I am Shredder, hear me meow 

I’ve had a rough couple of days. Don’t ask. And I won’t tell. Oh, wait. HA! Don’t have to deal with that bologna anymore.

A little bird told me the other day that I might be leaning toward the sexist side. To be honest, I had a hard time listening to what it was chirping on about because I was ogling its drumsticks, if you catch my drift. Tweet, tweet; nudge, nudge. Actually, it came to me in a few letters that left me perplexed and reflective, to say the least.

I always thought of myself as androgynous. Seriously, I look like the unholy spawn of Ken and Barbie bumping plastic, which is hard to imagine, mechanically speaking. I’m nothing but slightly bulbous flesh-colored nubs down there, anatomically speaking. I’m anatomically incorrect, I guess you could say.

I’ve never considered myself sexist. If anything, I’m a champion of all sexes, even the really stupid ones: both of them. I try to make phallic references, yonic references, and even some Gaelic references just to be safe.

Best as I can guess, I’m sexist because of my last column, in which I picked on people who happened to be women. That’s silly. I pick on men all the time. In fact, some of my favorite insulting adjectives are reserved for the Y chromosome. The argument could be made that I picked on elected women for stuff elected men do but don’t get picked on for by me. OK. I can see how it looked that way, but my dander was extra up this election season, and my dander knows no gender. I’m dander-gender neutral.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just bitter and overly sensitive. I can smell holidays creeping around the corner, an olfactory onslaught of gingerbread, alcohol-tinged breath, and pent-up family aggression. I’m not sure how your holidays typically go down. Most families’ violence peaks when they break the wishbone. In the Shred household, we usually round out the evening with passive-aggressive jabs and the occasional fork in the shoulder.

For now, I’m trying to live in the present—not present in the gift sense, but present as in the present tense. The here. The now. Seize the day. Carpe the crap out of the diem!

Actually, never mind. The present is
really gross. The weekend rain that assaulted SLO County caused every sewer system from Nipomo to Paso—more or less—to explode like a fountain only
John Waters could dream up.

Apparently many of our sewage systems can handle excess water as well as an octogenarian in a lukewarm tub.

The sewage spills were so bad they literally turned the Pacific Ocean brown. Not that it stopped surfers, who happily paddled out and carved through waves of feces frappe. Now that’s commitment. I wish I had that much passion for anything. I haven’t even house-trained my pet rock yet.

Here’s the thing I don’t get: Big rain comes in and overwhelms sewage systems everywhere, and it seems to happen basically every time there’s a big rain. This latest storm was particularly bad, sure, but just about any time water’s falling from the sky it seems the next day we’re all told to stay the hell away from creeks and oceans because of the cocktail of poop, oil, and general nastiness worming through our backyards on its way to the ocean.

One might think this is the type of thing someone would raise a stink about. If a sewage system can’t withstand rain, isn’t that a fairly major design flaw? The raving masses in Los Osos always harp on how crappy traditional sewers are. I used to ignore their ravings. Now I’m not so sure.

When you ask the dinguses who are supposed to regulate these systems, they tend to come back with shrugged shoulders and apathetic half-smiles.

Are you gonna keep this from happening again? “Eh, not really.” Plans to clean up? “That sounds like a lot of work.” Who’s responsible? “Mother Nature, or, um, Father Nature.”

Which brings me to my final point. The grand finale. My magnum opus … meh, screw it.

Dan Carpenter got appointed to the SLO City Council. Unanimously.

So I guess I was right. Or the council just did the right thing. Not to say I’m rubbing it in, or that I care who won so much as how they won. To be honest, I was kind of over the whole thing almost as soon as it started.

   I’ve been introspective about this lately, and maybe I was a bit unfair. Mostly just forgetful. After all, it’s that time of year when I’m typically sloshed on grandpa’s bootleg eggnog.

   I thought to myself, “What would I have done?” Actually, most everyone would do what Jan Marx did, which was run for a safe seat. And I can’t blame her too much, even though I already did. It’s just that during this spiraling-tornado of local politics, it’s disconcerting to sit by and watch while a campaign organizer for the new mayor, Patricia Andreen, gets to jump in after the fact. I mean, would you get any enjoyment from watching a tornado tear uncomfortably close to an orphanage? Not that it’s a good metaphor. I just wanted to ask. Get back to me.

I guess you could call this an olive branch. In keeping with the holiday spirit, Jan, what say we meet on top of the Empire State Building and share a mug of grog? Or we could just meet at Bull’s and spit shake on a truce. Don’t worry—you’ll be able to recognize me. I’ll be the one in the red dress.

Meanwhile, I’ve taken my share of licks for blasting Andreen and Marx. At the end of the day, if you asked if I would do it again, I’d emphatically say, “Probably!” ∆

The Shredder is forming a campaign to “Spank Out Sexism,” with little luck. Join the cause at

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