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Preparation J 

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Is there a word for birds that only know a single song, and then they sing that song over and over until you start looking for a frying pan or really large cat to just make the singing stop, for the love of god?

I’m only asking because I’ve been dealing with a particularly chirpy bird that seems to derive glee from the misery it inflicts. So it chirps its only song at public meetings where officials legally have to let the bird chirp and everyone else has to listen, even though they already know what she’s going to say, even though she thrives on misery and negativity, even though she’s not native to the area.

She’s so committed, in fact, to spreading her particular brand of one-note vitriol that she drags her progeny to hours of public meetings where bureaucratic drones who think that violating the Brown Act qualifies as a major scandal talk about zoning for hours on end.

Frankly, I typically make a point of avoiding this particular bird—both in person and writing—because I know that anything I say or do can and will be used against me in a CalCoast News commentary, after which Mary Malone will accuse me of being in cahoots with corrupt officials or spreading my legs too much. And once you’re on that hit list, there’s no turning back.

Not enough water in Laguna Lake? Let’s blame it on Supervisor Bruce Gibson and talk about how he had an affair with his assistant forever ago. Never mind that voters just agreed to give him another term in office. Being on the wrong side of battles that can’t be won is her Affordable Care Act.

Did your kid flunk physical education? Hey, let’s talk about how Paavo Ogren had consensual sex with another adult that one time.

So, though I usually subscribe to the “no guts no glory” philosophy—incidentally, this phrase was the first of my four tramp stamps—I’ve decided to protect myself from endless probes into my deviant sexual behavior and enthusiastic-but-not-entirely-factual insults by referring to this person by a pseudonym: Schmulie Schmacker.

Right about now, Schmulie Schmacker is spinning through fields of flowerpots assembled in a generic boardroom somewhere in SLO County because failed former Oceano Community Services District General Manager Lonnie Curtis has announced that he’s running for a seat on the OCSD’s board. (You can call him Schmonnie Schmurtis if you’re into the whole pseudonym thing.)

Now, the obvious question is who would vote for some boob who was fired after serving as general manager for only five months? I mean, the dude lifted a PowerPoint presentation that was supposed to serve as a writing sample in his application. He mistakenly overcharged ratepayers; violated the Brown Act left, right, and center; and drafted inaccurate agendas.

It’s not the grabbing of someone else’s text that gets me. Four score and seven years ago, I plagiarized as many columns as possible. It’s a major bone of contention with my editor, who told me a week ago that copying the transcript of a Simpsons episode into a Word document doesn’t qualify as actual work. D’oh!

As far as I’m concerned, Curtis’ greatest crime was proving Schmulie Schmacker right. Now, it stands to reason that if you get up every week and crow loudly to everyone who will listen that all public officials are incompetent boobs, eventually one of them will prove you right. But I still think it’s more than fair for the rest of us to ostracize Curtis for being the incompetent boob who gave the vindictive bird something to crow about.

But it’s not entirely Curtis’ fault. The Oceano CSD is the circus to end all circuses. Curtis was the CSD’s eighth general manager in seven years. By comparison, there have been more successful couples from The Bachelor than Oceano general managers. The Oceano Board of Directors has a zero percent success rate when it comes to hiring general managers, so there’s a chance that the man who was a failure as a general manager will be moderately successful as a board member.

 After he was fired, he referred to Schmulie Schmacker as a hemorrhoid, and while I would never condone slanderous ad hominem attacks, it’s hard to find fault with him for making the analogy. Especially considering the glee with which Schmacker will continue her vendetta against Curtis’ successor, Paavo Ogren. 

A few people have asked what the hell Schmulie Schmacker’s doing in Oceano, given that she lives in Los Osos, which is a fair question with a somewhat obvious two-part answer. My best guess is that everyone in Los Osos is sick of listening to her vitriol. Secondly, given that her partner Schmeff Schmedwards has been endlessly prattling some nonsense about paving over the Oceano airport, it stands to reason that Schmulie Schmacker’s trying to establish a toehold in the small community to assist his efforts. I wouldn’t go so far as to say she’s holding the town hostage, because hostages sometimes develop a somewhat pleasant rapport with their captors.

Which leaves Oceano with just two options: band together and purchase a giant vat of Preparation H, or flee their homes and hope that a neighboring town will step up and offer them sanctuary.


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