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Scratch 'n' sniff 

You know what really gets my blood boiling? Those potato chip bags that refuse to open, so you wind up in the middle of your kitchen gritting your teeth, legs splayed, until the bag suddenly pops and your precious chips rain down from the heavens like confetti. I eat ’em anyway. I happen to be a firm follower of the five-second rule. Unless you can’t get to your food in five seconds, in which case it’s the 10-second rule. Or 20 minutes, depending. But I also never wash my floors, which means I spend a lot of my free time contracting stomach bugs.

But also non-conformists. I don’t contract them—they get my blood boiling. And why not? They’ve been cluttering up our art museums and galleries for centuries! Take Michelangelo and his X-rated, pervy statue of David. I’ll bet that hack didn’t even have a permit for his masterpiece—certainly not for the penis—and I very much doubt he got it signed off by those 16th century city planners in Florence. Of course, the very notion of forcing a genius like Michelangelo to bend his artistic vision to suit the demands of a group of retired milquetoast bureaucrats with no more artistic training than your average 10-year-old might strike some as repugnant. I can only imagine what a group of bureaucrats, led by a no-holds-barred nonconformist who’s so vanilla he practically sprang from a damned bean, would have to say to visionaries like Antoni Gaudí and Frank Lloyd Wright.

It’s true that genius rarely works within the confines of the existing aesthetic; art’s purpose is to push us into the future, not to blend in with the nearby Taco Bell or play matchy-matchy with your neighborhood Carl’s Jr. Anyone who suggests that art must roll over and cater to the tastes and whims of bureaucrats doesn’t understand art—of course, one has only to read Lon Allan’s column in The Tribune, “Art store’s mural must go,” to understand that he’s no great respecter of art.

I’m not generally in the habit of wandering about criticizing people’s writing skills—these days it’s best to turn a blind eye to such transgressions—but if this proud pencil pusher is going to take a condescending swipe at art, using such terms as “atrocious,” then he probably ought to employ his words as proof of his right to judge. In the words of one Tribune commenter: “I am disappointed that a previous member of the downtown committee, as the author claims to be, could not even write a cohesive article in proper English.” For the love of William Randolph Hearst’s ghost, man! This is a newspaper, not some zine you picked up in the bathroom at the local watering hole!

But perhaps his greatest gaffe is his argument that “trying to judge what kind of mural would be acceptable and what would not is dangerous territory for the city. It should simply forbid them altogether.” Apparently, the city should just opt for a de facto ban on everything because decisions make Lon Allan’s head hurt. He’s right, of course. As long as I can wrap my building in a sign advertising all-you-can-eat surf and turf, what do I care if legitimate artistic expressions get the old heave-ho?

If you happen to be a fan of the whole Big Brother/censorship/bureaucracy trifecta, you might consider paying a visit to Morro Bay, where the cops who incited a riot, maced a bar full of people, and arrested a man—according to the police report because he was a wise ass and may have bumped one of the officers, and some sort of smell was involved too—have somehow convinced the DA to press forward with charges of resisting arrest.

Let’s all pause to consider the ethical conundrum that is the “resisting arrest” charge. It’s a crime that, by definition, does not exist unless cops are present. And there have been a number of cases in which cops detain someone—who turns out to be innocent of any real crime—and still slap them with a resisting arrest charge. It’s like the crummy T-shirt you wind up with as a memento from your family vacation, or the obligatory case of herpes you pick up in Las Vegas. Get arrested and, whether you ever committed any real crime or not, you’re going to get charged with resisting arrest. It’s a not-so-secret weapon that allows police to turn anyone into a potential criminal, thereby justifying their decision to grab someone in a bar because he said (and again, this is according to the police report), “I smell like money” and shoulder bumped them.

I’m also offended on behalf of all the people out there—including myself—who smell like money, and are proud of the fact. I’ve smelled like money for the past six years, mostly because each morning I make a point of taking my lonely dollar bill out of my wallet and rubbing it all over myself to attract the opposite sex. Or the same sex. Whatever I can get, really. The point is, it’s not a crime to smell like money. And it’s not a crime to tell someone you smell like money. It’s really not even a crime to smell like anything, even liquor (in a bar?) and marijuana, as the officers claim he did. But apparently it is a crime to not want to get arrested. And you know what that smells like?

Yeah. Even I wouldn’t eat something I dropped in a pile of that.

Shredder fist bumps, shoulder bumps, and break dances. If you smell like money, tell Shredder at shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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