Mr. Cope's Cave: Village at Meridian Happens


Yet another reason I have resisted opening a blog is that I was, and still am, a tad nervous that I may blurt out something too hot. And by the time I cool down, it has already made its appearance, still steaming, on the eternal stage of the Internet.

See, the first things I write on any given subject often tend to be indelicate, impolitic or injudicious, motivated by anger, disgust or the passion of the moment. Often, it’s the sort of thing you might expect to hear bursting from the mouth of someone who has just stepped in dog shit with his good loafers. However, when I begin working on a weekly column, it is anywhere from 14 to 18 days before the reader will pick up the pulp version of the Boise Weekly and see it. That gives me all the time in the world to decide if what I wrote on, say, a Tuesday, still seems like a good idea the following Saturday—well before I even have to hand it over on Deadline Day—which is still more than a week away from There’s-Not a Damn-Thing-I-Can-Do-About-It-Now Day.

For instance, if I express an opinion that our congressional delegation here in Idaho are little more than willing whores working slavishly in the corporate brothel—as I recently did—I have ample time to reflect upon whether the word “whore” is too strong—perhaps a little offensive to some, too crude or even too misogynist. In the end, I decided that “prostitute” was a better choice, a softer choice, even though I sacrificed some pizzazz and punch by giving up on “whore.” See what I mean?

The reason I’m bringing this up now is that I am, at this moment, searching for a way to tell you about a recent evening when I was coaxed into going to the grand opening of “Village at Meridian” without having the experience sound like I’d stepped in dog shit with my good loafers.

I mean, heaven forbid that I should hurt the feelings of any of the developers, architects, landscapers or elected officials who brought this particular dog shit to life. And were I preparing this for my column rather than my blog, I would most likely self-edit “I stepped in dog shit” into something like “I stepped into a gaudy, noisy, expensive facsimile of the way they market unnecessary goods to compulsive consumers in California or someplace else I have no interest in going for exactly that reason.”

See? Much nicer, isn’t it, though it lacks the pizzazz of “dog shit"? 

Ah, I just heard a collective groan from all my fellow Meridianistas who were there, having loads and loads and loads of fun. “But Mr. Cope,” they sigh, “you make it sound bad. What is so awful about intrusive canned music blaring from every direction—even from the bushes? What is so wrong with festive strings of light on every tree and every eave and every light pole... like in Disneyland? Or a fountain that shoots computerized columns of water into the air... like in Las Vegas? Or chain restaurants offering exotic dishes from far away places... like in Disneyland and Las Vegas—not to mention every other cheesy, over-blown center of self-indulgence? What’s wrong with hundreds and hundreds of people coming together to celebrate the joys of profligate spending, and relish the moment when the last shred of their hometown’s distinctive identity sinks like a bloated corpse, dead and gone forever, into a garish deluge of gimmicks and banality, all imported from the most hackneyed locales in all the land? What’s wrong with you, Mr. Cope? Why do you always have to be so negative? Don’t you ever feel the magic?”

Ah, darn, I guess they’re right. I shouldn’t be so negative. After all, where else in Meridian that night could I have heard a Beatles tribute band that sounded—and looked—as if they’ve been at it since the actual Beatles? Or squeezed into some Arizona-based chain joint with 300 others to pay $30 for one weak drink each to my wife, my daughter and myself?

My fellow Meridianans are right. I was being indelicate, impolitic and injudicious, just for suggesting the experience was like stepping in dog shit. And I’m sure glad I waited until now to write about it so that I had time to tamp down my initial reaction.

Still, I can’t help but think, had I gone out and stepped in dog shit that evening rather than going to Village At Meridian, I’d be $30 ahead.