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Jeff Whitten: What to do when I grow up
editor's notes

From the rear lines of the pandemic, volume X, issue 9: 

If there’s one thing being on the rear lines of a pandemic gives you, it’s plenty of time to ponder what you want to do when you grow up.

In my case, I’m running out of time so I need to hurry.

I figure I’ve only got maybe 20 years left on this planet, meaning I’m probably checking out at just about the right time since with rising sea levels I might have to swim to work and the boat traffic on 95 will be awful, but that’s another story.

This story is about the short list of things I might want to do when I grow up, such as become a developer and turn the entire Georgia coast into a giant subdivision punctuated by strip malls and warehouses and upscale oil change places.

It should be a piece of cake.

I’m told all I need to become a bigshot developer, apart from some nervous lenders to back my myriad projects, and I will have lots of irons in the fire, is a pickup, a cell phone and some fishing shirts.

The brighter the color, the more bigshot I’ll be. Tangerine corvette jellyfish blue is likely a winning mix. Or otter sable ochre sea sand yellow mauve.

At any rate, I’ll be an upscale developer, and use all that razzmatazz language that denotes true quality, like luxury and refreshing and high living and gated upscale so no people who smell funny need apply unless they got loads of cash, and I’ll wander about saying free enterprise and the American Dream and local design ordnances are the devil.

Where was I? Oh yeah. My first development will be a 5,000 home subdivision on 20 acres since starting small is probably a good idea. I’m going to call it “Pooh.”

Yep. “Pooh.”

Like the little fat bear in the A.A. Milne classics.

“Move to Pooh,” I’ll write on the big electronic billboard at Highway 144 and 17, and scare motorists with photos of genuine vinyl upscale one-story mansions complete with their own driveway and grass. “Pooh is for you. You is for Pooh.”

Oh yeah, it’ll sell like hotcakes, but then I know this because you could probably throw up a tent from Walmart and if you prop it up with 2 by 4s, put enough vinyl siding on it and call it something Southern - like the Magnolia Earnhart Seabreeze 5,000 model and stick it within 30 miles of the coast, someone desperate not to be the last person to leave Ohio will buy it.

And the only thing to sell better than Southern in upscale circles is English. Look at Downtown Abbey. Look at Lesley Francis. Look at the Pidgeon sisters.

“Pooh,” while admittedly a wonderful little bear who deserves better than to have an upscale subdivision named after him, just sounds like the kind of place where you can take off your shoes and walk barefoot across the dollar weeds on your .034 acre yard and smell those gas grills going as everyone celebrates all the manifold and many blessings one feels compelled to celebrate these days when everything is a big deal because of selfies.

I tell you what, I’m in tears here as I write this, thinking of the gift to mankind I’m giving by building my first neighborhood. I won’t do it for the money, you see. I do it to see happy smiling people. The money’s sort of just there so I can move as far from my developments as possible. I don’t want to be a distraction, you see.

But if I don’t become a developer when I grow up, I might decide to become the writer of bro country rap songs.

Admittedly, I have dissed - see, I’m getting the lingo down already - the genre known as bro country in the past, but this is largely because my neighbors liked to turn it up at 3 a.m. or on Sunday afternoons when one is either trying to sleep or enjoy a nice quite afternoon outdoors. Upon further reflection, I believe bro country to be a true American art form and I want to contribute to it.

Here’s a sample, which is tentatively entitled, “She went and paved my dirt road, the heifer.”

“I was standing by my plywood door Just looking at the fake wood floor When I heard a big old throaty roar And saw that heifer changing up my road decor.”

I’m still working on the second verse, but true art, as we all know, takes time and probably some free beer.

Have a great July 4 weekend but be careful out there and cough in your armpit.

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