John Boston | Get Free Crystal Meth & Welcome to Elsmere Canyon

John Boston

My heart goes out to The Government. Why? The Government has to deal with The Public, that many-limbed creature with the smallish brain. 

My heart goes out to The Public. Because? The Public has to fend off The Government, which is blessed with three immortal gifts: 1) Annoying people; B) Churning out avalanches of paperwork and imbecilic edicts; and, ii) Making signs.

It saddens me in looking back that I have lived a life unlived. I am adept, nay — gifted — at all three of the above vexations. 


I should work for the government.

My daughter and I went hiking last Sunday up Elsmere Canyon. Forming a charred and still stinky armpit from recent fires, the trailhead begins at the end of Newhall Avenue, right by the 14 Freeway. Our hike was delayed by reading. There are countless edicts posted by innumerable agencies one must read before one is allowed to actually walk. 

How our rule makers love this Made-In-China virus. Dog catchers to park rangers get to tighten the belt a few notches and wag crooked index fingers in our direction.

How DARE Thou? Thy Must

Wear Masks During Flu No. 19.

Will I get in trouble for saying? So far this hasn’t been much of a Zombie Apocalypse.

Alas, there’s no known government agency to stop my daughter from maturing. She’s almost 18. Identical statues, standing with hands on hips, we craned our necks, staring at all the warning signs at the entrance to Elsmere. Lately, America’s countryside is littered with Government Post-Its.

That’s why I like Idaho.

No signs.

Well. There’s the one.

You cross into Idaho from Oregon and there’s that small, tasteful and weathered “Howdy” placard with the obligatory three bullet holes. You cross from Idaho into Oregon and the first 30 miles of highway is littered with “Don’t Do This” and “Don’t Do That” and “Don’t Even Think About Doing THAT” and “Welcome To Oregon! Free Crystal Meth If You Vote Democrat!”

I’m not sure if The Government is offering heroin for hikers at Elsmere. Yet. But they sure want dogs on leashes.

One of my closest friends has an uncle who likes to hike with his dog. Fred’s a crusty soul. He dutifully attaches a very short leash to his dog’s collar and lets the canine whimsically drag the tether. His reasoning? “Signs don’t say there has to be anything on the other end attached to the leash…”

May I have an “amen” followed by a robust “boy howdy?”

My daughter and I had several deep conversations about Leash Laws. It’s like we could hear James Earl Jones’ bass voice, reminding: Thou Shalt Keep All Dogs On A Leash. Really? ALL dogs? One leash? And what’s with the blatant discrimination? We’re nagged about not wearing Kentucky Fried Chicken around our necks as this is mountain lion country and that cougars have been known to punch you in the nose and hurt your feelings. When I say, “cougars,” I’m referring to the Santa Clarita’s healthy and stealthy big cat population, not the 40-something gin-soaked divorcees with low self-esteem. So how come mountain lions don’t have to wear leashes? Doesn’t that seem more reasonable? To tether person-eating feline predators?

Now there’s a much-needed trail sign I’d be happy to design:



There are metal placards warning us to stay on trails and enjoy social distancing. I’ve already enjoyed social distancing. Not counting conjugal visits, I’ve been married like 97 times. Why do you need a sign reminding you not to pretend you’re Groucho Marx and walk behind someone pelvis-to-heinie? Hmm. Might have to retype that last sentence. Pelvis to Heinie. Sounds like a Monday Night Football announcer describing an errant pass. 

In ample signage, our Elsmere god/bureaucrats scold that during Cold & Flu Season, we must wear masks.

What kind? Halloween?

A Lone Ranger/Hearty “Hi-Ho Silver!” eye bandana?

I’m telling you where this is leading. Soon we’ll be required to wear something that will hold refrigerator magnets. You know. Like in Alexander Dumas’ 19th-century novel, “The Man in the Iron You-Know-What?”

The more I think about it, having SCV hikers wear whacky masks, kabuki or otherwise, would make the walking, especially uphill, more enjoyable. I’d like to smile and nod at a fellow outdoorsman as we pass by. I’m in a Darth Vader helmet. He’s wearing a Joe Biden mask, which is actually two heads. The noggin behind would be of the grinning-out-of-context former inept vice president. The head in front is a terrified teenage girl. Why is she frightened? Joe’s sniffing her hair.

There’s so much open space out there in Elsmere and other SClarita nature spots. So much room for more signs. They don’t have to all be obvious. Like, “Touch Not Thyself In A Place Impure. Like Palmdale, 32 miles To The Northeast. Visit our Motel 6.” Or, “Floss.” Followed by “Do Not Leave Floss On The Trail.” Or, if you’re close to a post office: “Do Not Leave Floss In The Mail!” If I were in charge, I’d compose the sign:



More edicts I could invent while wearing a beige Maytag Repairman/Forest Ranger jumpsuit?

I think mountain lions should be leashed AND they need to wear masks. I’d suggest deer or Democrat masks. That would make it easier for pumas to sneak up on deer and Democrats.

And eat them. Flossing, afterwards, of course.

I’ve noticed another thing about this plethora of damn-you-to-hell Wear A Mask public servant announcements in our valley’s recreational areas. The Government doesn’t say where to wear them. Next time I’m hiking by myself, maybe I’ll just strip bare butt naked. I’ll wrap my face mask around my fetching nether regions.

Can we wear our masks as jock straps and still be in compliance?

John Boston is a local inappropriate hiker. And a masked writer with 100-plus awards.

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