Dear Kevin Payne — I’m writing this column a week early. By candlelight. Shadows dance eerily on dark walls and I’m composing this missive the old-fashioned way — via pencil. Seems someone turned the lights out.
For the fifth time in the last month.
I’m here in the robust, international metropolis of Canyon Country, world corporate headquarters of my company, Scared o’ Bears Ranch. Christmas is in a blink. There’s deadlines to make, presents to wrap, forms to send, appointments to be made, contracts to fill, cats to kill and books to write. And, I have no electricity. You guys shut it off. Again.
Frankly, I’m grateful.
Heavens. I could’ve hurt myself.
You chaps at Tommy Edison’s place? You averted perhaps the greatest weather disaster to hit the planet — the 2020 Christmas Eve Canyon Country Almost Tornado.
The 1887 Yellow River Disaster in China’s Henan Province? Chump change in comparison. India’s epic Coringa Cyclone of 1837? Doughnut crumbs. The Calcutta Tropical Storm of 1737? Squirrel boogers.
If you hadn’t ordered the three-day shutdown (again) of electricity to Canyon Country, who could calculate how wide would have been the swath of destruction?
Kev. My man. Do you live or work in Canyon Country? I WITNESSED wind gusts exceeding 3, maybe 4 mph. In horror, I watched a McDonald’s cheeseburger wrapper, swaying back and forth to gain confidence and momentum, as it considered being blown partway across our parking lot. You could almost SEE the tops of trees — SWAYING. Gently, mind you. But swaying. Adding to this perfect storm was the possibility of a firestorm that could have engulfed not just the entire Santa Clarita Valley, but also civilization stretching all the way to Catalina Island. Worse, the blinding rainstorm added 0.0000000000000000000000000000001 inch of rain to the threat of fire. Who knows? Safety is No. 1. Someone could have been driving a flaming stunt car, careened into Canyon Country’s famed Presto Log Factory, which is right next door to the open WD-40 reservoir adjacent to Bob’s House of New & Used Cigarette Lighters and across the dirt road by the Soledad Dryer Lint Storage Center.
Which is just down a bit from Solemint Puritan Church, home of the burning-at-the-stake festivities every third Sunday.
Nothing like an accused witch escaping and wiggling through the open lid of a Costco gas tanker.
What if Canyon Country’s tree toppled in the sub-gale-force breezes? I say “tree” in the singular because the city of SClarita doesn’t trust us to have more than the one in that we are H-billies and would somehow hurt ourselves. I don’t know. Perhaps you, Kev, and others in 2021’s New Ruling Class feel if we had two trees, we might try to connect them via rope, attempt to walk across said rope, fall and, helmetless, hurt ourselves.
Everyone in Canyon Country with a broken leg.
HELL of a storm last week, Kevin. Sure could see why power to thousands here was shut off to avert the identical twin of that 497-mile-tall, give or take, tidal wave that hit Lituya Bay in 1958. Lord only knows what would have happened if SCEUMM (SoCalEdison Useless Middle Management) hadn’t leapt into action. Fuse boxes could have popped in our community’s 14,006 tire repair emporiums, causing the chimpanzee on the bicycle at Power Plant No. 1 up San Francisquito Canyon to take a tumble. That stationary bike provides enough power to open and close a garage door for six minutes.
Thank you, Kevin. Thank you for turning off the electricity to thousands of our homes and offices because, as you know, we all have 9-inch-tall foreheads and just love to wrap damp dog food in tin foil and pop it in the microwave just to see what happens. Thank heavens for the Chinese Flu and the sacrifices they require. If we electricity-poor folk in Canyon Country weren’t wearing masks — who knows? We might be stumbling around well-lit rooms, sticking our tongues in live light sockets.
Maybe this was simply some sort of performance art stunt by some left-wing, social justice SCE intern to draw attention to The Oppressed. You know. Stick it to the middle class so that they know how it is to feel powerless?
Well. You won, Kevin. We DO know how it feels.
Cross-legged, sitting in the dark, right before Christmas, like mutants in an H.G. Wells novel, we while away the days, trying to raise moonshine jugs to our lips. Have YOU ever tried to get drunk in pitch-black conditions, Kevin? It’s challenging. When spring arrives and we’re able to use sunlight, we’ll sadly discover gallons of syrupy sour mash has seeped into our carpets, making them sticky.
We’ll also find winter’s corpses. Sticky people can’t move. They end up starving to death. It’s pathetic, I know, but it’s our Canyon Country version of the La Brea Tarpits.
As a friend, I have to warn you. Me? I’m a forgiving soul. But there’s been unkind talk going around. After 2020’s riots in the streets, COVID, screaming women with long and unsightly armpit hair protesting pronouns, the turning of the once-Golden State into a third-world nation, clown-like regulations, Democrats pooping in the streets and Netflix taking over public education, people in Canyon Country are beginning to grumble. They’re beginning to suspect that you and Your Pinching Snuff/Powdered Wig Ruling Class are becoming quite intent on — well.
Ruling us. Like in a Dark Ages/We’ll Fix Your Sorry Serf Rear Ends kind of way?
Mind you. I’m not in favor of wholesale punitive responses to inept and alleged public servants. No need for guillotines or the harvesting of heads of society’s leaders to be mounted on pikes outside the “Welcome to Canyon Country” sign.
Unless one’s adept at making torches, who could see the noggins in the pitch black of a Canyon Country night?
John Boston is a local writer who, prior to press time, had electricity.