Forbidden Valley Five: Desperate Houseflies
Welcome to the fifth annual End of the Year Review Revue, a lackadaisical, haphazard and local look at 2005, a year in which we have unofficially renamed ourselves Much Happier Valley. This time last year, Penn State football along with its aging coach, was left for dead. And yet, healed, healed!! It arose and walked, not walked, it passed and ran for record yardage, all the while crushing all, well, almost all opposition back to their thumbsucking days in the Pop Warner leagues. Ah yes, 2005 saw the confounding of the unbelievers and offered redemption to the faithful.
LONG PAUSE. … oh did anything else happen?
Yes, Happy Valley was a media darling this year, all sorts of people wish they lived here now instead of having to suffer through mediocre tailgates and subdued sporting events attended by only 90,000 people who dress in a variety of colors. But is that the whole story?? In our haven of agreeable people eating well, where our crime rate is low, and our weather, let’s face it, is unlikely to help news anchors from the 24 hour cable channels bolster either their image or their ratings, can that be all there is to meet the eye?? Can every last item of our laundry be washed in bio degradable soap and hung out in the fresh Pennsylvania air to dry- metaphorically of course, as there are ordinances to keep clotheslines where they belong which is out of sight soaking up the radon in our basements.
Tonight we answer the question- is everything as hunky dory and copasetic underneath as it seems on the surface? Are we so fortunate to be as shallowly content as we seem? And the best thing is, you don’t have to decide, all by yourself. We live, after all, in a place where the local newspaper featured a serialized fiction story written by committee. I mean, why read a story written by one person who might be a stunning writer, but doesn’t live here and even if he or she did, obviously doesn’t understand the meaning of team. That’s just not us. We don’t go around yelling I AM, now do we? Anyone could say just about anything in reply to that. And how would they know if they were right? No..We do things together, it’s better that way. So,in the spirit of community, the folks here at Forbidden Valley asked local denizens to give their answers to the question, underneath all our happiness, is there…more happiness?? The winning –because as much as we love community, we love competition even better,- entries will be now be read. Listen and learn as we hear the tale of FORBIDDEN VALLEY FIVE, DESPERATE HOUSEFLIES, because everybody has a little bit of happy laundry.
(Bloody Mary) ALL
Letter Number One, from Happy McJoyful of Centre MillBurg Springs:
Dear Forbidden Valley: How can there be a downside to all the development? Just take for instance the newly formed CID: not to be confused with the CDC, DID, the CBICC, the COG, the PACVB, CPAFA, or the PACCBICCDCA, Pennsylvania Council of Committees for Business Improvements, Centre County Development and Contorted Acronyms. We are great, really fine, couldn’t be any greater. Because we know, impossible as it is for people in less favored regions to imagine, we can be even more we couldn’t be any greater. Plans, to say the least, are afoot. The sky is the limit . Ok One hundred and forty five feet is the limit Take that, nay sayers. How can our buildings be too tall?
(Bend and Stretch) SUSAN
Downtown condos too expensive? Never fear, we count on finding brave,well heeled folk, pre dotage, but just barely, who will be persuaded to live in the midst of downtown, where the movie choices are currently three different screens showing Scary Movie 19 and four featuring American Pie Road Trip Gone Wild, and the restaurant scene caters to people who consider beer an entrée.
(Who will buy)PAM
The new garage is completed automated! People? Who needs people?
People don’t need people, they need pedestrian walkway signs. Like the ones the borough put up to mark the walk ways, but the people thought the signs meant cars would stop and the cars thought it meant keep on driving, just not where the sign is. And there were no fatalities. Which is just like us!
(Walk the line) CHRIS
And what about urban sprawl ? Only the best places have that. And we are the best.
(It’s a small world. ALL
And will we be able to spend ten less minutes driving from undifferentiated conglomerates of box stores to nondescript commercial establishments? WHY YES! Eventually that is, if the highway ever gets finished.
ROUTE SIXTY SIX CHRIS
Happy McJoyful finishes her letter thusly
we have a new sports team, with it’s very own venue. How great is that? I mean, besides another Chinese take out place, what did we need more? Besides another hamburger joint and another pizza parlor, and another Walmart? And we got to name it!
(The Happy Wanderer) ALL
Letter number two is from Pleasance O’Peaceful of BurgtownGrove
Dear Forbidden Valley: Living here means we live in Pennsylvania, home of the most generous legislators in the world. This year they demonstrated that they understand completely both that charity begins at home, and that when your hand is caught in the cookie jar, better to unclench it and let the cookies drop. How fabulous is that?
(Can’t buy me love) SUSAN
We are proud of everything, even the things we aren’t proud of.
We lead the nation for number of deer killed on our highways. Awesomely bad, emphasis on the awesomely . Deer, thank you for making us number one.
(Born Free) CHRIS
And our weather is mediocre, that’s the great thing about it!
(Let it snow) PAM
Mrs. And Mrs. Quiet B. Quiet from SpringMillGroveHouse weigh in with letter number three.
Dear Forbidden Valley: It’s wonderful how we can decide peacefully and with such great civility what to do with our high school. And even when school board members, walking quietly down Beaver Ave are picked up and shaken by irate taxpayers and vituperous letters are posted in the newspaper, it only means that we care. Isn’t that the best?
Letter number four, from TownvilleHeim, was sent in by Tranquil S.Mellow.
Dear FVV, The best thing about living here in Forbidden Valley is how we locals can love to hate Penn State at the very same time we hate to love it. I love that. Go State. Take the new landscape architecture building… Please.
(I Feel Pretty)PAM
And it makes you wonder…is this what the tuition goes to pay for? Is this why PSU has the highest tuition of any pubic university in the nation?And Isn’t it great that an institution of higher learner inspires questions?
(Bad Moon Rising)SUSAN
But the big Penn State story this year, the really big story, was the decision to make the Tuesday before Thanksgiving a Friday instead of the Tuesday the first week of classes. Genius! And in passing, we can also discuss the Nittany Lions football team’s transformation. Here’s how wonderful we are. The team loses and we despair, the earth is spinning out of its orbit and the darkness that consumes us is complete, not even the smallest gleam from a third rate star breaks the unrelenting gloom. The team wins and we rejoice, and the glow of our happiness is radioactive, causing even our DNA to mutate. No longer spawning losers, we bring forth from our lions, winners. And no one thinks anything of it, than of course. That’s how it goes. No one asks - are we manic depressive or simple minded? Because we don’t care, as long as we win. Isn’t that the best thing ever??
(What a difference a day makes) CHRIS
And maybe some other people.
(Mrs. Robinson) SUE AND PAM
Admit it. We all know it. Players may come and go, the Big Ten may become the big 20, Bobby Bowden may be mummified and coach from the afterlife with his brain hooked up to a tank of electrolytes and GatorAde,
we , this year at least, are rededicated to the belief that our beloved coach is Joe P- eternal.
The Alleluia Chorus ALL
The last letter from Rose E. Future, Of CentreMiddleCentre is Forbidden Valley’s personal favorite. She writes: What about that housefly incident of last August? For days, a mysterious miasma hung over the valley, smelling distinctly of the excretory product of equine extraction. Shortly thereafter, we were inflicted by a positively biblical infestation of M Domestica which was either caused by a chronically challenged and geographically inept Deity who mistook us for Dover, PA or, the powerful on high Penn State, whose geographers and time keepers have PhD’s. But did that upset us? Hardly. We rolled up our newspapers, flung them at the insects, and grumbled, but eventually THE SMELL WENT AWAY! And so did the flies. How cool is that? And how fine are we? Are we going to let a temporary health hazard bring us down?
(Hot Hot Hot) ALL
And the only possible conclusion? Look far enough underneath the happy and you will find more happy.