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Too Close For Comfort

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Well-known member
Feb 13, 2005
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by Lee Pitts

Too Close For Comfort

I read somewhere that the world is growing by 168 people every minute... and I suspect all of them are moving to my small town.

The global village is getting far too crowded for my tastes. According to my outdated encyclopedia the population density of the entire planet is 117 people per square mile. So, the United States at 76 persons per square mile looks rather uncluttered. Especially when you compare it to a place called Macao, which evidently has never heard of sex education, with a population density of 69,000 people per square mile! The poor buggers must be stacked on top of each other. I lived in Australia for a year and found it about right at six people per square mile but even that felt crowded while I waited in line to use a pub's restroom.

The feeling of being crowded is not best expressed as a number. There are better ways to tell if you're little hamlet is being overrun with people. For example, if there is a Wal Mart, sushi bar, fast food joint, Starbucks, modern art museum, oxygen bar or tattoo parlor within 10 miles of where you live the carrying capacity has already been exceeded. If you have a sign welcoming people to your town on which the population number is bigger than the elevation you may want to consider relocating. I wouldn't want to live anywhere where the people outnumber the cows.

Other signs of a population explosion include the presence of parking meters, stoplights, speed bumps and express lanes. If you have more than one Dairy Queen, town drunk, zip code, high school, banker or bar you have already had one too many. If the nearest movie theater has more than one screen or the library has more than one copy of the latest Grisham novel you are being exposed to far too much culture.

If you know your sheriff's name, see no need to lock your doors and dial a wrong local number and talk for an hour anyway you are in a sweet spot. There should only be one homeless person in town and the only reason he's homeless is because he's thirty years old and you finally kicked the lazy bum out of the house.

It's already too crowded if you have to show an ID at the bank to cash a check or wait in line at the fireworks stand. If you go to the local cemetery for a funeral and there are two freshly dug holes too many folks are dying to live where you do. Your only traffic jams should be caused by a flock of sheep or an oversized farm implement and there should never be anyone else in the same aisle as you in the grocery store.

To be considered a decent place to live the term "rat race" should apply only to rodents and the local "mall" should consist of nothing bigger than a couple gas pumps and a quickie mart. The elevator on Main Street should hold grain, not move people and the words "crowd control" should NOT refer to anything other than an orange cone in the road or a velvet rope in the bank.

Population density is best measured by the local newspaper. If it's a daily there is far too much going on. The local football team should lead the news, not news from some foreign country you hope never to visit. The sheriff's log for the week should consist of mostly lost dogs, heart attacks and fender benders and if someone writes an anonymous letter to the editor you should still be able to tell who wrote it.

Sounds of an impending invasion include jake brakes, sirens and the words, "Attention K-Mart shoppers." In your town the only swarms should go buzz, the only "SWAT" team should be armed with fly swatters and no stranger should be sitting in your seat at the coffee shop. The only tourist season your town should have is on the first day of hunting season and if more than two cars pass your house in an hour you are already on the road to ruin. If political candidates come to your town every four years I'd be checking out real estate in Macao if I were you.
:D :D :D :D
Amen!!! our little town has a winter time population of approximately 700 full-time, year round residents....THEN the invasion of the "summer residents" hits at memorial day and last til the first week in october!! ICK!!!
they drive around in cadillac escalades with montana plates (though they reside in places like california and new jersey and florida), spend their big money and claim to be "cowboys from the mountains of montana"....sure makes us full-timers pray for the snow of October :wink: :wink: no stop light here, yet....no traffic til summer (and that is because the summer resident/fish-hippies think they have the right of way to cross the street whenever they see fit)...one zip code, one high school :D you hit the nail on the head!!! thanks for the morning lifter-upper!!