Monday, June 2, 2014

Blow Up or Throw Up

After very little thought, I’ve come to the conclusion that Norristown needs to be nuked, done away with, put out of its misery – take your pick.

I reached this conclusion while driving through Norristown’s deplorable streets, sitting at its interminably long stop lights and dealing with its population, most of which is a walking, talking full-page advertisement for the death sentence.

Being the sweetheart of a guy I am, and in the process of recovering from my kidneys being rattled for the 853rd time while driving over potholes that have been ignored by what passes for local government, I actually attempted to come up with something positive about this borough, municipality or whatever it’s being called this week - and came up virtually empty.

And I really tried.

I like Elmwood Park Zoo. Beyond that, several bombing runs are the only cure for what ails this once-proud burg.

Quick, name any store, restaurant, building, hell, anywhere you’d willingly care to venture in this garden spot turned garbage dump.

Culture? Ain’t none in these parts, Baba Looey.

A decent restaurant? I imagine there may be a few places that may not induce full-on, all-night vomiting. But I haven’t run across one.

As for its traffic lights, Norristown still features that type first installed in this country in the 1960s that work off a timer. In other words, you move when the light changes, not when you’re the lone driver in the intersection. So, while you wait for the light to change, you’re subject to whatever dangers exist in that area. And in Norristown, that can mean anything from panhandlers with attitudes to carjackers with large weaponry to drunks with attitudes and large weaponry.

The worst part of this tale of good town gone to hell is that, like many metropolises now in the final stages of degradation, Norristown used to be a very nice, very attractive spot. Downtown was a bustling, hustling cornucopia of interesting stores, friendly faces and mom-and-pop eateries that served unique, stomach-pleasing fare.

Oh, the Friday nights I spent there as a child, following my parents into places like “Woolworth’s” and “John’s Bargain Store.” And if I were really lucky I’d get to go into the “Herman’s Sporting Goods” store, where tykes could revel in all of the must-haves of male childhood, like football helmets and baseball bats.

Inevitably, the evening on the town would end at the “Norris” movie theatre, where the latest first-run double feature would have me and the folks smiling and chatting as we walked back to the car, and all the way home.

There was a time when my mom worked at the long-defunct “Chatlin’s” department store on Main Street, and who could forget that spot’s wooden floors that magically creaked wherever you walked.

Their candy machines were first class, and for Christmas there was that long yuletide display that led directly to the toy department.

Oh, the memories.


Good luck walking any place on Main Street where you’d feel safe or comfortable. As for the stores, there are virtually none, unless you have something to pawn or an iffy check you need to cash.

There’s nary a friendly face to be found, although these days the blank looks far outweigh the threatening ones.

So what’s there to do with this foul-smelling snake pit of a town?

Clear the decks, warn a handful of the populace and begin the bombing.

There’s a good chance the roads may actually be improved, or at least not made worse, by a little bomb-created bedlam.

When the smoke clears, the process of rebuilding can begin.

Although if those that remain decide to leave things as is, there’s an excellent chance no one will notice.












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