Tony Rishell responds to last week’s ‘Grinch’ letter

Dear Editor,

I am moved to write a response to a letter from The Grinch published last week.  It seems my neighbor is upset with the gum-flapping some of us are up to. Please excuse us … it’s what happens when we’re enjoying a latte at States after being up late at Barrel Aged.  

The Grinch is simply upset because Martizians young and old have awakened him from his long winter’s nap with all of their buzzing. He’s been content to doze downtown in an empty plaza, mildly bothered now and again by a beer crawl. But now he can’t get back to sleep. 

Buzz. It’s that wonderful sound you hear when many little worker bees are busy cultivating the garden. Buzz lets you know that flowers are being tended to, that someone actually cares, actually visits.  And not just one someone, but lots of someones. Lots of someones heralding betterment, filling the skies with the sound of change, of fruitfulness, of life. Fruit in the garden and honey in the hive.  All organically grown.

Analogously, buzz is word of mouth, organically arising from that sense of excitement that comes with being a part of something new and good.  It’s both a sign and stimulus for cultural development, and on the heels of cultural development comes economic growth, and, yes, what usually follows, my good neighbor Grinch, is city planning.
(If I may show my other hand for a moment: philosophy is the love and pursuit of wisdom; wisdom is the understanding of causes; the proposition that buzz leads to city planning is an example of causal reasoning; therefore, “yapping about ‘how to create buzz’” is itself philosophical yapping, making yappers old and young alike true philosophers, not “wanna-bes.”)

Now, I know buzz can be scary. You could get stung. Just remember what mama used to say: leave them alone and they’ll leave you alone.  And I get it … all this organic talk of buzz might make a sedentary Grinch yack, especially if you’ve become used to the same ol’ gluten-packed, nitrate rich bologna and American cheese sandwich day after day, year after year. Today’s mama says: go paleo.

There is a point The Grinch is right about: Main Street Martinez, and in their own ways the Chamber and the City, have progressed Martinez to this point. Like good cultivators they have fashioned a beautiful, raised garden bed, filled it with good soil, fertilized it, sown seed, and watered it. And lo! Today, plants are growing and flowering, and the bees are coming! Come, bees, come! Buzz, bees, buzz! I’m sure our city’s cultivators will continue to nurture (thanks Main Street & Chamber) and weed (thanks City) this blooming garden.  

On the other hand, there is a point that The Grinch is very wrong about. We don’t hold the keys to what’ll suddenly make Martinez a bastion of arts and commerce. WE ARE THE KEYS. You, me, all of us … even our neighbor, The Grinch.

We are the keys, and we are the bees. So I say: come, bees, come! Buzz, bees, buzz!

And I offer my gratitude to Mr. Grinch for shaking the bee hive.  

– Tony Rishell

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