40 THINGS TO DO WITHOUT. Lent has begun – a season of reflection and sacrifice for believers seeking spiritual strength, a season bridging the gray gloom of winter and the green promise of spring for those seeking renewal, a season of waffles and chicken hash for those seeking comfort in the caloric basement of Calvary Church – 40 days of all of that for me.
So here’s my humble suggestion of 40 things, in no particular order, we could give up over Lent and emerge from the wilderness of our public discourse in a better mood.
1. Anything about Greg Davis. Really, anything. 2. Any Ophelia Ford or Cracker Rapper YouTube video. 3. Any more pictures of David Pickler anywhere. 4. Bill Boyd revisionist history. 5. Janis Fullilove histrionics. 6. Norris Todd revisionist legislation. 7. Terry Roland histrionics. 8. Sons of Confederate Veterans revisionist relevance. 9. Walter Bailey and George Little histrionics. 10. A public park named Forrest pissing off a big chunk of the public. 11. Changing that park’s name from Forrest to Ida B. Wells pissing off a big chunk of the public. 12. Any park name that Myron Lowery comes up with. 13. Health Sciences Park. Healing Arts Park would sound less like somebody giving blood. 14. Memphis Park. Battle of Memphis Park would note history and Jeff can stay. 15. Mississippi River Park. Founders Park would note origins. 16. The expression, “You can’t change history.” No, you can’t. But you can’t just keep the parts you like and throw the rest away. 17. The expression, “Parks are history.” No, they’re not. History is history. Parks are things people come up with for reasons of their own. Just look at the names the council just came up with. 18. The expression, “It’s not hurting anybody.” If you have to say that, it’s probably hurting a great number of people. 19. Any law that Stacey Campfield comes up with. 20. Blaming whatever’s wrong on Memphis. 21. Blaming whatever’s wrong on the suburbs. 22. Blaming whatever’s wrong on Nashville. 23. Blaming whatever’s wrong on Washington. 24. Blaming whatever’s wrong on Obama. 25. Blaming whatever’s wrong on the Tea Party. 26. Blaming whatever’s wrong on Republicans, Democrats or Beyoncé. 27. Blaming whatever’s wrong on the Rudy Gay trade. 28. Blaming whatever’s wrong on Delta. OK, we can keep that one. 29. Delta. 30. Did I mention Delta? 31. The gigantic new Fort Parking at the airport. Oh, never mind, nobody’s using it anyway. 32. Packing in parking lots, pews and PTA meetings. 33. The slogan “City of Choice.” Please. 34. Any more slogans copied from other cities, “I (heart) Memphis,” “Memphis Rocks,” etc. 35. Any more discrimination against anybody for being different from anybody else. Except, of course, for Delta. 36. Closing the state office building, an award-winning Francis Gassner design worthy of another look. 37. Losing the Nineteenth Century Club. 38. Losing state funding for I-69. 39. Jaywalking. 40. Potholes.
Get thee behind me, Satan.
I’m a Memphian, and I’m giving it up for my hometown.
Dan Conaway is a lifelong Memphian, longtime adman and aspiring local character in a city known for them. Reach him at email@example.com.