The Terrible Snowman

Death Sentence

He arises mysteriously every year; a creature that rivals King Kong in proportions, more dangerous than the Sasquatch, more dazzling than the Eiffel Tower. It’s the abominable snowman; Snowzilla! He’s most certainly abominable. The Anchorage Assembly has declared his presence a menace to society, and ordered him destroyed. They ordered the owner of the monster to destroy him and billed him for $170,000 in damages, most of which was the accumulative process of citations for having junk in his yard.

Junk, as defined by the law books, is anything the owner can no longer find a use for. This creates a rather hair-splitting definition when people begin peaking into each other’s backyard. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. The idea behind this prerogative is that elderly items should be properly designated to their elderly homes; broken down autos should go to salvage and repair yards. Notice the proper political protocol. Once removed from your own yard, it’s no longer junk, but salvageable and repairable. Scrap metal shall go to scrap metal yards, unwanted clothing and outdated appliances should be donated to second hand stores to do as they see fit. At no time should you deem an item as fit to be saved for your own future usefulness. There are experts in junk business for that.

Billy Ray Powers has disputed the junk yard claims around his home for thirteen years and continues to battle city hall, but he did destroy poor Snowzilla, whose sixteen foot stature was an offence to the town that didn’t want revelers to see that there were actually some small, modest homes in Anchorage, with narrow streets and an inability to keep up with their world class, industrial oil-fed neighbors. Snowzilla’s appearance caused a social embarrassment. He also committed a ghastly sin against society; people were having fun without paying for it.

There are legal requirements for fun. Camping should be left to designated camp grounds that charge a six dollar a day fee for the privilege of setting up your vehicle or tent in a spot that has filthy port-a-potties and hand pumped water. There are anxiety spasms each summer as people gather around their favorite swimming holes, having free fun by splashing in water provided by Mother Nature. Since free fun jeopardizes National security, the favorite spots are decorated with cameras. Once too many families are spinning around, riding their speed boats, chasing their children, eating hot dogs and marshmallows, it’s time to close down the beach and send the cheap party revelers on their way.

Winter creates special hazards for free fun. No matter how much they are advertised as beneficial to the well-being of your children, there are still people who refuse to pay for the local ice skating rink or spend their weekend savings on a ski resort. They would rather clear a patch of snow from a nearby lake or form their own ice rink in their back yard. They’d rather trudge on cross-country skis than pay fifteen dollars for five minutes of speeding pleasure down hill. While nothing, so far, has been done about these flagrant rebels against paid entertainment, it turns out something can be done about the size of snowmen. You must acquire a snowman building permit and keep the snowman within certain regulations not yet determined by the courts. Although this may dash the hopes of young snowmen artists, they will learn the practical applications for conducting business through fees and licensing.

This revelation, as announced by the mayor of Anchorage, about to become the Senator of Alaska, would have caused a great deal of trepidation for the free fun lovers if a miracle had not occurred. Snowzilla, devastated by his master’s reluctant hand just a few short days before Christmas, magically reappeared the next morning, a full ten feet taller, with a hat and corn cob pipe! It seems nobody knows how Snowzilla was resurrected, but there he was; lumpier, but a little more jovial looking; his stick arms spreading out to his community. Ebineezer may have taken all the joy at of Christmas. Scrooge may have turned the occasion into a frenzy to prove you can squander your money better than your neighbors on his unnecessary manufacturing of gifts that pile up in your closets to be labeled as junk and dutifully carted off to your favorite charity to shred, smash, discard or sell as they see fit, but you can’t steal the spirit of Snowzilla. You might not believe in Santa Claus, but yes, Virginia. Frosty really does exist.

About karlsie

Some great perversity of nature decided to give me a tune completely out of keeping with the general symphony; possibly from the moment of conception. I learned to read and speak almost simultaneously. The blurred and muffled world I heard through my first five years of random nerve loss deafness suddenly came alive with the clarity of how those words sounded on paper. I had been liberated for communications. I decided there was nothing more wonderful than writing. It was easier to write than carefully modulate my speech for correct pronunciation, and it was easier to read than patiently follow the movements of people’s lips to learn what they were saying. It was during that dawning time period, while I slowly made the connection that there weren’t that many other people who heard the way I did, halfway between sound and music, half in deafness, that I began to understand that the tune I was following wasn’t quite the same as that of my classmates. I was just a little different. General education taught me not only was I just a little isolated from my classmates, my home was just a little isolated from the outside world. I was born in Alaska, making me part of one of the smallest, quietest minorities on earth. I decided I could live with this. What I couldn’t live with was discovering a few years later, in the opening up of the pipeline, which coincided with my first year of junior college, that there were entire communities of people; more than I could possibly imagine; living impossibly one on top of another in vast cities. It wasn’t even the magnitude of this vision that inspired me so much as the visitors who came from these populous regions and seemed to possess a knowledge so great and secretive I could never learn it in any book. I became at once, very conscious of how rural I was and how little I knew beyond the scope of my environment. I decided it was time to travel. The rest is history; or at least, the content of my stories. I traveled... often to college campuses, dropping in and out of school until one fine day by chance I’d fashioned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. I’ve worked a couple of newspapers, had a few poems and stories tossed around in various small presses, never receiving a great deal of money, which I’m assured is the norm for a writer. I spent ten years in Mexico, watching the peso crash. There is some obscure reason why I did this, tightening up my belt and facing hunger, but I believe at the time I said it was for love. Here I am, back home, in my beloved Alaska. I’ve learned somewhat of a worldly viewpoint; at least I like to flatter myself that way. I’ve also learned my rural roots aren’t so bad after all. I work in a small, country store. Every day I greet the same group of local customers, but make no mistake. My store isn’t a scene out of Andy Griffith. The people who enter the establishment, which also includes showers, laundry and movie rentals, are miners, oil workers, truck drivers, construction engineers, dog sled racers and carpenters. Sometimes, on the liquor side, the conversations became adult only in vocabulary. It’s a good thing, on the opposite side of the store is a candy aisle filled with the most astonishing collection, it will keep a kid occupied with just wishing for hours. If you tell your kids they can have just one, you have an instant baby sitter; better than television; as they agonize over their choice while you catch up on the gossip with your neighbor. We also receive a lot of tourists, a lot of foreign visitors. They are usually amazed at this first sign of Alaskan rural life style beyond the insulating hub of the Anchorage bowl. Many of them like to hang around and chat. They gawk at our thieves wanted posters. They laugh at our jokes and camaraderie with our customers. I’ve learned another lesson while working there. You don’t have to go out and find the world. If you wait long enough, it comes to you.

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