Only On Vashon- The Weekly Rundown 10/28/2022

There’s a couch at the Gravel Pit. Some want it hauled away, but others think it’ll be a comfy place to relax and enjoy the view. “It’s always been my dream to live up there! Someone clearly beat me to it,” said one islander. Others say we should put a FOR RENT sign on it. 

The problem, however, is what happens to furniture left in the rain. One isalnder says, “you’re going to need rain gear and maybe a snorkel mask to lounge out on that davenport.” That sounds like a pretty fun Friday night to me. 

Rather than haul it away, one commenter has this suggestion: “Just push it over the cliff 😬 🙂 JK!” 

Finally,we are shamed  for our tacky choice of illegally dumped furniture by someone who says, “What? No exercise bikes? This Island is getting lazy.”

One islander an unusual ask. She titles her post, in all caps, “REPREHENSIBLE CANDY.”

The candy of dubious moral standing in question is candy cigarettes. Why would someone try to track down such a candy? My first thought was so she could give it to trick-or treaters. The real reason is that she is hosting a James Baldwin themed party, and everyone knows you can’t throw a James Baldwin themed party without candy cigarettes. This is because, along with writing the seminal book Notes of a Native Son, Baldwin was known for chewing on candy cigarettes. 

Of course we all come together as a community to help track down the forbidden candy. There’s a candy store in Poulsbo, and someone is willing to stop there and then traffic the candy cigarettes back to the island. 

One isalnder suggests rolling your own. 

Archie McPhees has them, but they’re some off-brand ones that don’t make clouds of cornstarch when you puff on them. 

Someone offers an alternative.  “I have a pack of prop cigarettes. Looks like the real deal with a glowing cherry and smoke. Just DON’T INHALE!”

What happens if you inhale? Will it hurt you? Are these sugar-free asbestos cigarettes? Should we give these to children? 

I like the idea of exploring literature by seeing how authors’ personalities, habits, and ideologies express themselves through food. Apparently, I’m not the only one.  Someone says,  “You’ve inspired me to consider hosting an Ayn Rand-themed party.”

That begs the question of what food to serve. The answer: “For the guests, filet mignon from cattle raised by the most rugged of Wyoming ranchers, heroes who carved themselves into existence from stones cleaved by God from the face of the Tetons. Their cattle will have grazed on BLM land (the grazing fees for which still haven’t been paid). The parasitic waitstaff shall enjoy Soylent Green and Eazy Cheez.”

I want a Guy Fieri themed party where I eat too many fried jalapenos dipped in American cheese in the midst of an inferno. 

Let’s just agree not to have a Herman Melville themed party, on account that I don’t want to eat raw whale while tossing about on a ship in the middle of the ocean and suffering from the early stages of scurvy. 

The James Baldwin party has been downsized, but it still sounds like my kind of feast. “We’re surprising the boys with a Baldwin themed breakfast: a bottle of coca-cola, a croissant and a pack of candy cigarettes. LET LITERATURE LIVE! “

Someone asks to have this sign explained. 

One person has a clear explanation, “Do not hold tiny microphones between your index finger and thumb.”

I can see why they would think that, but maybe the sign means that it’s ok to toss ninja stars at Starbucks cups. 

Or it could mean ‘Do not give cigarettes to three-eared rabbits.’ This is because rabbits should only have candy cigarettes. (All rabbits are fans of James Baldwin.)

In the end, the sign remains a mystery. 

An islander posted anonymously to ask about the “paintings of random people of color” in the windows of local establishments. They said the pictures seem “ like virtue signaling.”

The paintings are by local artist West McLean, and they feature Black people killed by police, civil rights icons, missing women of color, and people imprisoned due to the War on Drugs. More information can be found here:

I wonder about how displaying your beliefs through art gets interpreted as virtue signaling. Why would someone jump to the most cynical interpretation of an artwork? Would someone look at the Boston Holocaust Memorial and say, “A public show of grief for people killed by state violence- smells like Virtue Signaling to me.”

Most of the commenters point out the purpose of the paintings, and one says, “I would say that even if it were virtue signaling it would be a better mentality than whatever this is.”

But of course there are some opinions that come slithering out of the festering darkness of the human psyche and find their way into the comments section. One says, “It’s part of a Orwellian Vashon island death cult that exploits dead people with narcissistic virtue signaling tokenism as a satanic ritualistic worship practice.”

I’m trying to think of which Orwell book involved characters openly mourning people killed by the state, but all I can think of are the books where the government changed the language and dictated the contents of art in order to make it impossible to criticize or examine an overbearing police state.

 As a side note, Satanic rituals use pentagrams and obsidian statues of goat-people as well as the Haunted Hayride candle from Yankee Candle. Their foray into public art is usually giant man-goat statues placed outside state capitals as a protest against the Ten Commandments monument.

Finally, someone shared this image to help explain why our mail is so often delayed. 

Anna Shomsky
Author: Anna Shomsky

I'm a former teacher and a data engineer living on Vashon Island. My writing has appeared in Five on the Fifth, Women on Writing and on the Post-Culture Podcast. I wrote and produced the radio show Whispers of Vashon for 101.9 KVSH. I’ve had short stories published in the anthologies Island Stories and Chicken Scratchings, as well as through the Open Space Literary Project.

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