It eventually had to happen: The influx of Yankees and the gentrification of Balsam Ridge led to some changes. The flatlanders who had moved in systematically passed some laws requiring property owners to spruce up their places and keep them tidy. Goodness knows, the place had gotten into a state; and a little improvement would not have hurt, no how!
One of those ordinances is that lawn must be grassy; no weeds or substances that is not bona fide lawn stuff. Two of the local residents, Marge and Buford, now were in legal arrears. Marge, it seems, planted her front lawn in sweet basil and rosemary. The nearby neighbors had no problem with that. Marge would given them clippings and their cats smelled damned fine when they returned home in the morning. As for Buford, he was plumb lazy; and replaced his grass with carpet from old miniature golf courses! He had daffodils grow in the holes in the carpet!
So as to make it crystal clear and in local language, the City Council passed an ordinance against "tacky lawn decorations." Now tacky, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. But when the local constable started issuing citations, folk began to get to questions about definitions.
What is tacky, after all? Are pink flamingos tacky? How about lawn gnomes? What about toilets as lawn decorations? What about that 1978 Ford Fairlane on concrete blocks? Or any streetworthy Chevy? And, very importantly, is it tacky to have indoor furniture on your front porch? In order to address this matter, the puzzled citizenry consulted two Big Dude Philosophers from the State University. In a childlike innocence, they sought enlightenment.
One of the philosophers, Manny Kant, opined that since there were intuitive Categories of Thought it would follow that there are some intuitive categories of tackiness. This in turn is related to kitsch!
The other one, Georgie Porgie Berkeley, stated that, following the rule esse est percepte, tackiness is in the eye of the beholder. The City Council, by now well over their heads in elevated thinking, decided to judge specific examples of objects as categories. Council Member Bill James suggested taking a pragmatic approach.
To go into specifics, those council members mandated that garden gnomes were classy as long as they were not mooning people; but they did not go so far as to require them. Plastic flamingos were illegal as the city council labelled them as really tacky. Perching a toilet on one's lawn, or even worse, on one's porch was met with a $1000 fine. There is an extra fine imposed if it's a working model. Putting an indoor sofa on the porch was deemed rednecky: only college students were given dispensations for this decorative barbarity.
What about cars? The City Council, Solomon-like, made it illegal to have more than one car on concrete blocks, whether Ford or Chevy. Immediately, a contrarian put his Honda Accord on concrete blocks. Leave it to someone to find a loophole.
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