As the City Backwashes: A Reflection

See that look? It’s concentration. Extreme concentration. Not exhaustion.

As the State Turns began as a fairly humorless state news column several years ago, evolving over time into a bizarre experiment in word-smithing that I honestly have a lot of trouble defining. While mostly rooted in satire and parody, crafted through the voice of a caricature of myself, I also chose to use my actual name out of some sado-masochistic desire, and often included some real outrage and a certain amount of “on the level” speech that has a hard time finding its place in traditional journalism. As far as ATST and it’s counterpart, Linn-Benton Backwash, have been concerned, what exactly has been…what? It’s hard to tell, and that has been kind of the point, even if being spotted on the street by readers has come with a “are you going to hug me or hit me?” response.

I’m happy to report that there has been a rather uncomfortable amount of hugs, and no hits. Though I’ve been screamed at a handful of times. I blame it on seasonal affective disorder. But really, Corvallis is just kind of an uptight place. Through privilege, one can afford to get mad about certain things. And though that outcome has been evidenced by sometimes weekly hate mail (including informal cease and desist letters from school Superintendents), I’ve always believed that the majority of people here are pretty much like everyone else; only here. And that the human spirit needs a fair bit of assertive, yet kind-hearted, lackadaisical uh…stupidity, in order to ground itself. And you’re welcome.

But really, this little aside is about thanking you. Being able to reach out in this fashion and connect with so many Corvallisites on a completely ridiculous level has helped me not only stay employed in a job that actually counts for something, but acted as a constant reminder that although we’re sort of good at passive aggression and forming committees to discuss the formation of committee-forming committees around here, Corvallis really is a great place to live with many incredibly good neighbors. Jerks aside, of course (there’s no shame in having a handful or three).

Point being, if you’re neck deep in political, economic, or city business it can sometimes be hard to remember that. So I’m going to keep on writing stupid stuff about poop. Which makes no sense, of course, because I’m totally not Sam Campbell. I don’t know who that is.

By Johnny Beaver

PS: I had a literal neighbor my wife and I miss rather dearly when we lived down Division. She made damn good butterscotch fudge and let me know when the columns were actually good. Thank you! And we hope you’re still enjoying the lack of that &%@*! mimosa tree, whose tree-grave I still spit on.

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