Shots and words by M. Scott Smith

From the Less Mature Files: Wyoming is a Happening Place 🔗

This column never made it into the school newspaper, because I had graduated college. Once again, I was on a cross-country trek, and occasionally commited some thoughts to my trusty PowerBook. If I recall correctly, I was in the beautiful town of Gillette, Wyoming, when I penned this column. (And by beautiful, I mean "desolate" and "boring.")

Although some of the natives of Wyoming scare me (for example, Dick Cheney), I actually spent quite a bit of my childhood in Wyoming. My family owns a cabin in a remote part of Wyoming, and we spent many summer weekends at the cabin. The cabin has no running water, and no electricity. And that wasn't a bad thing.

Read on to learn about the typical American suburban town.

As best as I can tell, no one actually lives in Wyoming.

This is one of the few states where you can drive for miles and not see anything, even if you're not blind.

One might argue that Alaska is similar, but I disagree. Alaska doesn't have roads, so you'd be pressed to drive for miles and not see anything.

As I drove through Wyoming, I found myself scanning the horizon in hopes of seeing the majestic golden arches of McDonald's.

Like a mirage, the form of the arches would begin to take shape in the distance, but then I would realize that it was just Doodoo Bird dung on the windshield left over from South Dakota.

The point is, I was searching for a familiar source of food, because I was very hungry. As I crossed each hill, I hoped to see a typical suburban town.

A typical suburban town has several distinguishing features.

There will be one road going through the center of town with various places to spend money along it.

There must be a 7-11, which despite being open 24 hours a day, will have a lock on the door and hot dogs left over from the Jurassic Period. (This has been proven with sophisticated carbon dating techniques.)

There must also be three fast food restaurants within sight of each other.

Each must have a drive-thru window, so that people like me can drive through, buy food, and then eat the food in the solitary confinement of the parking lot, since eating Whoppers while driving has been shown to be impossible. (This has been proven with sophisticated carbon dating techniques.)

There must also be two gas stations located directly across the street from each other, with the exact same prices.

The prices must end in the fraction "9/10." For example, regular unleaded fuel would have a price of 1.339. Eventually, American consumers will realize that our monetary system doesn't accommodate fractions, and that they're really paying 1.34 per gallon. Rioting will ensue.

Gas stations now offer different types of gasoline, for example "regular unleaded," "supreme unleaded," and "premium unleaded."

The difference in quality is pronounced, although less pronounced than the difference in price.

In actuality, most "regular unleaded" gas isn't really unleaded at all, whereas gas stations are "fairly certain" that "premium unleaded" is mostly lead-free, or that it should be, anyway, although Bob at the refinery is a little heavy on the bottle, if you know what I mean.

Most gas stations now charge the same amount for gas whether you pay with cash or credit. To do this, they now just charge the higher credit price even if you pay with cash.

Once again, rioting will ensue when consumers realize this. Consumers will also be irate when they learn that today's car engines run on water, and that the gasoline they've been buying is nothing more than tap water, or bottled water that has passed its expiration date.

Each typical surban town must also have at least one bank.

The primary purpose of a bank is to erect an electric sign which tells the current time and temperature. Most of the time, this electric sign will be illegible since half of the bulbs will be burned out.

Some of these signs will also give the temperature in Celsius, even though no American is capable of comprehending the metric system. (This has been proven with sophisticated carbon dating techniques.)

The signs do this because the bank employees had the instructions upside down when they were reading dip switch settings.

Since maintaining this sign doesn't require much effort, bank employees have a lot of free time on their hands, and to remedy this, they wash their hands with soap and gasoline -- er, water. They also pass time by taking your money and then charging you money to loan your money back to you.

Unfortunately, Wyoming doesn't have many typical suburban towns, most likely because, as I mentioned earlier, no one actually lives in Wyoming.

- By M. Scott Smith, July, 1996. All rights reserved. -

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