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Local vocal: Glorious alleys, worthless pennies and a plea

by WC Jones

I was standing at the intersection of Adams Farm Parkway and Mackey Road, holding an old beat up cardboard sign proclaiming, “Will Write for Food.” On the flip side it read, “Will Write for Bar Tab.”

Fortunately for me, my newly acquired, open-aired corner office was very close to the corporate headquarters of this fine publication, and the editor just happened to be outside, researching the effects of Winston-Salem’s number-one export. Call it fate, call it kismet, call it a slow news day, but he graciously invited me inside and out of the heat. Hey, this was a no-brainer as my collection cup was empty and I was tired of dodging the empty McDonald’s bags that were thrown at me.

Once inside, YES! Weekly editor, Brian Clarey got right to the point. He said, “I’ve stumbled across some of your work, and I don’t have a budget for freelance, but if you write something for free, I may be able to do something.” For the two or three of you readers out there that have been following my writing career, you know that’s a concept with which I’m very familiar.

Enough about that.

Who really cares about that alley in the back of 315 S. Greene St.? America was built on the concept of alleys. In the past it was well known rule that if you immigrated to America and got through processing on Ellis Island, you piled up in New York City in areas according to your ancestry. The first order of business was to make back alleys throughout that neighborhood as the city was making the front streets. You ran clotheslines from building to building; you called out the window for your kids, who were always running and playing outside. Alley children never had weight problems.

Nothing has changed with the alley at 315 S. Greene St. except the kids have grown up and now are playing inside at the clubs that line it. I say, leave the last of the great alleys of Greensboro alone – make it a historical district, toss in a sculpture or two, add some of those hanging flower baskets from the front side of the street and add it to the walking tour.

Here’s another subject that I’m sure you’ve heard about but were too busy attending to more pressing matters such as trimming your Chia Pet: Pennies. It has been discovered that it costs more than a penny is worth to manufacture one (1.4 cents) and, according to a recent poll, now 45 percent of Americans want to do away with the penny altogether.

I recognize my responsibility here and I have time to do the exhaustive research necessary to enlighten you on this “Penny Problem.” Based on the model I’ve made up and named, “Cost vs. Worth,” I’ve arrived at the conclusion that if different governmental agencies can spend $300 for a $30 hammer, then the US mint is operating very efficiently and should be tasked to not only make more pennies, but hammers as well.

I suggest that you contact Brian and demand your “right to read” my worthless stuff. It’s a win-win situation for all of us – you get the straight scoop, (or as close to straight as I can make up) YES! Weekly won’t have to run fluff pieces like “Crashing the Gate” and I can come in from standing on the corner with my cardboard sign.

WC Jones is a writer in Greensboro who has recently become’… uh, a free agent.

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