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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Maine Is Totally Like This, Totally

Whoo boy, that’s Maine.

I live in Maine, if you call that living, and I’m here to testify that Maine is just like you see in the video. Why, lighthouses are thick on the ground, I tell you what. We were thinking of just stringing the telephone wires from one to the next instead of using those dang poles, but we got so many trees we decided to go the redundant route. Maine’s a redundant place. We got two of everything. We don’t have three of anything, though.

All the trees are always turning color like that, too. All the time. Everywhere. Why, you can just walk up to any old maple tree and turn the handy spigot that Maine installs on them and syrup flows right out of it. They issue pancakes to travelers at the Hampton toll plaza on Route 95 instead of receipts. True story.

The entire state is oceanside, just like in the video. There are rumors of some vast, undiscovered bogs or swamps or mountains or something out west, but no one would ever go there and find out. LL Bean is in Freeport, hard by the Atlantic, and you’re not allowed to be in Maine more than an hour’s drive from there. If we had police, they’d check. Bean’s used to have catalogs filled with shotguns and fishing poles, but now they only sell banana hammock bathing suits for Canadians that go to Old Orchard Beach and think it’s the Riviera, and button-down men’s shirts for ladies to wear.

The State of Maine has various slogans. They used to call it Vacationland, but Mainers couldn’t help themselves, and got to reading the Vacationland billboards while driving to work in the office park in Westbrook, and forgot the signs were for people “From away.”  That’s the charming soubriquet Mainers use when they want to call someone a Masshole, but the guy hasn’t paid his bill yet. Anyway, everyone in Maine went to Disneyworld at the same time, on the same bus, and there was no one left in Maine to direct the tourists from Massachusetts to the best places to icefish in June, or where to find all the huggable bull mooses in rutting season, or how to properly approach a black bear cub. Note: Always get between Mama bear and Baby bear. They love that.

“Maine: The Way Life Should Be,” was another one. It was less of an overt threat than New Hampshire’s motto, it’s true, but it left too much room for rumination on its meaning. I haven’t been to New Hampshire in a while, but if memory serves, their slogan is “Live Free, Or Else,” or something to that effect. Maine’s sounds friendlier, but its ambiguity rankles some. It’s never wise to get the tourists thinking. It smacked a bit of “Your life is bad, and you should feel bad, and we’re here to tell you so.”

Well, I’m sorry, but your life is bad, and you should feel bad. You should totally move to Maine. The clouds here move, and the tide goes in an out, and we’ve got so many goddamn lighthouses we use them for traffic lights and fenceposts and fire hydrants, and when all else fails, we string clotheslines between ’em. Now if you flatlander Philistines will excuse me, my wife is almost done chipping the ice off the well, and coffee break generally follows soon after that.

22 Responses

  1. You had me at coffee.

    Kidding, of course. If Maine doesn't hire you to write their tourism copy, I'm going to have to do something. I don't know what since I don't live in Maine. Almost do, though.

  2. Well, now, I gots me two (2!!) a them lighthouses near me, big trees, small trees, river, ocean, tides, clams, crabs (takin somthin fer thet), big fish, small fish, sand bars (really DRYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY martinis there), so I'm stayin here so's I can bother you from long distance. You're doin' OK, don't need me there.

  3. By the jeez, sounds a bit like the Great White North. You know, Arfy Darfy Land.
    They don't call it that for any raacist reasons. It's just that there is a lot of snow all over the place. Much of the country is in tundra and the Arctic Circle. Ten months of Winter and two months of bad sledding is what it is. There is always snow on the ground in many areas. At least, no drought.

    OK, so I got me some flannel shirts and snowmobile boots, a tuque er two and Bob's yer uncle. Goin' ta Maine be like a walk in the dark, eh?

  4. I've been to Bean's in Freeport just last summer. You can buy guns and ammo there for sure. You can get a real fancy shotgun all engraved and everything if that's your ticket, too.

  5. Until the place changed hands (evocative saying, that), my wife and I used to go up to The Daniel Stone Inn (Brunswick) for Thanksgiving. The best rooms were cheap during the holidays and on Thanksgiving day they had a wonderful midday buffet with every kind of seasonal delicacy you could want; Roast Turkey, Duck, Salmon, Roast Beef and more, with New England style side-dishes and finally desserts. Afterwards we'd take a drive along the coast to digest.
    The next day we were only ten minutes north of Freeport, so we would drive down and score a prime parking spot right next to LL Bean and do all our Christmas shopping.

    I miss that.

  6. Say, I went to Bean's in '80, and was surprised to see a trout in a pond under the stairs. Pointed it out to the wife. Glad Bean's didn't start up in Florida–they'da had gators in the pond.

  7. I don't need pine trees, but I'll trade you a Joshua Tree for a lighthouse.

    How about a homesteader cabin for a rocky inlet? I'll even toss in an artist or songwriter that comes with the place. But they gotta be back on L.A. on Monday mornings.

  8. As my brother and his wife live a five minute walk from the Maine coast, guess they weren't the ones who wrote this Visit Maine ad.
    Dear Old Maine, home to she whom one of my cousins considers the quintessential Evil Stepmother. Whereas her brother has driven 10 hours to Maine to see the stepmother, 30+ years after his father and the stepmother divorced.Maine- you don't know what you're getting.

  9. I grew up in potato country in northern Maine, several hours away from the coast. Coastal folk from Downeast were foreign to us, and we were more likely to visit the ocean by way of maritime Canada.

    The travelogues love to romanticize the Maine sea. It is beautiful to behold although downright inhospitable considering the water temperature tops out in the low 60s, even in August. Shrinkage indeed.

    Sipp, the only more misleading portrayal of Maine life is any Steven King movie.

  10. Well, the Wyoming Coast Guard has to have something to say about this. Wyoming coastal defense is no joke, no sir.

    I just got two nice cutthroat trout out of a reservoir using flatlander fishing gear. None of this fancy-schmancy Ell-Ell Been stuff, no sir. Just a good old Mepps on a $14.95 Wally-World special spinning rig just bought last week since my 30-year-old fishing pole died with a mortal crack.

    Our oceans may be sage brush, and our mountains covered with those dang mule deer instead of whitetails (muley's gotta be the dumbest animals in creation) but it's still awful pretty.

    Enjoy all that salty water.

  11. Nice to see your blog bob up again. I'm guessing that since I see a post by Chasmatic, it's just a legacy post. Still, nice to see. I hope all's well.

  12. Had to post as anonymous because I hate google and don’t have a url. Not even sure what that stands for. I’m a granny from California but I was in Maine many years ago where I met my husband. He’s also from California, go figure. We were both Air Force stationed at Loring AFB. That was 40 years ago and the first time I saw snow. I was 19 years old and stood in one place too long staring at the big fat snowflakes falling and the ground beneath me melted and I fell on my ass. Good times. I have fond memories of the place but sunshine and family won out so we are in crazy California where ignoring our elected and no elected representatives is an art form. If you need to escape the winter I have RV parking. Fire season is nearly over but crazy is year round. I suggest the long drive. We did it when it was time to go home. Drove a no frills van with no air conditioning or power steering in September. So hot! We had 2 cats with us and I was 7 months pregnant. In Colorado at a Pizza Hut I got trapped in the bathroom stall and had to crawl out. Yep, drive on out. It will be fun. Hope your boys are well. Haven’t heard a peep about them in a long time. My best to you and yours, Katie J

  13. Dang! WHEN did you come back? I wuz up that way onect, with the wife, an' we went to LLB's joint, though I don't recall buying anything there, just by mail order. Me, I been hibernatin' down in the basement, me an' my word calcalater, You have been warned, but I'm mostly harmless, so don't worry.

  14. I am in Sippican withdrawal. Really.
    May we have some more, please?
    Not more withdrawal, more Sippican, silly.

  15. Just checking back in on your site to see if you were active here again. I do miss your Unorganized Hancock videos – how are the boys doing?

    One of your commenters stated they'd been posted to Loring AFB up in the northeast tip of Maine. From 1985-1990, we were posted to the Canadian military base at Gagetown (Oromocto), just south of Fredericton, New Brunswick. We did a lot of travelling in the Canadian Maritimes during those years, but we also routinely popped over to Maine for visits too. A favourite thing to do was take off on a long weekend and stay in the VOQs (visiting officers' quarters) at Naval Air Station Brunswick. Yes, we'd do the L.L.Bean shop at Freeport and being a Civil War buff, I'd drop by Bowdoin College to pay my respects to Joshua Chamberlain. We had one particularly memorable summer holiday at Bar Harbor

    So, just a roundabout way to say how much we've always liked Maine and ask you to keep this blog going!

    Nick Ward

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