Your port of sunlight
Whether ridiculing innocent Christians, fat ladies, successful people, or struggling Cal Poly students, the Rogue Voice never passes up a chance to mock, mock, mock.
Consider me your port of sunlight in the storm of pessimistic liberal propaganda—your SLO sentinel, standing guard over the Rogue Voice’s assault on values, much like FOX News stands guard over television these days with fairness and balance.
Illustration by Martin Shields
Your port of sunlight
A RESPONSE FROM DUANE HAGABEE
By Duane Hagabee
I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that much of the Rogue Voice readership did not “get” my piece in the September issue, entitled “In defense of the SLO life.” Furthermore, it wasn’t any big shock when the Rogue Voice contacted me and asked me to respond to some of the letters that had come in. After all, this is the same readership that takes to such articles as: “Piranhas eat penises,” “Shower time,” “Moms and hos,” and “I’m my own girlfriend.” Not to mention such forgettable poems as “Fungus,” “Pussy Hair,” “Existential Oil,” and “Happy May Day, All You Pinkos.” Funny how everyone in my Edna Valley neighborhood “got” my article and said it was by far the best thing in the Rogue Voice, and even had me read passages aloud at our Neighborhood Watch meeting. But for those who may not have had a Cal Poly-level education, I will use this opportunity to re-explain myself. It’ a shame really, because it’s time that could be better spent writing about more upbeat things, like wine-tasting, or the upcoming Wiggle Waggle Walkathon—subjects that seem to continually slip past the Rogue Voice.
First, and most troubling, was that one reader speculated that I was a liberal. God help me, no. I in fact come from a family of Goldwater and Reagan Republicans, as can be seen through the Hagabees’ dutiful participation in SLO capitalism for generations. Certain simpletons must have gotten confused when they read about a conservative like myself who, while supporting land development and decency, also from time to time enjoys experimental sex with his gorgeous wife. It further baffled them to learn of a man both affluent and white, with everything he could possibly hope for in life, that also sets aside time to spend in the company of a minority friend or two be it a Chinese, a Spanic, an Afromerican, or a Gay.
I admit that my wife Bethany comes from Democrats. But like any good SLO woman, she changed her politics about 19 years ago when I slipped 14-karat gold band with channel-straight baguette diamonds under her nose. Bethany has voted Republican ever since, except for 1994 when we both voted Perot. Isn’t that so indicative of SLO couples though? Always doing things outside the box? Maybe that’s part of the problem—trying to put a walking contradiction like myself into a box. Not to burst your bubble, Rogue Voice, but Duane Hagabee is the guy who shows up at the board-meeting in Van’s and Levis!
Sadly and predictably, many readers could not refrain from directing various cheap shots and vulgarities my way, calling me (in alphabetical order): banal, bizarre, bigoted, class-conscious, crude, elitist, and freaky, while simultaneously labeling me a “ruse” separatist that objectifies minorities and is incapable of critical thinking.
I had to look up the word “ruse” because such impractical words were not part of the Cal Poly curriculum, where true critical thinking is taught. I found that it means “ploy or stratagem,” which doesn’t make any sense. But it didn’t make any sense either when one reader heartlessly referred to me as a part of the human anatomy found in a person’s rear end, which I will not repeat. Rather than volleying another crude slur back at this person, I will simply offer a writing tip. When using swear words, try abbreviating by blocking out key letters, leaving something to the imagination. Instead of the word you spelled out, you could have written “a_ _ hole” or “a—hole” or “a*#@ole” or better yet “b-hole.” We do this in the Hagabee household. Say there is a dirty word we are tempted to use, we make a substitute such as “s-h” or “poop” for “sh(?)t.” Or, we use “fudge” for the “f-word,” and “g-d” for “G-D.” We get the point across without the use of profanity. I remind my kids that naughty language is associated with low intelligence and low-class behavior and abbreviating your swear words can help you in getting jobs and gaining admission into certain clubs and institutions of higher learning. In fact, abbreviating swear words wouldn’t be a bad practice for the Rogue Voice to get in the habit of.
If you are wondering if those words hurt me, the answer is yes. I have feelings too, and just because I am a successful commercial real estate developer and pillar of the community who lunches with city councilmen and plays golf with local media personalities, doesn’t mean that I am made of stone. I also don’t appreciate my kids having to go to school and hear other kids say: “I hear your daddy’s a freaky a!*#hole.” Private school is hard enough as it is.
Yet I would gladly accept all the dirty, nasty, malicious swear words in the world over the ultimate slight, which occurred when one reader questioned my authenticity, implying that I was satire. I have already suggested to Dell Franklin and Stacey Warde that they add a glossary to the back of the Rogue Voice, listing some of the more difficult words from some of the more educated writers, because apparently some people don’t know what words like satire mean. In Duane Hagabee’s glossary, “satire” is defined as “a literary work that uses mockery or ridicule to expose human frailty.” I hope people re-read my article and compare it with the other articles in the Rogue Voice, for ridicule and mockery are entirely their department. Whether ridiculing innocent Christians, fat ladies, successful people, or struggling Cal Poly students, the Rogue Voice never passes up a chance to mock, mock, mock.
Is it satire when Doug and Anne of Cayucos take time to express their revulsion about the glorification of alcoholism in a local paper that is available outside the very antique stores where they shop? Is it satire when a caring local preacher selflessly phones Rogue Voice advertisers to inform them of objectionable material in the articles? Is it satire when those advertisers then write in and demand to know why the Rogue Voice is writing about piranha penises? Is it satire when a lovely ranch woman from Colorado scolds Rogue Riffraff for failing to notice that their trash gets picked up regularly and that if they want to strap their Rossignals to the top of their Blazers and drive up to Sierra Summit they can, and that when they get back the people in SLO will be waiting for them with big SLO hugs and our famous ten-second SLO smiles? Is it satire when a respected doctor like Steve Stainsbury puts a fat tub-of-lard like Michael Moore in his place and reminds us all that if Canada can’t do it, then we can’t either? Then I guess Duane Hagabee is satire. You see what I just did? I used satire. Satire is basically reversible psychology on the reader.
Evidently there were also readers who took exception to my use of the pronoun “it” when referring to small black children. This was my own fault, as I forgot to include important background information about why I do this. It happened one evening in Albertsons while Bethany had a black baby in her arms, squeezing the guts out of it like she does. I made the mistake of saying “time to let the little girl go, Bethany.” Well, it turned out the thing was a boy and just my luck, this was the one time the father of a black family was actually present with his family, and this gentleman, who was very tall and muscular and had tattoos, asked me if I was calling his son a girl, and then called me “mother-f’er.” It left me with an uneasy feeling and bad dreams for weeks and even caused me to buy pepper spray for my keychain. Ever since then, I have been careful not to be gender-specific when referring to children of colored skin, yet I never get credit for my cultural sensitivity.
People also dwelled on my use of the word “negro” saying it was disgusting and offensive. It would be nice if just once, someone explained to white men how they are supposed to keep up on all the changing n-words in society. Just as one n-word becomes acceptable, another one becomes forbidden. A good example was that radio show host who got fired for saying the n-word “nappy.” Then everyone jumped down the throat of that comedian Michael Richards over a few slips of the tongue, completely failing to mention all his great work as Kramer on Seinfeld. I know how he feels. The people that called me a racist toward blacks totally overlooked the fact that I allow my oldest daughter to date some of them. My father, Duane senior used “negro” and even “nigro” quite often, and he was a very good man that made a lot of money in real estate. So I apologize for myself, and the rest of the white men in America, for being victims of political correctness.
It also appears that I was a bit too graphic in describing the avant-garde nature of Bethany and mine’s sex life when I disclosed that Bethany occasionally performs oral sex on me while I am operating a motor vehicle. Readers could not fathom how a couple so deeply rooted in the values of SLO could be so inconsiderate as to risk other SLO’ans inadvertently catching an eyeful. I am afraid that in this instance, I owe an apology—not only to my wife but all of SLO. I again left out important information by failing to explain that Bethany and I own the 2007 Ford Expedition EL with the 5.4 liter Triton V-8, four wheel drive, five-link rear suspension, and tinted windows, which at over six-and-a-half feet off the ground, is one of the tallest vehicles on the road and very difficult to see into unless you are a trucker or a bus passenger, and truckers and the type of people who ride buses have seen much worse.
I must remember that we live in a day and age where only certain people can write about sex in their articles without catching heck for it. I must remember that we live in a time when a man can’t even go into an airport bathroom stall to relieve himself, without worrying if he is improperly tapping his shoes. How is a man supposed to close business deals or make political policy when he can’t relieve himself? You see, your preoccupation with sex really gives you all away and exposes you as liberal hypocrites. I know all about your little stereotypes and jokes about conservatives being sexually repressed and only liking the missionary style of sex. Is this what you do while you are out trying to save your Snowy Plover or running your medical marijuana clinics? While mixing your organic teas, do you make up labels to stick on people? I don’t doubt it for a minute. I think you just like to hog up all the progressive sex for yourselves.
But enough time wasted on the Negative Nellies who tried to ruin my article. Fortunately, there were enough Positive Pollies to balance it out, such as the ever-vigilant Doug and Anne of Cayucos, whom my heart goes out to for the loss of their beloved Cayucos Breeze. It was such a nice paper, packed full of positivity and now it has left hundreds of Cayucans paperless (unless you want to count the Rogue Voice). The good news for Doug and Anne is that now I will be writing for the Rogue Voice on a semi-regular basis, and you will be able to go to the newsstands, pick up a copy, and thumb right past all the irrelevant drivel until you get to my byline: Duane Hagabee. Consider me your port of sunlight in the storm of pessimistic liberal propaganda—your SLO sentinel, standing guard over the Rogue Voice’s assault on values, much like FOX News stands guard over television these days with fairness and balance.
There was also Warren Kibbling of Paso Robles who wrote in. I don’t know you, Mr. Kibbling, and frankly sir, you scare the s-h out of me. Yet you fascinate me with your rugged brand of Paso conservatism and unabashed talk of weapons. I can only picture you as a large, broad-shouldered man with rough hands and a musky North County odor, a man not unlike our American pioneers, willing to defend what they’d rightly claimed, even if it meant bearing arms against pesky ground squirrels. Or Indians. I look forward to hearing more from you in the months to come. Though firearms frighten me a bit, and I’ve never fired one, rights are rights and if a person owns something and has paid for it off the sweat of his own back or his employees’ backs, whether it be guns, property, boats, stocks, or summer homes, he should be able to do with it as he pleases.
While Doug and Anne and Warren Kibbling are refreshing voices, no response touched me quite like the one sent in by Jeff Bohrer. It’s guys like him that really motivate me to continue writing about the SLO Life. While Jeff could be any one of these sluffy labor-types you see shuffling and shamming around construction sites, pretending to work while draining the pockets of some innocent homeowner or development firm, you know he has something special. You know that when you drive by one of these sites, calculating lost revenue, as I like to do, that amongst the freeloaders is one gem with the potential to rise above the pack and truly grasp the spirit of being SLO. I think that person is Jeff. Reading his letter, I almost feel as though he is part of the Hagabee family.
I want to tell Jeff about a dark period a few years ago that I don’t normally like to talk about. The market was down and we Hagabees weren’t doing that great, and things were so bad that Bethany had to stop shopping at Scolari’s, and instead had to go out late at night incognito to Food 4 Less for our groceries. Our two Shih Tzus went from bi-monthly groomings to quarterly, and most shamefully, our kids were sent to school with Radio Shack cell phones that didn’t even have roaming. I don’t know if people can put themselves in the shoes of a family having to go through that, but I think Jeff Bohrer can. And if we can rise above the hard times, so can he.
The only issue I took with you, Jeff is that you referred to yourself as a loser and as being lazy. By your pledge to put down your rocks glass for good and get on board the “SLO Train” you are so much more. All you need now is to apply yourself. It’s like I tell my kids—either get off the potty or poop. It appears that you are ready to do one or the other, and Bethany and I would like to help you in any way we can. Though I wouldn’t hire you to do any work on my property after what you’ve revealed, I would after an extensive background check consider hiring you to caddy for me. It would be part time, but you would get to see where I live and meet some of the people from the country club. Not to brag, but from my deck, using a 7-iron, I can get on 12th green in one stroke. Just being around that environment, Jeff would be the next big step for you in shedding the bitter sourness of the Rogue Life for the sweet, fruity nectar of the SLO Life.
CONCLUSION: Now that I have addressed most of the questions about my article, with the exception of Bethany’s involvement in a breastfeeding activist group called Milk Moms, our relationship with a local lesbian couple, and my views on the growing graffiti problem threatening our way of life in SLO—things that I will address in the future—maybe in future articles I will be able to focus on more optimistic subjects. I’m sorry if I rankled a few feathers and stepped on a few toes, but sometimes that’s what the truth does. §
Duane Hagabee is a Cal Poly graduate and CEO of Hagabee, Hagabee, and Hagabee, a real-estate development firm in downtown SLO. Duane and his lovely wife Bethany have not missed a Farmer’s Market in 12 years.