As soon as we are free of the disturbing sight of snowflakes mingling with miniskirts on the slushy sidewalks of Dinkytown, perhaps by May Day, it would be prudent for students to watch over their shoulders for the “party patrol.”
However, I have a solution to not only help students, but the troubled areas of Minneapolis, such as the block on Sixth Street North where I own property. It is time to send the elite party patrol commando units deep into north Minneapolis.
I know from experience how long a 911 call takes on the north side, when you’re doing exactly what city officials want by calling in blatant open-air drug dealing or crackheads breaking into yet another vacant house to sleep in a pool of urine or metal thieves pushing around a baby buggy loaded with stolen aluminum siding or that woman at 29th and Lyndale who asks, “Looking for a date?”
Who would have known my rusty 1988 Celebrity was such a “chick magnet?”
This is my columnist swan song. I am leaving the cold, cruel world of ink slung upon the pale flesh of dead trees for the Zen purity and nothingness of Internet blog writing (www.johnnynorthside.com).
There I will tell stories like “the house that (almost) made me barf” and how my neighbor, little Jane, was forced to take matters into her own hands and confront two crackheads who were rummaging around in a garage while she was armed with nothing but her trusty cell phone.
Clearly, we need more police presence in north Minneapolis. Who better to shake down armed drug dealers than “party patrol platoons” who have gained experience in this sort of thing by spotting the clever fake IDs possessed by 20-year-old sorority women?
Who better to face a snarling pit bull off its leash than seasoned veteran police officers who have experience with the classic pink polo-shirt-wearing tool, spewing the F-word 10 times a minute to express his frustration with a noise ordinance?
It’s time to send the few, the proud, the too-much-time-on-their-hands.
Yes, I say, drop the party patrol in north Minneapolis and watch the fun.
Now, before you start applauding and cranking up Bob Marley tunes (get up, stand up, stand up for your rights) there are a few necessary sacrifices students will have to make. Don’t double your contribution to the keg fund just yet.
Clearly, judging by the chaos one sees every weekend in the neighborhoods around campus, students actually need a heavy-handed police presence to break up fist fights on the sidewalks in front of bars, or at least the posturing and shouting matches which almost become fistfights (but not quite) because going to jail would probably mean turning in a term paper late.
Also, students need ambulances to provide first aid for piggy back rides gone tragically wrong, or to stand by patiently as a night of drink specials turns into a puddle of midnight blue hurl.
In fact, I think some students actually need Smokey Bear to act as their own personal forest ranger, pointing out “only you can prevent couch fires” and treating injured gingko trees which weren’t quite up to doing the job of monkey bars.
Actually, in addition to police, an ambulance and a forest ranger, students also need somebody dressed in a little French maid outfit to go around picking up paper plates and pizza boxes. The late night supper special is blowing in the wind.
(Yeah, sing it like Bob Dylan.)
I will, however, put forward a defense of north Minneapolis, because I have suggested students (especially grad students) should take advantage of this incredible housing market, shake themselves free of bondage to landlords (who still dare, in the United States, to call themselves “lords”) and buy up the incredible bargains to be had on the north side.
A couple days ago, writing my e-mails because of some things I had posted on “Johnny Northside,” a real estate agent told me about how much I would have enjoyed getting out of my rough block and attending a recent north side community event.
At this gathering, a woman named Ms. Breedlove spoke about diverting rain water for fruit and berry patches, making jam for her neighbors, raising her own chickens. A woman named Connie Beckers of the Northside Arts Collective has painted crazy colors in what she calls her “funky bungalow.” And an 89-year-old woman named Mrs. Pettiford has photo albums of jazz musicians, and used to cook neck bones and greens for Duke Ellington and other musical legends.
The event sounded like such fun. Some blocks of north Minneapolis are like paradise, hidden behind a reputation which is much too sweeping. In these areas you can find safety and really great deals, four walls to own and be lord of yourself instead of answering like a feudal serf to a landlord. On one of those walls you might hang your framed diploma, stand back for a moment and pat yourself on the back.
On second thought, maybe we don’t need to send the party patrol to north Minneapolis after all.
As the time comes for robes and graduation speeches, maybe what we need is to think about making a home, finding a good life partner, earning an honest living and taking on responsibility instead of partying like the fun will never end, the keg will never run dry and the student loans will never come due.
But then again, how badly do we need better 911 response times in north Minneapolis? In my personal experience, we need this desperately.
It’s a tough judgment call. I’ll joke around quite a bit, but ultimately I mean no criticism of the party patrol, which is simply going after stupid and immature behavior by people who are old enough to know better.
Even so, all things weighed and considered, I say cut way back on the “kegger crackdowns” and send those police resources to help my new neighborhood to pull itself out of a dark pit.
Yes, send the party patrol to north Minneapolis.
John Hoff welcomes comments at [email protected]