Located 22 miles west of Chicago, Elmhurst is a town with a little over 44,000 people in it. They’re a town probably a lot like yours, with business and commerce and art and parks and a post office. They also have a Facebook group which contains some very opinionated people. Like… REALLY opinionated.
It’s a little intense.
I am not sure how I came to be a member of the “Elmhurst, Il News & Comment” group. I do not live in Elmhurst. I only know 5 (possibly 9) people who live there. I haven’t been to Elmhurst since I last did an open mic there. Honestly, after this article, I may not be part of that group anymore. However, every now and then, something from this group will pop up in my feed and I’ll check it out or leave a comment.
In the last seven days, there have been two stories which have, seemingly, thrown the entire town into a tizzy. These stories have been posted (and re-posted multiple times) by people with very serious opinions, and it usually leads to people complaining a whole lot for hundreds and hundreds of comments. And while this is entertaining to read while I’m pooping at work, it does nothing to help the community that gave us the esteemed poet Carl Sandburg and the slightly-less esteemed dude from the Plain White T’s.
However, Elmhurstians should have no fear. Because I am hear to help them. I have read their concerns and determined all of the right answers.
Elmhurst, I’m here for you. Let’s do this.
The Cigar Shop
Last week, a news story broke about the Elmhurst Cigar House, owned by Shaun Thompson. Apparently, the store decided to place a “Biden voters keep out!” sign on the front door of their business and the town has been in an uproar since. Thompson spoke to the local CBS affiliate and made a few things very clear: that he was very serious, that the cigar store was seriously struggling since COVID restrictions, and that he didn’t care if he was upsetting people.
I know of Thompson a little, only that he was a fill-in radio host for trashdick Joe Walsh, a man who longtime readers of this site know I have a few issues with. I don’t know if he is a good person or a good businessman, who I do know that he’s a good con man, and he is working a con really hard for all of y’all right now.
Because let’s clear one thing up: this dummy does not care who goes into his store. He only needs the press.
Admitting that his business was struggling was probably not the best play for Thompson, because when you add that to his media experience, you understand that this is a dude just trying to get any exposure he can, and the easiest way to do that was put up a shitty orange sign (seriously, it looks tacky as hell) and wait for the news agencies to call. Clearly, Thompson is hoping to get a call from Lou Dobbs or Tucker Carlson or whatever weird angry white people are on OAN or Newmax.
For people angry about the sign, your answer is simple: do nothing. Don’t keep posting this and try to get people worked up. Just say nothing. Were you really going to buy a cigar anyways? Who smokes those, Peter Falk? That dude was old and gross. Let his business continue to fail and just let Thompson fade into obscurity. He gave the interview with CBS from Florida, so it’s not like he’s the store’s lone employee taking some kind of moral stand. He’s just a dick, and these words are the last he deserves.
The Students Outside
The other story which broke last week involved Elmhurst’s School District 205, where students, who are in school for five hours a day and not being served a meal, are taken outside to eat their snack (per COVID restrictions and regulations). A photo was circulated of the students sitting outside on beach blankets and towels, and it threw parents into a tizzy. The Elmhurst Facebook group was littered with comments by people calling this near-abusive behavior to these poor children with some posting that their children no longer wanted to return to school.
Look, I get that we don’t want kids to be cold, though I would also bet that some of the people complaining about this are the same people who complain that this generation of children is the “participation trophy” generation all the while talking about how their uphill and barefoot walk to school in three feet of snow toughened them up to make them the irritating internet bozos they are today.
What I would tell the complaining parents is something they may not know: we are in the middle of a fucking pandemic, you doofuses. And I get that we all want our children back in school and that we want it to be a normal experience for them, but that’s just not going to happen. Not this week and not next week and probably not next month. We still need to be careful and doing things differently to not just protect students, but also the staff (because who will be there for the kids if everyone is, you know, sick?).
If you just expected kids to go back and everything to be like it was at the beginning of 2019, you’re not just naive, you’re a moron. Furthermore, the school district reached out to parents letting them know what the situation would be (as well as saying they should contact the school if they refused to have their children eat their goldfish crackers outside). Is this an ideal situation? Of course not. You know what else isn’t an ideal situation? A positive COVID test. Stop complaining and either keep your kids home or trust that their teacher isn’t going to let them get frostbite.
I feel like I should probably run for mayor of Elmhurst. You’re welcome, everybody.