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  • You meet the nicest people at festivals, bandying about cute...

    Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer

    You meet the nicest people at festivals, bandying about cute nicknames and offering helpful suggestions.



The highlight of the Boulder Creek Hometown Festival had to be the lonely punk spinning around to bluegrass music. It would add a nice bit of color to my story.

The weather had soured by 2:30 p.m., so I walked to my truck and passed a couple having a picnic along the creek. They were playing their stereo, which is awesome because people who play stereos in public are known for their excellent taste.

But on this occasion, it was a good soul song from the ’70s. I couldn’t remember by whom.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” I asked a blonde woman sitting at the table as she warned a passer-by not to let his dog near her dog.


“Who is that on the stereo,” I inquired, suddenly remembering. “Nevermind, I just realized, it’s Bill Withers.”

“Yeah, Bill Withers,” she replied vacantly.

She didn’t seem friendly.

“So are you guys here for the festival?”

“What festival?”

I waived my arms around in a 180-degre arch.

“The one going on today.”

“We didn’t know there was a festival on,” she said.

Her voice dripped with sarcasm.

“Well,” I began sheephishly, “I’m just writing about it for the paper.”

“What paper do you write for?”

“The Daily Camera.”

“No, you write for the Daily Fluffer.”

I wasn’t sure why she was being surly. But always needing new material, I played along.

“I don’t know what that is. I write for the Camera.”

“You should go look it up. Go in the library and Google ‘fluffer.’ Goddamn Google is taking over the world.”

I know what a fluffer is. If you don’t, I’d invite you to Google it. Don’t do it at work. If you are easily offended, don’t do it at all.

She began to yell about surveillance cameras in the area. I thought she was being a tinfoil hat person, but I looked it up later, and she was right about the cameras.

I don’t know why she was mad about the cameras (Freedom? Definitely something about freedom). But her fluffer comment made me think about all the newspapers I have worked at and the pejoratives their communities had bestowed upon them:

The Alamogordo Daily Snooze, the Lawton Constipation, the Valencia County Hardly News (I coined that one) and most recently before my turn at the Camera, the Longmont Crimes Call. I wondered if anyone aside from the picnicker uses The Daily Fluffer.

I finally came to.

“Why don’t you investigate it,” she demanded.

“I’m just here to write about the festival today,” I said, really wanting to leave.

“OK, you can just bury your head in the sand, too.”

“OK, well, you have a nice day.”

I turned and headed for my truck.

“You have a good day, too, fluffer boy.”

“I will. Thank you.”

“And by the way, it’s Bill Withers.”

I know it was. You just keep on using me until you use me up.

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