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Not Asking for Much

March 28, 2008 - Wes Burns
All too often the complaint is heard amongst the wide and varied population of Marshalltown that there is indeed nothing to do. Nothing at all. Not a thing. While this type of nihilistic rhetoric is classically reserved for the lively conversation of teenagers sitting around a television the problem has grown to include the citizenry as a whole.

Usually when someone broaches the subject of the lack of activity a series of pointless opinions are offered. Perhaps someone should build a 24 hour youth center where kids can play Dance Dance Revolution and drink Dr. Pepper until they realize their dream of a college education. All well and good until you realize that your paltry commission of 8 cents per order of nachos served is not going to sustain the wages you have to pay a person to sit alone in a large room with teenagers throughout the night.

Perhaps someone should build a new restaurant in town. A place where people can go and sit for hours on end and listlessly chat with their friends. We already have that in this town; its called Perkins. And I think it stands to note that so heavily does our populace depend on the hospitality of Perkins that Marshalltown is one of the few Perkins in the United States that has a time limit allotted for each table. You can actually get kicked out of a Perkins and it would have nothing to do with the beer in your jacket. Admit it, we've all seen him and he's not fooling anybody.

So you can't hang out at Perkins all night and you would start to feel pretty strange being the only person at the youth center that can remember Reagan so what is there to do? Can a normal man be driven so mad by the crushing boredom that he himself turns to a life of crime and spends the rest of his days signing his friends up for spam e-mail services until no one will return his calls? Short answer: yes.

How can this crisis be brought to an end? We've heard strange suggestions before so perhaps I will offer my own: SHOW A MOVIE AT NIGHT. I live in a town of over 25,000 people and yet I cannot go to a movie on a weeknight past 7:30? What is the reasoning behind this?

Imagine this: Tuesday night. You're a second shift worker. You punch out at 9, ready to be over with another long day. A few of your friends ask you if you want to get together after work. “Oh yeah,” you say, “we can go see that new movie, it opened last weekend”. Guess what Jack? You aren't seeing anything unless you're renting it because there is no late show.

I'm an adult, I can stay up past 10pm. The theater hires adults, people who they themselves are capable of staying up past 10pm. Don't leave the late show solely in the hands of the Midnight Movie crowd; sometimes I want to watch a late movie that DOES NOT involve cyborgs, dragons, or any combination thereof. This is a fairly easy fix for the eternal boredom problem. It might not have the electricity of a hip youth center or the glamor of a Perkins but its something to do. And that's really all we're looking for...something to do.


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