Embracing Change - Like Meathead Did

We could learn a little from the Meathead

     Rob Reiner, back row, learned, so can Falmouth.
One of the most memorable episodes of the iconic sitcom “All in the Family” for me was when Archie and his son-in-law, Mike the Meathead were discussing the all-important question of socks and shoes.  Archie insisted that the whole world gets dressed by putting on a sock and a sock, then a shoe and a shoe, and expressed his outrage as he witnessed Meathead put on a sock and a shoe then a sock and a shoe.  Archie opined that if the house caught fire, at least he’d run out with two socks on. 

The Meathead countered by noting that with his method, he could hop around with a sock and a shoe, and keep one foot dry.  Meathead acquiesced.  He changed his position.  He smashed his paradigm.  He accepted that maybe, there’s a better way. 

We could learn a little from the Meathead with a few issues bouncing around our local discourse these days.  Sometimes, a different way of doing things can actually be good.

Take our trash, for instance.  The current debate about transitioning to a “pay as you throw” system, where residents would dispose of trash through a new system by paying on a per-bag basis sounds like just another hidden tax, but it actually has proven to be an efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally responsible program in other communities, resulting in an increase in recycling and lower disposal costs. 

In Falmouth, we spend nearly $3 million annually to dispose of our trash – another way to put this shoe on is certainly worth a try.  The Board of Selectmen will be giving this issue serious consideration in the next few months.  I’ve got to find a way to suggest channeling their inner Meathead and giving this new way serious consideration. 

Speaking of giving consideration to new things, it was great to see the Planning Board and Board of Appeals embrace the plans for a new mini-golf and ice cream development on Main Street at the end of Lantern Lane.  The improvements at the site will help anchor the continued revitalization of the East end of Main Street and will provide yet another reason to spend time in our downtown. 

Property owner Daren McDonald has spent the last couple of decades helping make Falmouth more beautiful, one lawn, one property at a time.  He has built today’s landscape and paving conglomerate out of yesterday’s pickup and a couple of lawnmowers.  This didn’t happen by not being a reliable professional.  I can remember when current Headquarters for Clover Landscape and Monument was the “Carribean Connection,” and a pizza place before that.  Daren, along with his brothers Greg and Kurt, transformed that property into the best Davis Straits has to offer.  I’m sure he’ll take that green thumb and commitment to excellence to the property on Main Street. 

The same Meathead enlightenment can also be applied to the current discussion on whether to create the position of a Finance Director in Town Hall.  I can most certainly understand, and actually agree with the Finance Committee’s concern that their staff support will dwindle with the advent of a position advising the Town Manager and Selectmen, and not simply the Finance Committee, but with the complexities of modern municipal finance, and a budget of more than $100 million, the expertise that will be available will most certainly make a difference. Continuing to provide support for our volunteer financial watchdogs, though, must continue to be a priority.  

Before our new Town Manager began his tenure, some suggested that one of his first orders of business be to reach out to the Finance Committee.  Now would be a good time to heed that advice and make believers out of that group of the town’s most trusted financial advisors. 

The Meathead embraced change.  So can we.

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