Hello sports fans, Johnnie Carrier broadcasting live from the city without hospital protection, North Adams. Home of the water tax, sewer tax and the Hoosac Tunnel, North Adams has now become a city of caution. Folks are so scared to get hurt that traffic is slower, family disputes have calmed down, and bar fights in the Tunnel City have been reduced to zero over fear of untreated broken bones and jaws.
On Main Street, we questioned North Adams resident Birdie Higgins, who refused to shake my hand due to the city's loss of the area's hospital.
"I'm not shaking hands with no one, not even members of my own family," Higgins said. "Without a hospital, you just can't be sure anymore. That's why I went and bought five cases of hand sanitizer. You won't catch me getting pneumonia this spring."
We also spoke with a regular at one of the local bars (my ex-brother in law) who asked to keep his name out of the paper due to impending charges still hanging over his head.
Asked if he has seen any changes in the local taverns, our mystery man said, "The bars are really different now. No one plays darts anymore, too dangerous. Heck, we're playing pool with Nerf balls. I know of one bar that has lowered their stools to a safe level."
After thanking our nameless barfly, we walked down Main Street.
I saw something approach me, but I couldn't figure out who or what it was. As this creature slowly lumbered toward me, a certain fear came over me. The mere sight of this urban monster sent a corkscrew feeling up my spine. My focus drew sharp and I realized that it was a citizen of the commonwealth completely engulfed from head to toe in bubble wrap.
"Hi, have you escaped from Mass MoCA?" I asked.
"Heck no, you can't get hurt in this stuff," our bubble-wrapped friend said. "Whether at work, home or even on vacation, you are as safe as if you were back in your mother's arms. Between Obamacare and the loss of the hospital, this bubble wrap will keep me from needing hospitalization should I get hit in a crosswalk from some visiting New Yorker who doesn't know the right-of-way laws. I bought 4,000 square feet of bubble wrap, but there's is one drawback. It's a little embarrassing when you sit down."
I carried on with my man-on-the-street interviews by approaching an elderly man.
"Excuse me, my name is Johnnie Carrier "
"I know who the heck are, ya dern fool, ya."
"Oh, yes, Mr. O'Malley, I didn't recognize you with that big box in your hand. What is that box?"
"It's a home surgery kit. My wife is home with a gall bladder attack. I don't want to brag, but I was a medic in the war so I know about hospital things."
"But surgery, Mr. O'Malley, isn't that a little risky?" I asked.
"So is the ride to Pittsfield, have you seen those potholes? See you later, young feller."
The main feeling I get from the people of this city who have seen the loss of many churches and now the hospital: Folks are panicked and furious. And who wouldn't be when a cut finger from slicing a bagel is 30 minutes away from a suture or two? Hence my purchase of a body armor suit made of chainmail mesh.
Broadcasting live from North Adams, this is Johnnie Carrier.
Johnnie Carrier is a freelance writer who wonders if you noticed how many times the words Johnnie Carrier appears in the story. He's just a cheap publicity hound riding the wave toward the middle. He can be reached at email@example.com.