Alan Riquelmy: A story for adults
I may have been a little tipsy when, on St. Patrick’s Day in an Irish pub, I approached the owner of an adult store.
I felt like he’d been dodging me. Couldn’t get him on the phone, couldn’t find him in person.
Rumors hadn’t just been swirling. They’d been pounding on the door. Somebody going to answer this? Maybe write a news story?
The possibility that someone who lived in our town was opening an adult store in the unincorporated county was big. This was northwest Georgia, where at the time you still couldn’t buy hard liquor on Sundays.
So, yeah, this was news.
I worked through the crowd, toward the front door where he and his wife stood. He knew me, greeted me, and when he immediately answered my question, I figured he might be a bit tipsy, too.
“I’m going to open the biggest (redacted) adult store this county has ever seen,” he declared.
Naturally, getting quotes from drunk people in bars isn’t the proper way to do this business. But it opened the door, and led to a future, sober discussion and news story.
This was back in the heady days of 2006. The memory rose to the surface because the adult store, and its owner’s expulsion from the local country club, recently appeared in a The New Yorker story. The reason: U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who represents the area, is now a member of the club.
The point of the article, seemingly, was to shine a light on the club’s hypocritical stance toward members. So, an alleged pornographer isn’t good enough, but someone who rubs elbows with Capitol insurrectionists is?
No one who lives in that part of the country is surprised by this move. Country club members across the South have been known to do business and socialize with people of color, then go to a club where they aren’t allowed.
It’s the Deep South. It may not have invented hypocrisy, but it’s worked hard to perfect it. You just need to see the American and Confederate flags together in the back of a pickup truck to know that.
Terrible aspects of certain people are overlooked because of who they are or the position they hold. Meanwhile, the guy who owns the adult store needs the boot. Haven’t you seen the photos of his wife? Can you believe the lifestyle they lead?
All this, though, is old water under a disused bridge, dredged up by some article to highlight a certain U.S. representative who aligns with the far right.
I’m sure some members of the club would prefer the previous congressman was still there. But, of course, that’s something you don’t say out loud.
This recent spotlight on the adult store, much like the original drama from 2006, will pass. It always does. Even the Irish pub, where I stumbled toward that conversation many St. Patrick’s Days ago, is gone.
What remains is much more than a 700-word article that takes a swipe at a congresswoman and country club. A congresswomen isn’t representative of everyone in her district, just as the actions of one country club don’t make everyone in that town a hypocrite.
Look past the scratchings of a single New Yorker story and you’ll find a place filled with good people, like any other town across the country. People who work hard, raise their families, contribute to local nonprofits, pay their taxes and help their neighbor when in need.
Just don’t expect them to say “hello” when passing you in the adult store.
Alan Riquelmy is the editor of The Union. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 530-477-4249
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