by Leeds Alabaster
The heart of the Birmingham area lies not in Birmingham itself, but in the vibrant and unique homogeneous suburbs that lie around its edges. Every other week, Reran Tragedy Deputy Intern Leeds Alabaster rounds up news and issues driving the public conversation in Central Alabama’s Better Country.
HOOVER — Police say that they gave a “very stern warning” to a group of parents who “got out of hand” while tailgating and “pregaming” outside last week’s 4-year-olds’ swim meet in Spain Park.
The parents’ tailgating started as a friendly and fun way of making an event out of their children’s swimming meets. But police said that lines of politeness were crossed recently as parents began “pregame” drinking while tailgating.
The parents, however, defended the pregaming as a necessary part of the fun.
“Gotta pregame,” said Dr. Barry Nall, 36, a Hoover pediatrician, who turned out to support his daughter Melenee Jeanine. “I mean, these kids try really hard, you know, but their form — it’s just ssooooo terrible.
“After you watch the Olympics swim like you’re supposed to once, the embarrassment’s so much that you’ll never be able to watch your preschooler and her friends competitively swim against each other without drinking again.”
The parents’ conduct nearly led to “some bad, bad things,” Hoover police say, when drunken parents last weekend began a series of rants and chants aimed at particular children competing against their own.
Police said some parents would chant “C-R-Y. You’re gonna cry, cry, cry!” at their children’s competitors as they walked into the aquatic center.
One mother, after her third glass of Barefoot pinot grigio, held up a sign to another parent’s child’s face saying, “You’ll Be Eatin’ Bubbles, Loser!” When the little girl couldn’t read the sign because she does not know how, the woman mocked the terrified girl’s inability to read and then high-fived her husband and friends and shouted “Wooo!”
But things came closest to becoming an actual crime when one group of parents called out supporters of one little swimmer, Karlee Reeanuh Simons, as “the type of people who would root for someone who always looks like they’re peeing in the pool.”
“Tom and Lynda [Karlee Reeanuh's parents] had that coming,” said Marcus Higgins, 32, a software engineer who was supporting his daughter Tonya Muhree. “They parked their SUV where I usually put mine.”
That led hurt parents to call the police, who warned the offending parents that they needed to lay off the drinking and stay civil to avoid “things really getting out of hand.”
The parents were undeterred, however, and some were very unhappy about one police officer’s suggestion that they at least drink out of cans with the labels covered by coozies to hide the sight of alcohol from the children.
“The specialty brews I drink only come in bottles, man,” Nall said. “Besides, I live in too nice of a house to still drink beer outta cans.”
Hoover police say they are hopeful the parents conduct will not escalate to an incident like the infamous “hot boxing” parking lot shoving matches and vandalisms that rocked a 3-year-olds’ gymnastics meet in Pelham in 2007.
TrendGloss: Mountain Brook families not sure what undesirables Birmingham News meant in ‘coyotes’ headline
Low-pigmented Mountain Brook families are on alert this week after a Birmingham News headline told of police warnings that “coyotes [have] grow[n] bolder” in Alabama’s most blessed and better villa.
Yet, they are not worried about wild animals, but concerned about what the euphemism for “undesirables” that “coyote” really means.
“Would these coyotes happen to wear sombreros? Like some of the ‘apartment dwellers’? Their flavors certainly are bold like wild animals’,” said Beau Mitchell, 47, an attorney. “I appreciate their discretion with these things, but I wish they’d given us more clues.
“Especially if we have that kind of… coyote problem, which is something we’ll certainly have to deal with,” he said. “This isn’t Shelby County.”
Others seemed to believe the coyotes were something different, based on “clues” in the Birmingham News article.
“In the story, they talk about the coyotes darting out into the street, and one of my neighbor’s domestic … darker-coated breeds walked out into the street the other day to pick up their paper,” said Neyrene Sarah Mitchell, 34, a house wife. “Of course, maybe that’s a bit too obvious — these news writers can sometimes be very clever.
“It could always be one of those awful ‘coyotes’ that use chopsticks.”
That the story about actual, potentially dangerous coyotes has been misinterpreted as a euphemism for undesirables is not an unusual occurrence in Mountain Brook.
In one quite infamous incident, a shockingly large chunk of Mountain Brook residents protested when The Summit shopping center was constructed, thinking “shopping complex” was a euphemism for a black school.
LifeGloss: Homewood couple’s key to fixing Alabama obesity rate? Have poor people shop at Whole Foods
A Homewood couple say they have no idea why poor people in Alabama eat so unhealthily ”because they could always buy stuff that’s good for them down at the Whole Foods.”
A Centers for Disease Control report this week showed that Alabama has the worst rate of teen obesity in the United States. The state has also frequently ranked among the fattest in the country in recent years.
Meanwhile, Tom and Dr. Sherri Martin, 33 and 31, respectively, have both received high grades from their doctors for eating healthy and getting ample exercise. Both describe themselves as “pretty liberal” and “very concerned about poor people not eating right.”
But because they are able to live healthy thanks to a lifestyle that affords them the ability to do so, they said they see no reason why poorer Alabamians cannot do the same — by also shopping at Whole Foods.
“It’s not like the Whole Foods is hard to find, so I don’t know if it’s the price of gas or what,” said Tom Martin, who was sitting in the backyard of his historic home in Homewood snacking out of a $6 bag of pita chips with a $4 container of hummus, both of which he purchased from the Whole Foods in Mountain Brook, the trendy natural and organic supermarket’s only location in the state. “All you lazies need is just to take a little time and effort to go down the right aisle to find organic stuff that’s good for you that can replace that snack machine Twinkie.”
“My meat is lean, my vegetables are fresh and organic, and everything in my diet is easy to find — right at the Whole Foods,” said Sherri Martin, a Birmingham podiatrist, ignoring that the chain typically builds in affluent areas due to its higher prices that poorer families cannot afford. “There’s really no excuse for all of these fat people I see from Ensley and Fairfield and Woodlawn and wherever.
“You know, when I see those people.”
The couple said that they also do not understand why those in crime-ridden inner-city neighborhoods without sidewalks do not jog more.
Reran Tragedy is Weld’s satirical blog about politics and life in Alabama and the South. Much of what you will read here is fictionalized, except for all the parts that are unfortunately true because they are about politics and life in Alabama and the South. You can follow it on Twitter @ReranTragedy. You can reach the blog’s author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The artist known as Cal Alabaster Jr., if that is his or her real name, may or may not also be the author of the Alabama humor blog called “King Cockfight.” If true, you may read Cal’s work there at kingcockfight.wordpress.com