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Of Utopia, Mice, and Cannibalism: How’s that for a Headline?

It’s a fact of life that in areas like Richmond County, a large portion of the population will be from somewhere other than North Carolina. For many folks who were born and raised here, it’s nearly incomprehensible why anyone would want to deliberately locate to a city or town in Richmond County like Rockingham, or perhaps Ellerbe. They’ll point to the weak jobs market, the few opportunities for nightlife, and then likely profess a desire to move anywhere that has a mall with more than one level and no Dollar General within 20 miles.


Overall, among locals under the age of 40, the general consensus seems to be that those moving here from out of state are simply mentally challenged, downright delusional, or intent on opening a new meth lab. Which only adds to the problems as the last thing anyone in an economically challenged area wants is an influx of delusional and mentally challenged transplants. The local meth dealers have it hard enough as it is.


However, unless you have actually lived outside of North Carolina, or even better, have spent a significant amount of time in a city like Baltimore or Washington DC as I have, it’s all too easy to dismiss all the things that make a move to Richmond County so appealing to out of stater’s. I have a couple of my own personal reasons which are as follows, albeit in my typically long winded fashion.


At the advanced age of 47, I have had time to live in several cities up and down the east coast, most notably the aforementioned Baltimore and DC. I’ve also lived in “less urbanized” areas like Hollywood Florida. I can say unequivocally that you couldn’t drag me back to any of those cities or states with a team of Clydesdales and a shotgun, which coincidentally, you can likely find in easy supply in Richmond County. That I am happy to have escaped with all my limbs and digits intact, as well as most of my sanity, only serves to underscore my authority on the subject of leaving the city for the country life.


I think much of the reason for my moving to the country has to do with my growing aversion to crowds and loud noise. Whether this is just a sign of maturity, where I forever cast off my previous youthful pursuits of nightlife and unchecked debauchery, or an unavoidable aspect of aging, (everyone under 25 knows old people can’t stand loud music for instance), is anyone’s guess at this point. All I know for certain is that when I find myself stuck in a crowd of more than three people, or I’m subjected to the latest in boom-boom wannabemobile’s at a stoplight, visions of Tylenol and rum shots start parading across my vision.


Another possibility is that I see too many parallels between John B. Calhoun’s Mice Utopia experiments and the state of society today. If you’ve never heard of Mr. Calhoun or his experiments, a condensed summary of his work says that when provided with a set amount of living space and unlimited food and clean water, rats and mice would soon breed like crazy and overcrowd their living space, whereupon they would begin exhibiting antisocial behavior, fight with each other, eat their young, and eventually stop breeding entirely until they all died off.


Now while we have yet to see a lot of parents consuming their children in places like New York, there is definitely a case to be made for the fighting and anti social behavior common to big cities. Not to mention, if you pay any attention to the news headlines, uncontrolled breeding among humans is a major problem in the cities, hence the popularity of contraceptives and Planned Parenthood despite quite a bit of political loony tunes regarding them. Said political loony tunes will be a subject for a later article. We can throw breeding right out of my own personal situation as I determined long ago the only thing I fear more than death, is creating a new life for which I will be forever morally and financially responsible.


I guess I see moving to the country as a way to avoid the conclusions of Mice Utopia. Essentially, I ruin the experiment by changing the controls, namely the fixed amount of living area and how often I have to interact with actual beings of the same species. Sure it’s cheating, but then again that’s the great thing about being a human and not a rat, (excepting some random parts of the population considering their behavior). I can cheat and live a quiet and peaceful life in the country, while everyone else can run the risk of rampant uncontrolled infant cannibalism in the city.

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