I, Too, Have a Dream
Eleven score years ago, a township began on the dunes of Yerba Buena and the muddy shoreline of promise. It was a great beacon of hope to hundreds of immigrants who had been seared in the flames of failure, a joyous daybreak of opportunity and reinvention.
But in the waning moments of 1997, we must face the tragic facts. The San Franciscan is still crippled by the manacles of civic tomfoolery and the chains of political bottleneck. The San Franciscan is still languishing in the ridicule of the rest of the nation, and finds himself in exile in this sane and democratic republic.
We must realize the closure of December and the turning of the calendar will not pass until there is an invigorating new year of progress, a bright new day of equality in which the San Franciscan rises to meet ridicule with righteousness and fight stagnation with decision. Our destiny is clear. We must march ahead, ignore the scorn, and not be satisfied until sweet reason rolls down like the waters from Hetch Hetchy and flows into the Pacific Ocean of rationality for all to recognize.
Go back to Potrero Hill, go back to the Sunset, go back to North Beach, the Richmond, the Mission, and the Haight, knowing that somehow our reputation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of the cartoon, in foolishness and difficulties.
I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream of potential and possibility. I have a dream that one day this city will rise up and prove the rest of the world wrong.
I have a dream that the bridges that cross and span and connect the citizens of this great peninsula, those structures that have fallen victim to the great tremors of the fault line, will never, ever be fully repaired, so that they may all eventually end in midair as a testament to the temporary, fragile nature of our short time here on Earth.
I have a dream that the Embarcadero waterfront will be allowed to expand and grow to its full potential, so that tourist profits may be wrung from new hotels and restaurants; and that this windfall of economic expansion will see less people enslaved by poverty and more people employed as waiters and maids.
I have a dream that Market Street will someday be not simply closed to automobiles, but to pedestrians and traffic of all kinds, so that we may plant the seed of progress in the form of yet another new sports facility -- a long, skinny complex to accommodate those long, skinny sports that have been so unjustly denied a proper public arena: bocce ball, archery, skeet shooting, and, in the winter months, curling.
I have a dream that the trend will continue until every single street, alley, and thoroughfare in San Francisco is rechristened with a new name, so that we may break free from the constrictive nomenclature of 19th-century robber barons and hucksters and bask in the glory of streets named for 20th-century robber barons and hucksters.
I have a dream that the many diverse communities of this city -- from Latin American, Asian, and African-American to gay, lesbian, transgender, and even the Irish -- will come together, combine forces, and kick that oppressive little straight white male Gavin Newsom off the Board of Supervisors.
I have a dream that due to popular demand and public perception, every man, woman, and animal in this fair town will be required to revert to sexual abandon one night a week, and a Toga Dance will be held each Saturday inside the warehouse with the largest sewer drain in the city.
I have a dream that there will come a time when every single person under the age of 30 will have published his or her own Web site/zine, and will have discussed and disseminated pertinent information about bands, books, videos, other Web sites/zines, and personal anecdotes; and eventually everyone will know everyone else's favorite bands, books, videos, other Web sites/zines, and personal anecdotes.
I have a dream that every local television news program will take inspiration from KPIX's self-esteem-based catch phrase "The best place for news in the best place on Earth," so that eventually KGO's newscast's battle cry will be "Are we great-looking, or what?" while KRON's nightly news will carry the slogan "All you have to do is sit back and enjoy our genius," and Bay TV's news will be delivered under a banner reading "Our moms say we can do anything we want."
I have a dream that in the wake of 49er executive Eddie DeBartolo's recent alleged illegal gambling misadventure, evidence will emerge linking San Francisco Symphony conductor Michael Tilson Thomas to Daly City dog-track betting, and upon his resignation from the symphony, the remainder of the season will be conducted by his housekeeper, Mrs. Ramona Diaz.
I have a dream that all the young Deadheads of today will be free to adopt their neo-hippie lifestyle without the benefit of attending actual Grateful Dead concerts, and that free Learning Annex classes will teach them the established elements of Deadhead lore, from panhandling and group drumming to dealing acid and biting umbilical cords.
I have a dream that the Muni system will someday run noiselessly and on time -- but that will probably remain just a dream.
I have a dream that after the first of January, when smoking is banned in all city bars and restaurants, the unused ashtrays from these establishments will be collected and assigned to an artist approved by Stanlee Gatti, so that a sculpture may be created at the foot of Market Street in the image of a smiling, 100-foot-tall Angela Alioto, and that at the base of this statue, a refillable bird-feeder mechanism will continually secrete pure nicotine, so that long-term smokers may kneel in front of her image and lick her toes.
And finally, I have perhaps the greatest dream of all -- that our great mayoral leader, Willie L. Brown Jr., standing at a podium delivering one of his marvelous and dignified oratories to an eager assemblage of citizens, will set down his notes, scan the crowd with his eyes, and suddenly declare, "Who's the best-dressed muthafucka in this room? I am!"
After nearly eight years, this column marks the moment at which Slap Shots climbs into the flaming rowboat and drifts out to sea. Thanks to everyone for reading, and to the two owners and five editors of the news-paper for putting up with it all this time. I will continue writing for SF Weekly, and selected columns will soon be available at www.sfweekly.com. Funeral services for Slap Shots will be held Jan. 1 at the Edinburgh Castle on Geary at Larkin, beginning at 7 p.m. Everyone is invited.
Editor's Note: SF Weekly is very pleased to announce that Jack Boulware will be joining its staff full time on Jan. 5.