by Charles A. Monagan
Jun 8, 2011
12:34 PM
On Connecticut

A Cautionary Tail


Like many of you, I had to shake my head when I saw the story about how New London's new whale tail fountain recently had to be shut down because of people washing, urinating and defecating in the water.

Really? Really?


I guess I shouldn't be surprised, although I have a hard time understanding how the same society that could be create such a beautiful work of art could also produce the kind of people who think such antisocial behavior is acceptable. The most upsetting part is that apparently it was not an isolated incident—more than one person has been regularly using the fountain in the newly refurbished Parade plaza for purposes other than aesthetic enjoyment. It's been speculated a few of the offenders are part of the city's homeless population, although I'm not sure that being without a home automatically gives one license to be without any sort of common decency ....

Okay, I could go into a long diatribe about the decay of Western civilization, except by now, that might just sound like one of the teachers in "Peanuts." ("Mwa mwa mwa mwa mwaaaaaa ...") We all know what degenerate activities our species is capable of at any given moment. Insert your own "Humanity sometimes sucks" rant here.

The city of New London has turned off the water flow until they figure out how to handle the situation. Suggestions have included placing warning signs and surveillance cameras to having police officers deployed on the Parade.

But hey, why stop there? Since it was designed so that children could splash about in the water, it may only be a matter of time before someone gets a bit too wet while playing. Then there will be calls for improved safety, and before long, a lifeguard will have to be stationed nearby. And if there's a lifeguard on duty, they're going to need a tower topped with an umbrella, which will probably require a maintenance crew be assigned. And no doubt, once the maintenance crew is there, they're going to want a place for all their equipment, so the city will have to build a maintenance building to go next to the lifeguard tower and a guard booth for the police officer (if the lifeguard is getting a tower, then why can't the police officer get a booth, too?). With so many municipal workers on site, it's only a matter of time before the unions require a small break room/cafeteria be constructed (which will fittingly need to serve pancakes). Once that's erected, it'll necessitate a visit from OSHA, who will probably have suggestions for other improvements, like a fire company, who will need full tech support, which means an IT department will also be needed. Soon, the whole Parade will be filled with so many municipal workers and buildings, that it will fall under the Connecticut Art in Public Spaces statutes, which will require something culturally significant on the Parade ...

You know, like a fountain.

Seriously though—is it really too much to just expect people to not use a fountain as a toilet?

Update: Apparently, my joking on Wednesday wasn't all that far off -- the state department of health is now trying to determine if the fountain technically qualifies as a pool, which if it does, will require more attention, including an attendant. Start building that guard tower!

A Cautionary Tail

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