Jonathan Swift came to me last night in a dream. “What brings you here to visit with me this evening, Jonathan?” I asked. “I have come to you,” he said, “with a Modest Proposal for Preventing the North Hill Golf Course From Being a Burthen to the Citizens and Taxpayers of the Town of Duxbury, and for Making It in All Ways Beneficial to the Publick”.
“Really!” I said. “And why is it you should come here to Duxbury now, concerned with such matters, Jonathan? I would have thought you would have much more pressing, more shall we say cosmic and universal things on your mind.” “No problem is too small for me,” said Jonathan, “for even the smallest of things embodies the Principles of the Entire Universe. Moreover, as I once wrote in my Miscellanies: Complaint is the largest tribute heaven receives, and the sincerest part of our devotion. And lately we’ve been receiving a lot of complaints up here from Duxbury’s taxpayers.”
Swift went on to outline, from his Heavenly Perspective, the Situation, the Problem, and the Remedy. But he first assured me that it would be in no wise as jarring to the sensibilities of the public as was his “Modest Proposal for Preventing the Children of Poor People From Being a Burthen to Their Parents or Country, and for Making Them Beneficial to the Publick” when he first published that in 1729 (just a three years “Gulliver’s Travels”).
The Situation, Swift told me, is both specific and general in aspect. The general aspect is that Duxbury’s taxes have risen sharply over the past few years as a result of vastly increased spending. The specific is that the North Hill Golf Course, while far more agreeable to local golfers than it has been at times in the relatively recent past, is neither very profitable to the current operator nor yielding very great income to the Town of Duxbury.
The Problem is also dual. Its specific components include such things as lightning strikes that take out the irrigation system for the North Hill Golf Course that require costly repairs, an ongoing and as yet unsettled lawsuit over it that may still end up costing Duxbury’s taxpayers close to a million dollars, and the prospect that should August prove hot and dry, the greens and the fairways may turn dry and yellow.
The more general problem is that these specifics, added to all the other spending increases over the past few years, are fast becoming a considerable burden on those of Duxbury’s taxpayers who are not fortunate enough to enjoy incomes in at least six or preferably seven figures and even some who do, yet have multiple college tuitions to pay.
Swift’s Solution is simple, elegant, and straightforward. Observing what an economic boon oyster farming has been to Duxbury (despite the determined efforts of the DMS, the Environmental Police, and various other government agencies to make it as difficult as possible), Swift came up with a plan for North Hill that will not only assure a constant revenue stream to maintain and improve the golf course, but that will greatly alleviate the general burden on Duxbury’s taxpayers, as well!
“All Duxbury needs to do,” Swift told me, “is to turn all that extra acreage at North Hill that was not turned into another 9 holes a decade or so ago into a thriving cannabis sativa farm! The current course cannot use more than 100 or so of the 341.7 acres on the parcel!” Jonathan assured me that ”North Hill Green” would swiftly become an even more famous and far more economically rewarding brand name for Duxbury than “Island Creek Oysters” is already!