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The Bulletin Board

iStock_000006955375XSmallYou wouldn’t think an inert piece of cork could spark so much controversy. Then you probably haven’t experienced life in High Rise Society, where everything is topsy turvy, and the small stuff matters more than the big picture.

I almost lost an election one year over the bulletin board. I wasn’t even aware it was an issue till people started complaining after we spruced up the mailroom that the bulletin board looked tacky. What do I know about bulletin boards?  Last time I used one I was in kindergarten.  But I know how to do research.  I have three degrees after my name.  So I combed through the catalogs until I found what I thought was the ideal solution — a sleek stainless steel box with a glass cover. Perfect!

I figured I was going to be lauded, instead I got hate mail.

“You some kind of fascist?” was the gist of the complaints.  “You’re choking off our right to communicate.

 “What are you talking about?  I’m a Big Believer in the First Amendment.”

“Then how could you get a bulletin board that requires us to get permission to post our message?”

The Key To Success“You don’t need permission. You just need to get the key from the doorman.”  Believe me, I had checked this out, and all the fancy bulletin boards came with a lock and key.

 “It’s a restraint on Free Speech.

 “It’s a key.” I could see I was fighting a losing battle, so I went and got a keyless cork board.  Everything was copasetic for the first few weeks.  Then all hell broke lose, not that I knew it because I never read the stuff posted on the board. I don’t need a dog walker because I don’t own a dog, nor do I want to buy someone’s smelly old couch, or sign up for the exterminator, never having seen a single roach in my apartment – those topics about exhausting the scope of Free Speech that had been fought over.

This time the battle was about the value of real estate. REAL ESTATE? Yes!  People posted so much stuff that there wasn’t room for all of it so space on the bulletin board had become more valuable than the square feet of their apartments. Everyone ripped off everyone else’s stuff and put their message in its place, almost engendering hand to hand combat. It got so bad they demanded the board intervene. But, of course even though everybody asked for rules, nobody obeyed them, so things only got worse.

ghosts-of-a-chance-alleyesThen election season rolled around and that two by three foot space that attracted every eyeball became the premium piece of real estate in the building.  No sooner did one slate rush to post whatever stuff it could dream up about the other slate, than the other tore it down and put up its own complaints, and so on and so on. Each side cultivated spies to see who was ripping off the stuff, and counterspies to see if the spies were really telling the truth. This is an apartment building, not the CIA.

Finally lots of people said just take down the damn bulletin board, which I knew was a formula for defeat because I had tried it once before, thinking no one was using it (shows you how much I know) only to get hate messages on my machine to go along with the hate mail shoved under my door.  Not that I really cared because I decided not to run, realizing I was losing touch with reality, and needed a hiatus to restore my mental health.

I have emerged from my padded cell to see that the bulletin board is still there – a Constitutional crisis in the re-making.  I urge you to spare your building a trip to the Supreme Court, and squeeze your words in between what others have to say.

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One Response to “The Bulletin Board”

  1. Free Thinker says:

    At least the people in your building got action when they complained. It hasn’t done any good in ours. We have one of those locked jobs and every message has to be approved by the board before it’s posted. Talk about free speech.

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