2008.05.07 They're just like us in 43533

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

I finished up with addressing and labeling the papers last Tuesday night and walked home. It wasn’t too long before a friend called and asked, “Aren’t you worried about getting some angry phone calls from Lyons people?”

I told her I wasn’t concerned. Surely they would see the silliness of the Claritas category system.

Surely I was wrong.

Thursday morning I received a call from a furious Lyons resident who chewed me out for several minutes. At one point he said something like, “What kind of idiot would write this?”

“You’re talking to him,” I had to say.

He said it was slanderous from start to finish and he was thinking of rounding up signatures on a petition to demand a public apology.

I suggested writing a letter to the editor to explain his problems with the column, but he didn’t think it was his responsibility to tell what was wrong with it; he just wanted an apology.

Since I write only a couple of serious columns a year out of 52, I really didn’t think any readers would take it seriously, but all this talk about a petition took me back about 15 years to the day I was hung in effigy downtown. I really am sorry that I angered this caller, and any others who read the column in the same way.

Well, let’s review this one as I try to worm my way out of it, as I search for a little redemption from those in the 43533 Zip Code.

That’s how the column started off—with those five numbers that represent Lyons. The information came from Claritas, a marketing firm that provides information about the people living in a community. Go to the company website, type in a Zip Code and learn all about yourself.

Claritas told me there are people living in Lyons who drive a GMC Sierra, and then I said there are people there who drive a Ford Crown Vic, and then I mentioned there are people in Lyons who drive a Dodge Ram. Later I mentioned there are people in the village who drive a Chevy Suburban.

To me, this makes it quite clear that Lyons is just like every other little town around here. There are people in Morenci and Fayette and Waldron who drive those vehicles, too.

I also said there are people in Lyons who go skiing and others who watch Jeopardy on television. There are people who go to their kids’ sporting events and those who like auto racing and those who are divorced and those who like to travel and buy antiques.

Once again, this makes Lyons sound pretty much like Anytown, USA. People with these interests live throughout the area. I’m sure there are people in Morenci, too, who subscribe to Bassmaster magazine and like to eat in a steakhouse.

So why was I so rude to single out those people who live in 43533? Because Claritas makes them out as different. Of the 15 characteristics presented, five were unique to Lyons. Or so says Claritas. That’s why the Claritas data seems a little silly, as if people from Morenci don’t resemble those from 10 miles east of here.

Here’s how Claritas has Morenci pegged: Dodge Ram, hunting, camping, auto racing, own an outboard motor, have at least one mortgage, eat at Bob Evans and Ponderosa, satellite TV subscribers, and in category after category, country music fans.

There are some people in Morenci who listen to alternative music and pay their bills on-line. There’s another group that watches TV at least 10 hours a day and belongs to veteran’s clubs. Another group rents videos by mail and watches Soul Train. Soul Train? That’s still on TV?

Those last two paragraphs about Morenci must be fairly descriptive of Lyons, too, as well as Fayette and Waldron. I was hoping that’s what readers would conclude about what seems to be a rather imprecise analysis by Claritas, but not everyone did.

My caller wants an apology to all of the people in Lyons who I offended. I am truly sorry if I’ve angered residents of the Lyons area. That wasn’t my intent and I never enjoy receiving phone calls confirming my status as an idiot.

And one more thing, I really don’t like country music.

 

  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

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