Sunday, March 9, 2014

Opa City

Ken O’Brien

Our beloved city of Southbridge (yes city) has long been in need of a fitting nickname.

The old moniker – “the eye of the commonwealth” – is as relevant to current reality as calling anything on NBC’s prime time lineup “must see TV”.

There are those who have attempted to employ the term “honest town”, but that has failed to gain any real following. I would think that this had a chance, at least among those of us who would use it in an ironic sense. But even irony has to have some grounding in fact. 

While Southbridge has a small but vibrant Greek community, it certainly is not known for the prominence of this ethnic group.

Nevertheless, it struck me that the common Greek expression “Opa” would constitute an appropriate prefix in describing the community.

The term has multiple meanings, but two stand out.

To most people who have heard it used, it is an expression of joy or approval. We most commonly hear it used in this context among participants in Greek dancing.

In this usage it is appropriate to those community boosters who are constantly proclaiming what a wonderful town we have.

On the other hand, the origin of the word has much more to do with the English expression “Oops” indicating a blunder.

To many of us, dare I say most of us, “oops” is the appropriate term for just about everything Southbridge has done in the last forty years.

If one is seeking a term that summarizes our community in a “fair and balanced” way these alternative definitions of “Opa” fill the bill nicely.

Finally, when we eschew the inaccurate term “town” and use the proper term “city” we have a combined prefix and suffix that accurately describes the way in which our government operates.

Opa City becomes opacity.

The term opacity is the condition of lacking transparency. Certainly, if any word describes the operation of Southbridge town government this is it.

Take for instance the fact that a meeting of the whole of the Southbridge School Committee was held but no agenda was ever posted on their website.

This is, of course, in keeping with their revisions to the district’s policy manual which were available at Cole Ave. but also were not posted on the web site.

There’s the lack of explanation about the summoning of the Middle/High School Principal to the Superintendent’s office followed shortly by a memo that she would be on extended medical leave.

Or what of reports that a school committee member, known to some as the weeping blueberry, recently was seen leaving the same office in tears?

Lest we are accused of dwelling unfairly on the school system, there is the lapse shared by the town council. Both have meetings scheduled this week, on Monday and Tuesday. But as of mid-afternoon Sunday neither has posted their meeting agenda on the town’s website. 

And then there’s the notice that recently appeared in the local press:



What did we sell to Casella?

So let’s hear it for Opa City!

OPA, Hurrah!

OPA, Oops!

OPA, nothing to see here!




Lyrics In English

I burnt the past, my previous nights
Shattered memories as well
Sorrows and voices, unfair wishes
And I left all open wounds aside

I burnt the past, my previous nights
Dreams and nightmares cast in the fire
Burning tears, lots of lies
All seem like a silent movie I no longer watch

OPA!

I set on fire
Everything that's old
I will change everything – OPA!
And I'll shout it out loud – OPA!
Let bygones be bygones, let's start all over again – OPA!

I burnt the past, my previous nights
And I start from scratch, even if you don't want it
Burning tears, lots of lies
I paid all my dues

OPA!

I set on fire
Everything that's old
I will change everything – OPA!
And I'll shout it out loud – OPA!

Let bygones be bygones, let's start all over again – OPA!

2 comments:

  1. McLoughlin must be crying because Buzz put Principal Allen out to pasture under the guise of "medical" issues. She's not coming back, stop hiding that fact Buzz.
    And to top it off the new school now had two principals! Wasn't that the way it was planned all along? The girls only voted to go to one principal so they could get former principal Bishop. How'd that work out for our kids?
    I'm sure this move will help Bishop's law suit!
    Way to go girls!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Mr. O'Brien, Have you noticed the posting for another middle/high school principal i Southbridge on: www.schoolspring.com dated March 14 ? Is it really possible that no one is concerned that the school is looking for a fifth principal in slightly more than 18 months?

    ReplyDelete

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