Only in South Carolina…  | Opinion | The Press and Standard

by | March 4, 2017 5:00 pm

Last Updated: March 1, 2017 at 12:18 pm

We in the news business have a saying: “You can’t make this stuff up.” That means we don’t need to fabricate fake news, because the real thing is so crazy. (Cops also say “you can’t make this stuff up,” usually after brawls involving infidelity, hot sauce or both.)
So here we go…..
Did you hear about the $74,000 parking space? That’s how much it will cost you to have a permanent spot reserved at 23 Burns Lane in downtown Charleston. It’s not far from King and just south of Calhoun, which means I’m lost already.
Friends, you’re strutting in high cotton when you pay more for a parking space than you did for your college degree. But hey, if you’ve got the $$, why not? You can park and take a carriage ride. You can park and walk to a museum. You can park and stroll to shops and restaurants to spend even more of the dough you must be rolling in if you can pay $74,000 FOR A PLACE TO PARK.
My first house cost less than $74,000, and yes, it was in America and had running water.  It was in Berkeley County: A cute little house in a cute little cul-de-sac, with amazing neighbors I keep in touch with to this day.
You know what else is less than $74,000? My salary when I was a full-time editor with 25 years’ experience. But I’m not bitter, much. Look, nobody gets in this game for the money. If I’d wanted big bucks, I’d have been a plumber. Or a hedge fund manager. I hear they make crazy money. With my first bonus, I’d buy a big house on the Battery, even though the traffic is awful and the humidity wrecks my hair. Then I’d snap up that $74K parking space and never tell a soul.
Why? It’s like when you have a pickup and everyone wants you to help them move. Buy a space downtown, and suddenly all your friends are museum and symphony fans. But wouldn’t it make for a great Christmas newsletter? “All is well in sunny Charleston. Thought you’d enjoy this photo of our latest purchase. Yes, it’s real asphalt!!!”
Speaking of Charleston, people are still fascinated by the orange alligator that’s hanging out in Hanahan. Jokes erupted about its resemblance to the complexion of our president, but I don’t think this is a case of too much self-tanner. The gator could be from the Rust Belt. It could be eating lots of carrots. It could have wintered in a bag of Cheetos. Or — yep, it could be a Clemson fan. Time will tell.
Then there was the 80-year-old woman whose cane was confiscated at the Myrtle Beach airport by Transportation Security Administration agents. It’s an outrage! She should sue! The TSA picks on the weak and old instead of screening for terrorists!
Um, actually, no — because the cane contained a wicked-looking sword, as in, “really long blade that can slice many bagels at once.” Sorry, grandma. The sword is a no go.
The woman, who said the cane was given to her by her son, “had no idea” she was wielding a deadly weapon each time she took a step, officials said. It’s unclear if she was provided a spare cane or if she was escorted to her flight in a wheelchair.
If it had been MY mom, she’d have said, “Yes, I do know this cane cleverly conceals a sword. Got any bagels, sonny?”
You can’t make this stuff up.

(Julie R. Smith, who’s also amazed by North Carolina news, can be reached at

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