Dear readers, we made it. We’ve successfully survived yet another Mercury retrograde. Best Medicine Heads might recall from my previous column that I was having a tough time with the astrological placements last month.
For those not yet in the fan club, “Best Medicine with Morgan Bost” is a monthly humor column written by me, Morgan Bost, a local comic and co-host of the weekly live comedy talk show The Hot Seat, Tuesday nights at 7 p.m. at UpCountry Brewing Co.
Each month in print, I gather some of my funniest friends and ask them to address my most pressing shower thoughts concerning all things Western North Carolina.
This month I’ve rounded up three of Asheville’s favorite comics: Chesney Goodson, Blaine Perry and fellow Hot Seat co-host Cameron Davis to discuss Halloween costumes, the future of Pack Square Park and the upcoming election.
Bost: Spooky season is upon us! Ghosts and ghouls and goblins — oh my! What costume do you think best captures the current spirit of Asheville this Halloween?
Cameron Davis: I think the perfect costume this Halloween season is a French Broad River tuber. Every time I see people in the water I am instantly horrified and disgusted. And isn’t that what Halloween is all about?
All in all, it’s a pretty cheap costume: An inner tube at around $5; a can of fart spray to cover yourself in goes for around $10; and I’m pretty sure a staph infection is free if untreated.
Just to be clear, this isn’t a “joke” costume. This costume has a real fear factor. Let’s just say, for example, if I turned a corner on a dark street and in one direction was Slimer from Ghostbusters, and in the other direction was someone soaked in French Broad River water, I’d walk away from the stinky creature wreaking of sewage and make friends with that green slimy ghost.
Chesney Goodson: This one can go either way: a Florida license plate or a pumpkin spice latte with coconut milk (got to keep it vegan). Both things are seen here a lot, often together causing all kinds of horror and havoc in local businesses around town. I get chills just thinking about them.
Blaine Perry: There are two local icons that clearly embody the culture, history and vibrance of our beautiful city — the Asheville Tourists mascots Ted E. Tourist and that other one. You know, the moon-face guy. I consider them ambassadors to the Blue Ridge Mountains.
While a lot of people assume these mascots were randomly chosen — perhaps detritus from a failed Muppets movie — they don’t realize that they have a deep connection to our city. Lewis McCormick, the scientist for whom the baseball field is named, led the heroic “Swat the Fly” campaign during the early part of the 20th century. But few know the cruel nicknames that McCormick gave his co-workers, including a clerk with an abnormally circular head and severe acne as well as a secretary who was an actual bear. (Asheville’s charter back then mandated at least seven black bears be employed by the city; it’s since been reduced to just two.)
I personally hate baseball, so I’ll probably just dress up like Bob Ingle for Halloween because I’m a huge fan of regional grocery stores.
Morgan Bost: For my Asheville Halloween costume I’ve decided to go as a giant autumn leaf. Like me, autumn leaves are bright, bold and demand attention. (I see you, fellow Leos.) Plus, they are the quintessential Asheville attraction. Every fall, leaf lookers descend upon our city hoping to catch a glimpse of the colorful Blue Ridge Mountains display. Why not give the people what they want? And similar to fall foliage, I too have a tendency to hold up traffic on I-26.
Bost: The structure once honoring Zebulon Vance — former N.C. governor, U.S. senator and outspoken white supremacist — has been removed. The city is now exploring new options for the space via its Art in the Heart program. As residents, what would you like to see at Pack Square Park?
Davis: One thing that should be enshrined as a symbol of Asheville is the Pubcycle. They are the truly eco-friendly vehicle that runs off the ideal renewable energy source our planet needs: drunk people. I propose that we forge a two-story tall, 100-foot-long, bronze Pubcycle and plop it right in the middle of Biltmore Avenue. Because why would we merely slow down traffic at the busiest times when we can really grind the city’s infrastructure to a complete halt with an even more obnoxious and immovable obstruction?
Did I mention it would be a fountain, too? And will water flow through it? Heck, no! It’s going to be a wellspring of vodka. It’ll be the perfect spot for bachelorette parties and vacationers to lap up their sustenance like zebras at a Serengeti watering hole.
Goodson: A giant sandal, obviously! Outside of the beautiful mountain views and lush walking trails that Asheville offers, it also provides a safe space for people to display their foot fingers. I’m talking all toes — long toes, short toes, fat toes, skinny toes, liberal toes, conservative toes and even racist toes (known in the podiatrist circles as the “Biggot Toe”) are all welcome to come and flip-flop in peace without any fear of judgment.
Perry: I was walking my dog downtown on my way to get a tattoo last week when I realized that I was out of Vape Juice. Worse than that, I was stone-cold sober. This wasn’t the first Tuesday afternoon where I’ve found myself in this situation, and it’s quite time-consuming to visit the ink shop, then refill my Juul, then get drunk. I mean, I’ve clocked it, and it takes roughly 67 seconds to travel between each location. Even longer if I start at the brewery. Also, my dog being a Komondor (rescue), she needs daily grooming; otherwise, she’ll suffocate on her own fur. Asheville is long overdue for a combination tattoo/vape/brewery/dog grooming shop. A place where we can drink IPAs, let our dogs get tattoos and smoke our cares away. Zebulon Vance would have hated it, and isn’t that the most important thing?
Bost: Asheville has always struck me as a mecca for the Piedmont Triangle. A place for those looking to escape the confines of their oppressive, rural upbringings but who still want to make it home on a tank of gas (shoutout to my hometown Lexington, N.C. — alleged barbecue capital of the world). Therefore, I think the Vance Monument should be replaced with a giant gas tank, a nod to the Piedmont pilgrims packing up their 2007 Kia Spectras and traveling west (but not too far west) to prove their high school theater teachers wrong.
Tuesday, Nov. 8 is Election Day, and there is a lot on the ballot for Asheville and Buncombe County voters. There’s also been plenty of talk from candidates. But what local issue do you think has gone under the radar this campaign cycle?
Davis: One thing that no one is talking about in politics is the retirement age. Hold up! You want me to wait until I’m 67 to retire? That’s ridiculous. There’s no way to guarantee Bonnaroo will still be around come 2057! Plus, I moved to Asheville to take it easy. I’m 32 years old and I’ve had enough doses of the “rise and grind” mantra. I think it’s my turn to own a big house in Montford, pick up bird-watching and start playing pickleball on Tuesday afternoons.
And if you’re one of those politicians who are mad at robots for taking our jobs, let’s make a deal. I will work just long enough to finance my replacement robot and then collect its paychecks at the end of each week. How does that sound? Plus, my robot replacement won’t have to use the restroom, there will be no workplace romances (unless you’re into that), and it won’t cry in a broom closet when a customer doesn’t get their order correctly and yells about it.
You can start muttering “liberal snowflake” to yourself now!
Goodson: This last issue is near and dear to my heart. I need a candidate who will champion the struggle of not just me but other Black people in Asheville. WE NEED A HIP-HOP RADIO STATION IN ASHEVILLE! It’s hard to get going in the morning without a local hip-hop radio DJ screaming for me to get out of bed while playing something with a lot of bass in the background. There are much bigger issues in town that we need to fix, I know — I’m just asking can we pump some Gucci Mane while we attempt to fix them?
Perry: I don’t think people are talking about how bad the traffic is in West Asheville. I mean, I didn’t move here from Atlanta so I could sit in my car all day. I moved here because I was indicted for running a Ponzi scheme and I am no longer allowed to incorporate my business in the state of Georgia. Who wants to live like Atlantans anyway? Sure, they have culture and arts. Sure, they have diversity. Sure, they have a robust economy. But you know what they don’t have? Not a single Organic Mechanic.
Bost: My vote hinges on the politician promising to bring a dedicated New York-style bagel shop to Asheville. A place to gleefully galivant in gluten. A place where bagels are boiled, then baked. A place where Lactaid and cream cheese flow freely. While there are certainly places in Asheville that serve a pretty good bagel, nowhere seems to specialize in the New York style. I wish more politicians were talking about ways to bring these crunchy-yet-chewy breakfast delights to the good citizens of our city.