Now see this: the new West Asheville

Not a week goes by that I do not hear of valid concern regarding the ongoing development of West Asheville’s heavenly slice of our beloved city. While the influx of money is ostensibly a good thing, strengthening our city’s overall tax base, obvious hazards exist. How can West Asheville grow without losing its unique charm and treasured character? I believe that I have stumbled upon a solution that will more than please all parties with passionately vested interest in West Asheville’s future, and I invite all concerned citizens to rally behind me. We must demand the nation’s largest Wal-Mart Supercenter, erected proud and tall above Haywood Road, and embrace it as a shining beacon of hope and source of inspiration in our daily lives. It is our God-given right.

It came to me as a vision in a dream: myself walking down Haywood Road, distraught over the multitude of choices available. What local business should I patronize? And then, there above me, no stars—only blackness. It was then that I noticed a well-lit staircase ascending alongside massive steel girders that stretched skyward. I placed my hand on the rail and climbed toward the darkness, a certain lightness in my feet all the while, as though angels were lifting me and their heavenly voices beckoning me onwards. A bright light flashed before me, and there I was greeted at the gates by the genuine smile of a blue-vest-clad Wal-Mart greeter. It was not angels I had heard above—no, simply mankind’s most sincere form of worship aspiring toward the divine: the spirit of unbridled consumerism.

Wal-Mart brings everyday low prices to wetlands, simplifies workers’ lives by obviating need to attend cumbersome union meetings, and I believe that it is exactly what we need to reinvigorate and fortify the essential soul that has allowed West Asheville to thrive. No longer will there be need to choose.

It is essential in my vision that Wal-Mart was raised above the street. Consider the multitude of ways that this will further the environmental goals of so many of our citizens. Permanent shade will all but eliminate the need for energy-consuming fans, further distancing us from the temptation to indulge in the lustful sin of central air conditioning. Acid rain as a problem will be solved entirely when it is no longer able to reach the roofs of our homes. We will need no pesticides for our lawns when there is no sunlight to encourage weeds to grow. Collectively, we will re-enter the lost garden, with all required for life provided by above.

I see this as the beginning of our new age of prosperity, the dawn of West Asheville’s future. With Haywood left intact, conversion can begin. I yearn for the day when our pub is an Applebees, our hostel an Econo Lodge and our grassroots coffee shops and bakeries—all of them: Starbucks. From the mountaintops, let City Council hear our cries. Let your voices be heard. Together we conquer destiny.

— Robert Anton Polyn

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