Arlington isn't that bad. Actually, it's pretty nice.
But in spite of my abandoning this site a decade ago, some people are still finding it. True, I have been hosting it all this time, but mostly because it hosts one of my old email accounts and most of my FTP files. The site was crass, inane, sophomoric humor that I can't say I'm proud to have written. For the most part I made it to cap an argument that the town wasn't a fun place. I guess it was a bit funny, but it would have been a better site had it been made by someone who could write, or spell, or type, or design a website, or anyone else really.
So I've finally looked up the FTP password and have root access again, and the site goes down. No big thing, it's just overstayed it's welcome. Rather than just have a 404 error, I'm posting this page here. You can pretend it's one last update if you'd like. While talking with my girlfriend, the subject of school spirit came up. I was commenting on how it must be a running joke among Phys Ed teachers to name their teams the Wildcats, because that many teams with such unimaginative names must be part of a bigger plot to embarrass children all over the country. Well, she was one of the Wilmington Wildcats. While I was laughing at her, she interjected with "Well what were you?" That was the game changer. I was a Spy Ponder.
But I couldn't tell her what that was. Arlington is a big lesbian town, complete with a big high school GSA. Nothing against the lesbians or their sexually confused kids, it just is. I grew up with them, they're usually pretty cool. But the side effect of living with them is what might be an outlandish lack of "school spirit" in any form. Thinking back, I couldn't have named anyone on the football team. I knew there was one, but that was as far as I looked into it. I'm not sure about a hockey or baseball team, and I knew of a girls field hockey team, but only because field hockey girls were basically some weird cult that wore pajamas to school.
So I didn't know what a "spy Ponder" was. I had my guesses, but not only did I not research it, I think I was afraid to. Obviously Spy Pond is the big pond to the Belmont side of town, but it's not much more than a pond. And this was the town I made fun of for nearly two decades. I'd like to give the town more credit, but I was certain it would be something stupid and embarrassing. All I'd ever remembered is that it was people who existed in the early 1900s. I imagined cracking open wikipedia and reading a blurb about "Arlington's sports teams are named after the Spy Ponders, who were a half dozen Greek and Armenian men who would ritualistically urinate into Spy Pond every Tuesday." I knew it couldn't be something that dumb, but I've been wrong before.
So finally, despite what a bad idea it seemed like, I looked into it. And do you know what Spy Ponders are? Ice farmers. Farming ice. Tending to an ice farm. I literally didn't know such a thing ever existed. From a pond too filthy to drink or swim in, these brave 1920s mustached men would spray water over the icy top of the pond, then rake it back in, successfully doing what is properly described as "farming ice". I wish I was making this up.
But that happened. People harvested ice on a small pond in a town named after the native people we rightly stole it from. And it was such a triumphant event that some PE teacher in breezy shorts and a whistle said "These brave men embody the spirit that we wish to convey when we lose to Everett in high school football year after year." That's the entire story. That's it. And yet, from that spirit came maybe 9 or 15 kids sports teams named the Spy Ponders, hailing from Arlington, a tiny white suburb north of Boston with a can-do spirit and not much actual ability. And between increasing security in it's highschool, trucking in black children to teach white kids how to be more tolerant, and slowly taxing the poor and annoying the conservatives out of the town, Arlington will surely remain a stronghold of weak armed MIT professors and gas station owners for generations to come.