By Allen David
Some of us believe that life is precious, an audacious cocktail of protoplasm and high-stakes casino craps. For us, this date, the one that makes it Leap Year, is perhaps our holies—an extra day, a freebie, a quadrennial opportunity to get ahead of the game. Today, we’re all playing with house money. But there are some for whom this invaluable gift is just another cynical gag in a world full of them, a day to mock those things most cherished. And so it is that so-called Earth artist Michael Heizer and the people of the City of Jurupa Valley—which has only been a city for the past 18 months of Earth’s history—conspire to extract a 340-ton chunk of granite from where God placed it (probably figuring it would give the Jurupa Vallians something to talk to on their level) and transport it 105 miles to the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
THURSDAY, MARCH 1
Got to admit I had my doubts last year—two years ago this month, in fac—when the people of Jurupa Valley voted to become a city. I mean, my brother lives out there, and honestly, there’s not much more to it than warehouses and horses’ asses . . . right, and 340-ton chunks of granite And they’re so proud of it that I hear they actually want to erect signs at the city limits that read: Jurupa Valley: City of Warehouses and Horses’ Asses. Yes, that’s what I hear. But don’t believe it. Government leaders in Jurupa Valley have proven in less than a year on the job is that they are not that stupid. They’re the same, plain government-issue dumbbells you get everywhere—voting on big and long-term issues based on scattershot information and a glass of iced tea, whilst preoccupied by their own puffed-up pride that a self-anointed Earth artist chose their two-stories-high, teardrop-shaped piece of granite to transport to L.A. on a 44-axeled flatbed trailer the length of a football field powered by 600-horsepower engines in the front and back that will go no faster than 8 miles-per-hour and will be accompanied by 60 people to clear a path so that the rock doesn’t smash into anything going around turns during its 11-day journey.
FRIDAY, MARCH 2
Rocks for brains? That had to be the reason it’s taking three agonizing hours of undisciplined debate for the Jurupa Valley City Council to still be unable to grasp why it might be a good idea to impose a temporary moratorium on new or expanded warehouses and heavy industrial businesses in the city—because these things are eating up all the city’s available land! As they speak—and speak and speak and speak, for three freakin‘ hours—a 340-ton rock of granite is being trucked to L.A. to make room. But at the end, the council composes itself and comes up with a decision that puts a smile on the face of every bureaucrat in the world: they vote to hold a special workshop session, probably at a future council meeting, involving city planning officials and representatives of the warehouse and business communities. They vote not to set a specific date for that workshop.
SATURDAY, MARCH 3
Meanwhile, out at one of the Jurupa Valley warehouses two men are arrested by Riverside Sheriff’s deputies for failing to disperse, and one has the additional charge of assault on a peace officer. Seems kind of drastic.
SUNDAY, MARCH 4
OK, so it seems there is a little more to the incident of the failure-to-disperse arrest at the Jurupa Valley warehouse. The warehouse contracts with Walmart, and all know that the company treats its employees like crap.
MONDAY, MARCH 5
This is just in from the Walmart-contracted warehouse in Jurupa Valley, site of the failure-to-disperse incident of a couple days ago, where apparently 300 people were participating in a demonstration that had something to do with the Occupy Movement, and at this point I’m sure any kind of movement is a sign of progress. Who knows how long this dude had been backed up, but somebody brought in a forklift, at which time the Sheriff’s Department called in all available units and told officers to bring their riot gear.
TUESDAY, MARCH 6
On second look, that 340-ton rock looks a lot like . . . naaaw, couldn’t be.