Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Black Market Pamphlet

I think I can safely say that this issue's fire has been smoldered, so the time has come for me to tell you about my Copper Harbor Frequently Asked Questions pamphlet.

Working at The Pines Resort as a waitress and bartender for my first 3 years in this wonderful town, I was asked a lot of questions by the visitors. Now I can understand that a town with no cell phone service, Wal-Mart or shoe store could pique such curiosity. I would be curious too. But the people asked the same questions over and over and over. Some of them intelligent, some of them completely retarded (pardon my lack of politically correctness, but I could have used harsher words). I felt like a pull string doll spewing out the same phrases time and time again: Yes, I live here year-round. Lake Superior rarely freezes over. Our winters aren’t really that cold. We get an average of 270” of snow every year. I love that cell phones don’t work here. I have plenty of hobbies to keep me busy all the time. Those are just a few of the answers I would repeat.

But I am a writer. A slightly sarcastic one at that. So I thought, why don’t I compile a pamphlet that tells people what this town is like, on one handy piece of paper? Why wouldn’t I? So I did. I spent two years asking locals what questions they were constantly being asked. I learned the statistics of the weather, business hours of operation and population of the town. I spent countless hours wording, rewording and formatting it all onto a manageable-sized paper. And best of all, I put me into it. I still laugh at some of the lines when I read it.

When I had a polished product, I brought it to the Copper Harbor Improvement Association board, the Copper Harbor Trails Club board and the Grant Township Supervisor, so they could all read it and grant me permission to print and distribute my hard work. They loved it, and some even offered me a donation for this project. That is what’s great about a little town.

So off went happy little Amanda to print 500 copies of her beloved pamphlet. A pamphlet that could be given to any tourist who started asking the oh-so-familiar line of questions. It would silence them, and give them more information than they could ever be curious about. Their bartender could hand it to them with a smile, and continue to serve drinks to the rest of her customers. Everyone would be happy.

But everyone was not happy. Within 24 hours of distributing my F.A.Q. pamphlets around town, I had them all back in the box they came in (except for the few that escaped... yes!). A lashing of the tongue is what’s not-so-great about a little town. Some people thought it was offensive, and they would not be silenced until the pamphlets were out of sight. As I was collecting each pile of blood, sweat and tears, I did have a few people who realized the value of this banned piece of literature, and snuck one into their pocket for safe keeping.

Well, those people knew what they were doing. They have something that few people have: an unedited version of the Copper Harbor black market pamphlet... for free. That pamphlet no longer exists in original form. However, it does exist with a caution sticker that reads: “ATTENTION! Sense of humor recommended while reading” because, believe it or not, some people didn’t realize those "offensive" lines were supposed to be funny. Oy.

Since you have been a patron of my blog, I believe that you are mature enough to handle such material. And now that da Harbor is quiet and peaceful, I have time to respond to requests. If you would like a copy of this pamphlet, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope to me at P.O. Box 94 in beautiful Copper Harbor, MI 49918. I can send two copies per stamp. Please limit five per household. Thank you for your patronage, and wish me luck for my future distributions!


  1. Great news! Peggy E. showed it to me loong ago and I love the way you wrote it. Of course she later gave me the dish on it's banishment. I felt so bad for you. It is fun, witty and I definitely want a few. I'll be in da Harbor by the first week of May. Please hang on to 5 for me!

  2. I'll take 5 back to "Rhinelander" with me the next time I stop up. Save me some!

  3. No prob, ladies! Just remind me when you come up!