Keep Midtown squinky
Dunno why I’ve been seeing these “Keep Midtown Janky” stickers around for a while. Buncha hooey, I suspect, from a certain group of locals of whom I choose not to place an any kind of pejorative context, except to say that this word “janky” leaves me going “no thankee.” First, because it’s reportedly some kind of San Francisco snootnosed hipster insult that’s been appropriated by a few fat-tire bike types here as a badge of honor, to which I say that if it came from San Francisco, fuck it. The only two things worth a shit in that burg are the Giants and that John Coltrane church, and, uh, maybe a lot of other things, but not those saditty fucks who turn their noses up at you when you cop to residing in the nine one six.
Second, because I think it’s bass-ackwards. Now, if you’re going to coin a portmanteau of jinky and skanky, then janky doesn’t cut it. Especially when there’s one with the imprimatur of Robert Crumb, who, on the bright orange cover of his Zap Comix No. 1, put it succinctly thus: “Zap Comics are Squinky Comics!!”
I’m not sure why I’m feeling this intense need to keep Midtown squinky; perhaps it’s in response to a recent Midtown Monthly article about “janky” eating in Midtown Sacramento. I mean, I was sitting there reading it in a supposedly janky dining establishment; I was thinking about some ideas I had the week before when I was eating in one of my favorite janky places, the one I told everyone about and can take credit for making it all popular among the right peo- … uh, fuck it, I’ll shut up about that line of jibberjabber before I make any more enemies.
Actually, I was eating at Chita’s Mexican Grill, which is so goddamn janky it’s squinky. I was thinking about squinky, about the places in Midtown that bring the squink. Chita’s is such a place: first, because it’s two doors down from Benny’s, which used to be called “Two Doors Down” when Dolly Parton had a hit by that name and some Bee columnist who used to write his column from the bar there wrote one about what a swell establishment it was before he dropped dead from a heart attack and then newspapers stopped letting their columnists write columns from bars, a big mistake I think, because unedited drunken ramblings are arguably a lot more interesting than what’s getting published in newspapers these days, witness The Bee, but I digress except to say that I would start reading The Bee again if they let a bunch of drunken chimpanzees run rampant with opinion columns and again I digress to mention that the Sacramento Press occasionally serves that function and the UFO and ghostbuster reports can be highly entertaining, but anyway, not only is Benny’s a bit of a “shanky” place these days, if shanky means stabby or a place to get some unwanted impromptu ventilation that will stain your clothes and maybe kill you, but also that between Benny’s and Chita’s is a green-cross joint called “420 Evaluations.” I mean, how frickin’ squinky is that?
Erm, a few definitions by examples. Jim-Denny’s is squinky, perhaps the epitome of squink. Cafe Bernardo is not squinky. Zelda’s is squinky, and Chicago Fire is not squinky. Taki used to be squinky, but whatever it was that replaced it is decidedly not squinky. In fact, no sushi bar can be squinky. Chita’s and La Garnacha are squinky, Centro is not squinky — actually, no Paragary restaurant can be even remotely squinky — and Tres Hermanas is kinda halfway in between. The 524 Club used to be squinky until the redo a few years back, but the satellite joint on Northgate near West El Camino is still squinky as all getout, as are all taco trucks that aren’t run by foodies. As for bars, Round Corner is squinky, and the 20th and K corner with Faces and The Depot and Headhunters and whatever that non-gay (but very ghey) joint is called, like 20-something, on the northwest corner are the quintessence of not squinky. Pine Cove is squinky, and Old Ironsides is mostly squinky, because they’ve been rocking the Pabst flag since before Frank Booth made it the pisswater of choice for hepcats (fuck that “hipster” shit).
See, I’d prefer to live in a squinky world, one with rounded corners that looks like it was drawn by Robert Crumb. I wouldn’t mind meeting a few ladies who look like ol’ Bob drew them, too. And I’d love to have a Robert Crumb-designed automobile. So that’s squinky to me — old Sacramento, back when Crumb lived in Dixon, then Winters, and Justin Green used to go pick him up and drive him around so Crumb could sketch elevations for his comics — Del Paso Boulevard seemed to be a favorite, and that strip between Globe and El Camino should be a regional monument to squink. And we need more squink. There is way too much antisquink in Sacramento, and dunno about you, but I respond to this new antisquink the way Turkish nationals respond to old episodes of The Chipmunks with David Seville: “I do not know what this is, but I feel strongly that it is not good.”
I babble, I babble: We need to keep Midtown squinky, not janky. —Jackson Griffith