Yearly Obsession: Reflecting on Nashville's quirkier moments

Tuesday, December 27, 2011 at 10:05pm

For 52 weeks, the Weekly Obsession has obsessed — weekly — on the city’s quirkier moments.

From a cat that caused a traffic jam to the Row’s battle against pirates, Nashville proved once again to be weird and wonderful.

Oh, Nashville, you’re really keen.

And what have we learned?

For starters: Mayor Dean really, really wants you to hang out with him and maybe ride bikes or go for a walk or a run or take a bus ride.

But most importantly: Nashville, for all its self-serious ambition to put the majuscules on World Class City, is still a very funny place to live.

We still freak out about cicadas, yes, but we have scientists at Vanderbilt doing very good work in the field of insect repellants.

We have council members yelling profanity at each other in a parking garage, sure, but at least they can agree Bellevue is mature enough to handle a couple of liquor stores.

We repeatedly elect court clerks who have a propensity for not showing up for work — as David Torrence famously put it, “I occasionally play golf.” But we also have a world-champion hotel bathroom, and that’s got to count for something.

We fete our regular high-rankings on totally arbitrary lists that place Nashville among the nation’s best values or best places to work or best places to eat chicken that’s so potent it can power a jet fighter.

And we lament when a radio station most of us never listened to is taken over by a radio station most of us never listen to.

We breathlessly discuss the future of a sports-talking institution (“When will Plaz be back? When will he speak to Steve on a Car Phone again, asking him for two minutes?”) while our mayor populates his office with most of the Bredesen administration and formerly interim-tagged department heads who insisted they’d never take the full-time gig.

Eric Crafton considers every open job in the city and most of Nashville still doesn’t know the difference between Carl Burch and Jim Forkum (the Weekly Obsession’s assertion that no one could make the distinction was read into the record of the Metro Council — a huge moment).

Nashville wants to change, wants to further cement its place on the world stage, and that’s not a bad thing as we’ve a lot to be proud of and a whole lot to give the world.

But let’s not be in such a hurry to grow up completely. Our wacky fringes give us character — and characters — aplenty, enough to obsess about for plenty of weeks to come.