An increasingly common practice in larger towns is disguising the growing number of ugly cell towers to look like something else, something that blends in with the local streetscape or landscape.
In Phoenix, for example, a cell tower disguised as a saguaro cactus is virtually indistinguishable from its nearby buddies. In Colorado, a tower is incorporated into the chimney on top of a landmark building.
Now the Sacramento Bee reports that Sacramento County has received a number of requests for use permits to place cell towers in some discreet and camouflaged ways. These include on top of a Rancho Cordova flagpole, among the Bella Vista High School stadium lights, and in a fake pine tree along a bicycle trail in Carmichael.
Considering the fact that the Rim country is growing by leaps and bounds, it is reasonable to assume that we will one day have need for a number of cell towers ourselves. And considering the fact that our pristine natural beauty is one of our greatest assets, we will most certainly want to disguise those towers. And considering the fact that we have the advantage of planning ahead, we might as well show a little foresight and determine right here and now how we will disguise those towers.
While the town and county fathers have never asked for my input nor my advice, that has never stopped me from pitching in when I feel I can be of assistance. I therefore respectfully offer the following for their consideration:
The Rich Underkofler Memorial cell tower: Disguising a cell tower to look exactly like a statue of our "here today/gone tomorrow/back here the next day" town manager has several advantages. First, even if he leaves for greener pastures, or is it greener dollars, we will still have Rich to kick around. And if, as some council members claim, communication is sometimes an issue with Rich, what better solution than to turn him into a cell tower. And finally, how fitting for a man who has been referred to as a real lightning rod.
The Gazebo cell tower: By disguising the infamous gazebo at Green Valley Park as a cell tower, the town council can stop worrying about restricting its use to town-sponsored events. For one thing, we certainly would be able to monitor all those subversives and other weirdos who will most surely flock to use it once those restrictions are lifted. And while we can't guarantee that prayers get to heaven any faster when issued from a venue disguised as a cell tower, what church group wouldn't welcome that kind of built-in advantage. Charge a fee for its use, and I see the gazebo becoming a real cash cow for the town.
The KMOG cell tower: What's one more tower among towers? The only problem here is the station's music format. What happens if the signals somehow get crossed and every cell phone user in this part of the state ends up being seriously exposed to country music? Nobody has actually proven that such music causes birth defects, but you know and I know that a body can only take so much.
The Recycling Bin cell tower: The town's recycling bins are always crammed full anyway, making them basically inoperable. Therefore if one were actually a disguised cell tower, conservation enthusiasts would drive up, take a look at the bulging bin, and drive on. Just like they do now.
The Main Street cell tower: It just wouldn't be "Around the Rim" without a cheap shot at the loneliest Main Street in America. Just disguise that tower as an ugly telephone pole along that forlorn stretch of asphalt and nobody will ever notice. Except maybe Ruby Finney, because somebody has to worry about the fire trucks getting through.
The Sue Allen Sands Billboard cell tower: She's already the undisputed queen of Rim country real estate and perhaps the best known pinup girl since Betty Grable. Just imagine her reach when aided and abetted by a cell tower.
The Pete's Place Cow cell tower: When you think of Star Valley, its most famous landmark immediately comes to mind. Who are we to question whether this "moving" monument really puts that community's best hoof forward. But as long as its there, it might as well double as a cell tower disguise.
The Mogollon Monster cell tower: As I've said before, we need to capitalize on this hirsute relative of Bigfoot, a legend oft told around scout campfires in these parts. Here's my plan. We create a giant 60-foot monster that doubles as a cell tower, place it in a sort-of-but-not-too-remote location in the forest, and then sit back and wait for unsuspecting campers to stumble upon it. On second thought, we don't sit back and wait. No, we build souvenir stands along the most likely escape routes out of the woods.
If you think bags of ice are a high-profit item, wait until you see the markup on an authentic Mogollon Monster-claw keychain.