03 April 2006
The town of Wellesley’s character is under threat. According to town officials, this threat is “all the more alarming because it seemed to slip below the radar.” Although the hysterical language would suggest otherwise, this threat is not an Al-Qaeda cell or a giant Methadone clinic…it’s a Dunkin Donuts.
Some townspeople are claiming the traditional New England -- albeit ubiquitous -- coffee-and-donut chain will tarnish Wellesley’s quaint center of town (i.e, Central Street, which is home to tres chic establishments like the Gap and CVS). I understand that an unsightly neon orange-and-pink sign could blight the landscape but this Dunkies, which is several blocks away from the center of town, is hardly uncouth. It is housed in a red brick building where fresh flowers are displayed in a bay window. Its sign is neither large nor neon but tiny, wooden and understated in black and gold (see photo above). It’s clear the owner considered design and context here -- otherwise, it'd look like this.
The bottom line: You'd really have to make a concerted effort to be offended by this particular Dunkin Donuts.
Still to some town officials, its mere existence, however inconspicuous, will bring an infestation of acrylic nails and gelled mullets to Central Street and cast a grungy pall over the entire town of Wellesley. Perhaps it’s a deluded sense of entitlement or extreme insecurity that leads people to rise up in righteous indignation over a donut shop. I just don’t know. The irony here is that this “call to arms” is all in the name of “character” – and such a graceless, elitist cause indicates quite the opposite. It's petty.
To a rational person, such passion and outcry would be better channeled elsewhere. Are there no real problems to tackle in this town? Have these people ever tried a Supreme Omelet sandwich?
“What this was for us was a huge wake-up call," said Selectman and Big Poser David J. Himmelberger, who is in desperate need of getting over himself. This jerk graduated from UMass Amherst so you know he’s had more than his share of large regulars at Dunkin's rest stops on the Mass Pike. Also, in the real world, a “wake-up” call would be catching your 9 year old consuming a 12-pack, not a dozen munchkins.
Still, it seems these town officials’ main responsibility is to sit around waiting to be outraged by something distasteful. Then, leading by example, they seek to provide a lesson to unwashed outsiders on the importance of character. I think these people could learn something about character from Dunkin Donuts. While it lacks panache, Dunks is not trying too hard to be something it’s not. But this is clearly a foreign concept to this town where some are so obsessed with appearances they’ve lost their grip on reality.