Op-Ed

Hard to tell rich from crazy at asylum ball but only poor fight wars

Larry Webster
Larry Webster

March is not all madness. Even despite the legislature being in session, some things are improving. In Lexington, they announced the revival of the annual Mental Asylum Ball, which was, around the turn of the century before last, Lexington’s premier social event.

It was held at the Eastern Lunatic Asylum back when institutions were named more honestly and was a giant gala attended by the best families in Lexington and the “more orderly” crazy people at the asylum, many of whom came from the best families in Lexington.

By the end of the evening you could not tell the rich people from the crazy people, which is still somewhat true in Fayette County.

This ball was held during the time of the Rev. Peter Vinegar, a former slave who baptized thousands and who got famous for his sermon entitled “Hell is Only a Mile From Lexington,” but that was before Lexington expanded outward several miles.

The event now will be held in the basement of the Phoenix Hotel, accessible by zipline. That basement is now the most famous hole in Lexington history. Ziplines, thought by most of us to refer to an old Italian family, are now being regulated by the legislature, which has a standing committee trying to figure out something else to regulate and outlaw.

That is good, because those of us who want to fly through trees at a high rate of speed hanging on a clothes line certainly hope to do that safely. There have been more people injured at Donald Trump rallies than on ziplines, so we await the abolition of Trump rallies.

Regulate ziplines today, and tomorrow it will be grapevines. Soon country boys will have nothing to do but flirt with sheep. Look for the legislature to soon ban hiking in the Red River Gorge, even though a couple people who hiked there in the last year did not walk off a cliff.

If the General Assembly were to outlaw those low-slung jeans being worn on fat girls, there would be a statewide holiday. In 1896, for reasons never explained, girls paraded scandalously in bloomers on West Short Street. Nowadays they would be considered overdressed.

Hundreds die each year while jogging and still the legislature does nothing.

It has been decided that the various statues of Confederates who fought bravely to keep Rev. Vinegar in bondage will be left alone, to recognize the historical fact that Lexington waited to see which side lost the Civil War and then got on that side.

I probably should correct the notion that those Confederates with statues fought. The Civil War, like most others, was a rich man’s war and a poor man’s fight. It will be obvious to some that I just read professor John Wright’s book on the history of Lexington.

Reach Larry Webster, a Pikeville attorney, at websterlawrencer@bellsouth.net.

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