Mon 14 Dec 2009
Seen on many vehicles in East and West Marin these days are bumper stickers that joke, “Fairfax — Mayberry on Acid.” The one above was photographed in Point Reyes Station. Neither the joke nor the bumper sticker is new, but helping popularize them was a brief video with that title, which was entered in the 2007 Fairfax Short Documentary Film Challenge.
Fairfax (pop. 7,000) is, of course, a swinging little place with its own head shop and a cannabis buyers’ club located next to the Little League ballfield. The documentary included some shots of baseball players, but its focus was on older members of the counterculture.
But unlike these aging bohos, most motorists I’ve seen with the bumper sticker have been young adults, and I question whether many of them are actually familiar with the Andy Griffith Show, which was set in the fictional town of Mayberry, N.C.
The show aired from 1960 to 1968, and its sequel, Mayberry R.F.D. (Rural Free Delivery), aired from 1968 to 1971. Perhaps some younger folks have seen reruns.
The original Andy Griffith Show, in which he played a widowed sheriff in Mayberry, included Ron Howard as his son Opie (center), Frances Bavier as Aunt Bea, his spinster aunt and housekeeper (upper left), and Don Knotts as Barney Fife, his well-intentioned but bumbling deputy (lower right).
The one-stoplight town of Mayberry had no major crime — just a little moonshining and the like, along with an occasional wrongdoer showing up from elsewhere.
The sheriff often spent as much time going to The Fishin’ Hole as in upholding the law. (Those of you old enough to have ever seen the show need merely to click on the preceding link, and it should act like a taste of Proust’s madeleine.)
All this got me wondering: what in the world would the Andy Griffith Show have been like if the colorful characters of quaint little Mayberry were supposedly high on LSD?
As for Mayberry itself, the town is, after all, the creation of a 1960s sitcom about a couple of officers. “Fairfax — Mayberry on Acid” therefore raises the question: what if police in Fairfax were to drop acid? Is this how they might see the world? Or does the bumper sticker suggest this is how they already do?