The world’s smallest civil war: Townies, Storm brawl in streets, bars of Indianola

by Jack Sawyers

Anyone who has ever seen the movie, “The Outsiders,” may be feeling a strange sense of déjà vu from the past few weeks’ occurrences.

In fact, the classic 1982 film, which stars everyone from Ralph “Karate Kid” Macchio to Tom “Maverick” Cruise, Emilio “Mighty Ducks” Estevez and Patrick “Dalton” Swayze, has apparently exerted a moon-like pull on the social gravity within Indianola, again proving that life imitates art.

Okay, so that’s not how it goes exactly, but stick with me.

In “The Outsiders,” a town’s economic and educational cliques clash over essentially pointless differences, which are embodied by the two rival factions, the well-to-do collegiate Socs and the self-explanatory Greasers. The two groups exhibit no remorse for one another as they wage a cultural war in the midst of small-town Oklahoma.

In Indianola, economic and educational cliques are currently embroiled in the world’s smallest civil war between the Simpson Storm and the home Townies.

Everywhere, tempers are flaring and fists are flying as locals and imports collide over everything from cowboy hats to pool games. Even as I write this, the self-sustaining world beneath the whispering maples is seething with anti-townie sentiment about to erupt.

It’s almost as if the Greasers and the Socs were kindling a spontaneous revival right here in I-town. And, true to the cinematic prediction, this hostility has lead to no less than three fights in the past two weeks.

Van loads of locals have assaulted people walking home from the bar.

They’ve invaded house parties and have even caused a general sense of weariness for those who would fight back.

Gangs of Simpson students harass and corner town folk at The Zoo.

Somewhere in the distance, Emilio Estevez duct tapes someone’s “buns” together.

Sorry – wrong flick.

Anyways, the point is that many of the same problems that were exposed in “The Outsiders” are evident in Indianola. We love to hate the other side, and they love to hate us.

So the real issue then is not promoting harmony between the Townies and the Storm – you’d have to be higher than Woody Harrelson to think that would fly – but how to effectively separate the two factions so they have less opportunity to kill each other.

Perhaps the first thing that should be done is to have a line drawn through the center of The Zoo with masking tape to divide the local bar rats from the Division III bar rats. For those lucky few who fall into both categories, there could be a “batter’s box” in the center of the bar. This way, they could converse with both sides and mediate such important issues as bathroom usage and the coat check.

Or maybe a better option would be to establish a Simpson-only bar somewhere closer to campus. Start selling beer out of McNeill Hall.

As for the roving vans of ruffians, they probably won’t be cured until they get an old-fashioned beating, so we should probably load our own vans and get to that. Like Kenny Rogers says, “Sometimes you’ve got to fight when you’re a man.”

No matter what, this needs to be resolved before the end of the movie – before Ralph “My Cousin Vinny” Macchio stabs a Soc.

God knows there is little more embarrassing than getting shanked by the Karate Kid.