Friday, October 25, 2013


Peering into the old Heer's building in downtown Springfield makes me mad. Not because it's a once-glorious department store, now reduced to a punchline; this is what happens when nostalgia becomes a substitute for common sense and people start believing that tripe about the good old days.

Maddening is the thought of rebooting the Heer's building as an apartment building — "luxury living," as the developer puts it, a $16 million project that's supposed to be done by 2015, the building's 100th anniversary. Locals can make book on which place opens first — Heer's or the Wonders of Wildlife museum, which closed in 2007 for a six-month rehab and has been shuttered ever since.

Here's a three-word suggestion for the Heer's building: tear it down.

Bury the memories with the rubble and end the mindset that an abandoned seven-story building on Park Central Square ought to be reimagined into anything. Kill the nostalgia and do something new with the space.

I've got plenty of fond memories of the Heer's building. As current currency they're worthless. The building's been closed since 1995. That lifetime is dead. Why not try something completely different?

It's a lesson I'm taking to heart as I deal with my life. Going through boxes of memories made me realize how ridiculous it is to rely on past glories. The few newspaper clips I still had were crumbling at the edges, much like the Heer's building. They're now in the landfill where they belong. Because the guy who did those things, he's dead, and zombies are so yesterday. Besides, haven't you heard that I'm gonna be OK?

I'm still hungry, looking for new ways to create. Staying still isn't the way to invent new and startling things. It takes a willingness to tear through life with swagger — and without fear of who it might disturb. To quote the poet/philosopher Marshall Bruce Mathers III, "the blueprint's simply rage and youthful exuberance / Everybody loves to root for a nuisance / Hit the earth like an asteroid, did nothing but shoot for the moon since."

I remember where I've been, the times I've rocketed to the moon and back. Those memories are sweet, but I don't want to be remembered for those things. Resting on the past? That shit's for the olds. Get out of the way and watch what happens next.

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