Dr. Know: Rude Tornadoes, Uptown Gas Prices, and Griffithus Savantus

Illustration by Lars Leetaru

When I was a kid, my grandfather told me that his earliest memory was of a tornado in Hyde Park. He remembered taking a horse-drawn buggy ride the next day to look at the destroyed homes. Did Hyde Park really experience a tornado or was Pop getting his memories mixed up? —TWISTERED MEMORY

Dear Twistered:
Insert your own joke here about tornadoes and Hyde Park trailer parks. Yes, your grandfather’s memory was accurate. One hundred years ago this month, stately Hyde Park did indeed experience the vulgarity, the insult to neighborhood propriety, the plain rudeness of a tornado.

The cyclone barged into the area on a Sunday evening, long after the civilized hours of Sunday afternoon visitation had concluded. Like a drunken commoner it trespassed through dozens of homes without so much as a calling card or thank you note. Thank goodness the tornado at least had the decency to conduct its business in Hyde Park first before moving on to (shudder) Eastern Avenue.

At his tender age, your grandfather was probably spared the details of deaths and injuries, and of worse devastation elsewhere. Recovering Hyde Parkers may have been consoled knowing that their neighborhood had the notoriety of enduring Cincinnati’s very first confirmed tornado. Whether or not this “debut” deserves an entry in the Blue Book is still under consideration.

Why does the Marathon gas station at Euclid and Camargo in Indian Hill have insanely high prices? I know that isolated stations like this charge more, but we’re talking 15 to 25 cents per gallon higher sometimes. Is it because it’s in Indian Hill? —PETROL POUNDED

Dear Pounded:
Please see the previous item; we have reached our monthly quota of upscale smuggery. Regardless, that Marathon station sits on the border between the villages of Indian Hill and Madeira, and chooses to align itself with the latter.

On the day the Doctor checked local gas prices, this location did have the area’s highest: 12 cents per gallon above the next-ranked one. It could be blamed partly on the value of the property, which officially is in Indian Hill. Another factor could be, as you suggest, that no competition is nearby. Maybe their strategy is the unusually plentiful selection of soft drinks; that pulls people in, and then, well, my tank is almost empty, so…

We should not assume that the Marathon clerk the Doctor spoke with lives far from Madeira or Indian Hill. Without doubt, numerous citizens from this affluent area wear Metallica T-shirts that haven’t seen a washing machine for an indeterminate period. When asked about the glaring price anomaly, the clerk’s eyes rolled. “I get this s*** all the time.” Considering how often he gets this s***, one might expect that at some point he would have sought an answer to this s***, but it is possible that he finds a benefit in the exercise that eye-rolling provides. And really, the selection of pop is awesome.

You once wrote about The Andy Griffith Show’s wall map of Mayberry—that it was really a map of Cincinnati. But you also stated, incorrectly, that the characters never looked at the map. Weren’t you swamped with angry messages from people who have memorized every episode?  —CHANNELING BARNEY

Dear Channeling:
Readers of this magazine apparently do not include the sub-species known as Griffithus savantus. At the Doctor’s inbox, no servers were harmed. But in the interests of transparency and of protecting our brand from being labeled “lying media,” let us now Return To Mayberry. At the same time, we shall also drop a bombshell.

Our column of December 2014 confirmed that during most seasons of The Andy Griffith Show, the map hanging behind Andy’s desk was a modified 1951 Cincinnati map. But we erred in claiming that no character ever directly addressed the map. Indeed, in Season 4, Episode 7, both Andy and Barney stare at it intently; they’re checking the route of a gold-filled armored truck that will soon pass through town.

Andy first points to an edge where the truck will enter their North Carolina county. (He’s really in Hollywood staring at a map of Cincinnati, but hey, that’s showbiz.) Then he points to Mayberry specifically. Drum roll, please: Mayberry is Burnet Woods! That’s precisely where Andy’s finger lands. Feel free to organize a scavenger hunt in Burnet Woods for the discarded shell of Barney’s bullet.

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