The Law of the Land: The North Fork Needs the South Fork

Fork cartoon by Mickey Paraskevas
Cartoon by Mickey Paraskevas

The North and South Forks are not dependent upon each other. They are entirely separate things, with the North the land of agriculture and wine and the South the land of celebrities, surfers and tycoons.

And yet…

Global warming is here and the temperature is rising, and the seas are rising. What if someday the South Fork went entirely underwater? It could happen. Whole hunks of Florida are going to go entirely underwater soon.

So what then would we call this entirely independent place called the North Fork? It wouldn’t be North of anybody. So you’d call it just…the Fork?

That’s crazy. No fork stands alone. Like dogs need cats, babies need mothers, peanut butter needs jelly…you get the picture.

Think about it. You cannot have a North Fork when the South Fork is gone. It’s a unique situation. You could not say, I am going out to the North Fork for the weekend. What the devil would that mean?

Maybe you could say I am going out to the peninsula for the weekend. But that doesn’t do it. It’s a peninsula all right, but there are plenty of peninsulas around. So you couldn’t just end a sentence in that way. Which peninsula would you be referring to? You’d have to say I am going out to the North Peninsula, but that would make as little sense as saying I’m going to go out to the North Fork.

But if the North Fork depends on the South Fork for a name, it doesn’t necessarily work the other way around. Think about it. If the North Fork went underwater, the South Fork would simply transform itself into something else. It would be like Clark Kent becoming Superman. The South Fork becomes the Hamptons.

Hamptons are everywhere on the, uh, South Fork. There’s East, South- and Westhampton. There’s Hampton Bays and Bridgehampton. There’s a few other names wedged in there in between, but it’s just the feathers taking up room in an overstuffed sofa. Go a few more miles and it’s back to a Hampton one way or the other.

And so I say the North Fork needs that kind of escape hatch. And everyone should help in finding it. It would free up that ork from the anxiety it suffers for being so dependent on the South Fork.

How about the Unhampton? If the South Fork were gone, you’d not have any Hamptons anywhere, would you? So that wouldn’t work. Because nobody would know what it means. Does it refer to the Hamptons up in New Hampshire, the ones down in Virginia, the ones in England? What the hell?

People often say that on the South Fork everybody is just too busy to worry about this sort of thing. They don’t even know they have the escape hatch. And there’s truth to that.

But on the North Fork, everything is quiet and peaceful, maybe with a cow mooing here or a bird cheeping there. One is left to contemplate the meaning of it all, and with the South Fork right there taking up the Yang to the North Fork’s Yin, why, it’s just very nerve-wracking is what it is.

How about Twelve Towns? That might work. There are, in fact, 12 towns strung grandly out on the North Fork like links on a chain, and this is something unique when you think about it. If you start at Riverhead, then there’s Aquebogue, Northville, Jamesport, New Suffolk, Cutchogue, Laurel, Mattituck, Southold, Greenport, East Marion and Orient. There they are. The answer to the North Forkers’ prayers.

The comforting backup to the North Fork—Twelve Towns, 12 lovable towns, each one unique, strung out like that from the head of the river to the point at the end like pearls on a necklace.

I rather like it. Keep it under your hat.

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