I grew up in a small Californian town called Chico. Chico was unique compared to surrounding towns in the area in many ways. For nature, while most California valley towns are dry grassland used for agriculture, Chico boasts a couple of creeks and canals which kept the city green and gave local kids relief from the summer heat in the form of swimming holes and one of the largest city parks of its size in the country.
Chico has a state university. Although the university students themselves sometimes clashed with local residence the presence of the college gave the city a laid back intellectual liberal vibe.
The city government has run into financial difficulties in the last 20 years or so as the city council started using its influence not in the interest of the city but to make back room development deals with outside developers. The city has also seen a spike in homelessness and drug use in recent years as well and the crime rate while declining in most of America is surging in Chico.
I still have some family and friends that live in Chico but I also follow a few Facebook pages dedicated to life in this unique town. Recently a contributor wrote in one of these groups that he suffered a flat tire from a caltrop while driving home on one of the cities’ main roads.
A caltrop is a pyramid type object with pointy tips that is designed when thrown to land on a solid triangle base with a sharp pointy end always sticking up. A weapon especially made to destroy any tire in its path. I first hear about caltrops as a teenager and understood them to be CIA/ spy stuff. In fact, They have been in use since 331 BC and used to take out horses and war elephants before their modern day use killing expensive tires.
In Chico a town that has a city ordinance forbidding the transport of nuclear weapons through the city limits and carries a strict fine of $500 for violators, a caltrop has no place in my fond remembrances of my hometown.