Monday, July 12, 2010
In everyone’s life there’s a summer of 2010. Other people may call it the Big Bang theory. I don’t want to call it the Big Bam theory, because “The Big Bam” is what his contemporaries called George Herman Ruth. The Babe crap was made up by journalists. There used to be journalists, you know. I was one of them. Then we all were sent into exile or assassinated. I’m not sure what happened to me.
I didn’t know The Big Bam, but I have eaten hot dogs and played ball. Only my finest play came back in the winter of 1983, when I took a long and high snowball, deep and inside, pitched by Clarksville’s Queen Father, a duly elected official. I blasted it to the far side of Public Square.
It was shortly after that that my best comrade Rob Dollar became police chief of the city of Clarksville. A lot of people don’t know that, because it was hushed up and he was run out of town on a rail because his selection as police chief was brokered by Gen. Colin Powell and the late Dwight David Eisenhower, who thought the son of a military veteran and a man with a degree in law enforcement ought to be the police chief.
Once he was selected, however, the long arm of the establishment came down hard. And perhaps it had a lot to do with the baseball game we had with the Queen Father. If we hadn’t beaten him, if we hadn’t embarrassed him in front of his/her colleagues, perhaps he/she would have given Rob the rightful keys to the big yellow squad car – it really was a brightly painted Volkswagen van with a peace sign on one side and a police sign on the other.
But it wasn’t to be. For one instant, Rob was police chief. Sworn in. He had his little dog at his side. Ma Dollar was proud. We all had a celebration that involved grenade launchers and automatic weapons gunfire throughout what then were the deserted streets of downtown Clarksville. More pigeons than people ventured down there those days. Lots of dead pigeons during that celebration.
By the way, does anybody remember the old tradition that they had in Clarksville and other towns when they’d invite the local shotgun-toting good ol’ boys to come downtown one Saturday afternoon a year, station themselves on a roof and blast away at pigeons?
I remember. When I first began working at the daily newspaper in Clarksville, when it came time for pigeon Saturday, we all were advised to get inside the building early and stay until dusk. Shotgun blasts filled the afternoon. Dead birds and the occasional innocent pedestrian littered the streets the morning after.
Back to the big celebration of Rob’s inauguration. Yes there was wild and festive frivolity in the quadrisexual night clubs throughout the downtown area. The Haberdashery and Strawberry Alley held huge “Village People” spectaculars, where guys dressed as the cop in that group, and sang “YMCA” in observance of Rob’s reputation as being an open and honest man who treats others as he likes to be treated.
That may have been the final straw, because within hours of his inauguration address, he was unemployed and watching spring training reruns on the superstation while my dog, Izzy, found some comfort on his carpet. At least until the flood came and washed him out.
That was a long time ago. But it was a minor flood, which brings me back to the summer of 2010 and the fact that, as far as I’m concerned, it’s not my favorite season. In fact, I can’t stand this year. I want out. As soon as possible.
As for Rob, well he didn’t get much out of his short term as police chief. You’d have to search long and hard in the microfilm to find any record of his tenure. Actually, it was expunged. They told him “You can’t be police chief in this town,” and did their best to break him.
Problem is he’s a News Brother, one of the two most active of the brethren. And he sued the city for $600 and a crate of barbecue pork rinds. He could have won, too, if it hadn’t been for the pork rinds clause. The judge, Roy Oswald Bean, thought Rob was making reference to the friendly coppers, you know “Pork Rinds = Pigs” – which now that I think about it could be the name of my autobiography, although I really will title it “They Call Me Flapjacks” because it is about me or someone who looks and smells a lot like me.
Truth is, Rob just wanted to have an ample supply of the pork rinds because they were the favorite snack of the Vice President of the United States of America at the time: George Herbert Walker “Bocephus” Bush, a decent man who obviously had flawed loins, perhaps because he didn’t get enough pork rinds back when he was the Second Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World. Remember that movie? I think the hero killed something like 27 people in the first five minutes. And it was a comedy.
Of course, Papa Bush was in charge of the CIA, which back then was No. 2 to the KGB before they became partners in crime and eventually started filling up suburbs with their agents. I’ll tell you one thing, the agents we deported in the trade for our agents in the Gulag looked pretty damned good. That’s another issue for another day, but why would we trade beautiful women for dumpy old men? For that matter, why would LeBron James crap on his hometown?
As for Cleveland, my pal “Flash” – who has climbed high in the News Brothers ranks thanks to his undying loyalty and the fact he spent Halloween with us – was in Cleveland the other day. He saw all of these people tearing up the streets, screaming about the departure of LeBron for Miami. “Flash,” though a smart guy and a devout disciple of the late George Bernard Shaw as well as George Gershwin and Yoda and that bald guy in Lost, had no idea who LeBron was. All he told the guy at the Shell station was that “I’d like to go to Miami, too.”
They beat him within an ounce of his life with the handle of the gas pump, before his wife Brenda, who I helped raise when she was a young and beautiful Army brat whose dad and mom were wonderful people, rescued him. She tried to light her hair-spray to fight off the crowd as they gathered to stomp Flash. She’d seen it in a movie. But the Flash family is “green” and they have no aerosol products in their luggage. So that didn’t work. Anyway, she got them to leave Flashy boy alone when she said “my dad is Jimmy Brown.” Hard to believe, but it may be true as there is absolutely no resemblance.
OK, so we’ve all been having hard times lately, what with LeBron showing that he’s got the same kind of class that a nameless and classless “newspaperman” displayed when he turned his back on Rob and eliminated all mention of his brief reign as police chief.
But what about the Big Bang, you say. I’ve been teasing about this lately. Simply put, I got my brains over easy on the Fourth of July.
Suffice it to say that a car ran into my car and it was totaled. This comes on top of the flood of a couple of months ago and, much worse, the death of Pal Kitty, who was my best and least judgmental friend.
I’m waiting to see if I can get another car sometime. But I’m lucky, because at least I don’t have a job to call in sick to.
For that I thank the most recent Presidents of the United States of America and their sponsors: the insurance, banking, oil and media industries.
OK, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, I guess, as Ricky once said to me when he caught me and Fred Mertz eating all of the chocolates that came off the assembly line: “Flapjacks, you got some ‘splainin’ to do.”
Accidents are accidental. That’s why they call them accidents.
So I’ll just let it go like that and wait for football season and remember that in everyone’s life there’s a summer of 2010.