Month: October 2013

Mr. Newspaperman: Insufficient Craziness Theory

I got my semi-regular call from Elmer on Friday.

“It’s going to get crazier,” he said.

“It already is pretty crazy,” I told him.

“No, them tea partiers are going to go off the deep end I think,” he retorted. “You’re a liberal, you must be because you work for a paper. Didn’t you read your daily bible, The New Yawk Times?” he asked.

I told him I’m far from being a liberal and that, no, I don’t read the New “Yawk” Times unless I happen to come across an article I’m interested in on the internet.

“Well,” he said in a way that I knew I was about to get an earful, “They said to expect the tea partiers to get even more crazy in congress now that their shutdown didn’t work.”

I bit. “Why?” I asked.

“Each time their plans don’t work, they seem to think they weren’t crazy enough. They’re calling it the ‘Insufficient Craziness Theory’ and I think they’re right. Even Dan Popkey over at the Ideeho Statesman thinks so.”

Sitting at my computer, I browsed over to Dan Popkey’s online blog. “Elmer, Dan doesn’t necessarily say he agrees with it, he was just reporting it.”

He snapped back at me. “You know as well as I do if you report it then you believe it. That’s what all you juurneelist do.”

I disagreed, but rather than try to explain to him how journalism works, I paused and waited for him to fill the empty space on the phone. I didn’t have to wait long.

“So what do you think?” he asked.

“I’m not supposed to think,” I replied matter-of-factly. “I’m supposed to present the facts as fairly as I can. That’s what a journalist does.”

Now it was his turn to pause. I could feel his next comments welling up inside him about to explode like Mt. Saint Helens through the phone. Eventually, after 30 seconds, it blew.

“I’m going to bring my front loader down to your office,” he said. “Because you must be clean full to the ceiling with B.S. and you might need a good cleanout.”

I told him that wasn’t necessary but that I generally agreed with him on the Insufficient Craziness Theory.

“It seems to me that all the logical, reasonable options have been tried,” I told Elmer. “The only thing left is for the extreme right to go full crazy. You might keep that front loader warmed up once the next set of debt ceiling deadlines comes up in February.”

“You know I will,” he said.

Ask Mr. Newspaperman: The Water Tower

Kuna Melba News, October 23, 2013

Elmer burst through the front door of the office.

“Have you seen the water tower?” he asked incredulously.

“I’ve been writing about it for months,” I replied. “Of course we’ve seen it.”

He pulled off his gimmie cap, brushed his hair to the side off his forehead and stared at me with concern. Slowly, he repeated himself, “Have you seen the water tower?”

Not knowing what he was getting at I simply asked, “What about it?”

“It has a ‘K’ on it,” he said with the ‘K’ sounding like he was coughing up something deep within his lungs.

I told him we knew that, it had been painted last week as part of the project started by Casey Cobb over at the high school.

“Well who do they think that ‘K’ is for?” he said as he put his hat down on the counter forcefully. “It can’t be so the high school kids can see it. They’d need binoculars from the top row of the stadium bleachers. I almost got in a wreck as I drove in down Meridian Road trying to make out the K on the freshly painted white tower. I thought it was a fly that had gotten in the cab of my truck stuck on the window.”

“What you getting at Elmer?” I said trying to stop him from going on one of his epic rants.

“Well, who’s that ‘K’ for?” he repeated. “When I make the turn on to Linder coming in to downtown I only see half of it. The only place I get a good look at it is when I spray the mud off my truck at the car wash.”

I explain to him that the ‘K’ was painted in that spot as a compromise to point somewhat towards the high school, but still be able to be seen a bit from main roads.

“Well you can’t see it from nowhere,” he argued. “Maybe we ought to put a giant lazy Susan up there and let it rotate around.”

I told him that would cost too much.

“Well don’t be surprised if it moves in the middle of the night. I might just get up there and repaint it myself,” he said.

I told him I didn’t know how he’d do that. Elmer is a bit long in the tooth and I said I didn’t think he could make the climb.

“Well, someone screwed up,” he said in exasperation.

“You can’t please everyone,” I told him suggesting that he needed to file a complaint with the city if he felt that strongly about it.

“Well, just like in Warshington, when you try to compromise it all goes to heck,” he said as he walked out the door.