A Tough Job But Somebody’s Gotta Do It
I am hesitant to share some incidents out of concern for surviving family and friends who might find them distressing. But Truth wants to be free. I’m sure Ralph would agree, if he were still with us.
The truth is that we felt a responsibility to set the world aright. We knew it was a tough job, but somebody had to do it. And some days that somebody was us.
Once, by way of example, we went out in Ralph’s car, just him and me, bought a bottle of high-proof disinfectant-grade Wild Turkey, and finished it off between us, doing dumb stuff like hanging out the car door while weaving on back-country roads. This was before noon.
Ralph was going on about his part-time job at the auto air conditioner plant near Richmond, Indiana — which is not that far from Detroit — where they killed the tedium by attaching the input hose to the output and vice versa. The story painted a vivid picture of American Ingenuity. I couldn’t imagine doing such a thing myself. I could imagine that assembling car air conditioners might, given time, bring “I’m not that kind of person” within dangerous proximity to “Who’s stopping me?”
Back at the 3-story Victorian that we still-attending-college students were renting, I was on full alert, ready to answer the call of duty. Then I saw it. The 2-seater outhouse-slash-shed out back had to go. “Why?” was not the question.
The “how” was to teach Ralph my latest Taekwondo kick. “It’s simple,” I said. “You sprint straight at the side of the shed, jump into the air and ram both feet into the shed wall, then land on your back.” The outhouse was a substantial feat of pioneer engineering. But up against two snockered Hoosiers-on-a-Mission it was hardly a fair contest.
We had ripped a respectable hole in one side when I spotted the police car creeping up the back alley. I couldn’t decide whether to run or make like we were gardening. “A hole? Yes, officer we were digging holes ….” The car stopped. The cops got out and took stock of the situation. With stone cold confidence Ralph walked right up to them and said “Officer, we don’t mean no harm. It’s not like we’re downtown beating up old ladies.” Ralph always knew what to say to people. He had worked as an intern at the mental hospital on the outskirts of Richmond.
The police told Ralph they had received a complaint from a neighbor. The only neighbor who could have appreciated our work was the couple with the rabbit hutch next door, worried that we would attack their house or, worse, their food source, next.
Given the impeccable logic of Ralph’s statement and the fact that the wanton destruction had occurred on our own (rented) property, the police couldn’t be bothered to arrest us for anything, so they drove off with the parting words: “And your landlord says to get rid of the gold-painted baby doll with the sunglasses in the front porch window.”
Which is a another story, involving The Good Duck (sunglasses), which bestowed upon the wearer immunity to the Harmful Rey, although, truthfully, Colonel Chicken was more central to the action. Another story of a tough job that somebody had to get done.