Most mornings after I wake up, pee and feed the boys, I start my day by jumping online and checking to see if any of my stories made it to the paper's Web site, and then I check the competition to see if whoever was there from them wrote the story better than I did. So, I'm perusing the competition today and I see the headline "Controversial sign in Hobart to be removed." And immediately I froze, because I just knew that somehow, someway, one of the one guy's idiot friends was involved. Sure enough, I wasn't wrong.
I won't link to the story because, well, it's the competition, and we didn't have anything on it in today's edition. But since I'm covering the folo on it Saturday, here's the scam: The friend in question -- and I do consider him a friend, even though he is the one guy's
best friend, which somewhat limits my claim to him -- is a rather talented artist who specializes in recreating antique-looking signs; he and the one guy had a business in New Buffy, Mich. a couple years back, in fact. And when they closed the business, Friend brought back a bunch of the signs he created and hung them on the front of the crib he rents. One of the signs, put up on his front porch's roof, reads "Texas School Book Depository" in big red letters.
Now, Hobart, for those not in-the-know, is a small city southeast Gary known for producing steelworkers and a once-phenomenal high school football team. It's the kind of place that, if you don't look like you belong, people make it known that ya ain't supposed to be there. I mean, you can have purple and green hair and wear your jeans down to your ass cheeks and be one of them, but they know
when you're not of them. Like, I'm born and bred in these here parts, and I still get the hairy eyeball from people who don't know me when I go there to drink or visit family. They must be able to tell each other by smell or something, and I must not smell like I'm from there, because they just know
. They hide their predjudice and narrow-mindedness behind middle-class ideology, and they're really patriotic: The All-American town. Think of the movie "All the Right Moves," except cleaner and with slightly bigger, more opulent houses in some parts, and you're just about there.
Knowing Friend like I do, I can guarantee you he never gave any thought to why he created the sign or why he hung it up where he did; if he gave it any thought, the sign was something interesting to recreate, and the roof was the only place on the front of the crib that it would fit. Unfortunately for Friend, however, he lives on a main thoroughfare through town, and people took offense to it. Yes, yes they did. They took offense to a sign that depicted the place where Lee Harvey Oswald turned President Kennedy into brain pudding some 40 years ago. And not only did they take offense to it, they complained to their councilman, who wrote Friend and asked him to take it down.
So, you'd think that he would be sufficiently outraged and would climb up to the rooftop screaming "FREE SPEECH! FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION! I'm SO getting the NEA up y'all's asses!" But he's not. Instead, he's going to take the thing down and hold an auction for it on Saturday, sort of like the dreaded Bartman Ball. I hope there's burning involved.Oh, whatEVER.