Friday, October 30, 2009
Trick or Treat
There were many sides to Porter Wagoner, but in public he liked to show his manic side.
The Poetry Is For Assholes world headquarters and trailer is not all that large. My bedroom door looks into a short hallway/laundry room where the back door is located. So the other night I'm dozing with the bedside light on. All is quiet except for the occasional muffled noise from one of the horses. About 11:00 PM I noticed that the horses seemed to be making some extra noises. I was about to turn out the light and go to sleep in earnest when I realized that one of the horses seemed to be walking up my back steps.
I barely got out the words, "What's going on? Who's there?" when someone tried to open the door and then shouted,
"Sonoma County Sheriff! Come out with your hands up!"
Now the county sheriffs have quite a history of killing unarmed people. Usually it goes like this: Crazy person's family calls 911, tells the operator their loved one is acting crazy please send help. By help they usually mean an ambulance and some sort of crazy people intervention specialist. What they get instead is a couple of county sheriffs with their guns drawn. The sheriffs tell the crazy person to stop acting crazy. The crazy person replies, "Booga booga booga!" The sheriffs shoot the crazy person twice in the chest and once in the head. End of psychiatric intervention. After an investigation the sheriff's department announces that the crazy person had a history of mental illness. The local paper repeats that statement as if to say, "He/she had a history of saying 'Booga booga booga!' to policemen. What else could the deputies have done?"
All of this flashed though my mind as I leapt from my bed, threw open the door and stuck my hands, then my head, then the whole of my person out the back door.
There I stood in the flashlights glare. A heavily tattooed fat man wearing nothing but a pair of boxer shorts decorated with hula dancers. I was looking at two deputies, one male and one female, both with their weapons drawn. Being a proud American, I know my rights and I know they ain't shit when the guns leave the holsters. I timidly inquired, "What's going on deputies? How can I help you?"
"Gwen in the main house called 911 and said she heard someone back here. She says there's not supposed to be anyone in this trailer."
"Gwen?" Says I, "There's no Gwen living here."
"What are you doing here?" asked the male sheriff. "How long have you been here?"
"I've lived here five years. Are you sure you're at the right address?"
It came out that they were busting down doors and doing major police work at the wrong address. Nonetheless, crime must not be tolerated. The male cop told me to stand bare foot in some gravel while he went though my house. Once again I considered my rights as an American and weighed them against the abject terror and loathing I experience around authority figure with guns. I insisted on my constitutional right to footwear and went back in the house to put on shoes. I stood on the gravel while the male cop walked into my house and shone his flashlight around on my dirty dishes and unfolded laundry. Hey, the laundry is clean. I just haven't folded it.
Meanwhile the female cop and I stood and eyeballed one another at close range. She had the decency to look slightly embarrassed. When the male cop came out he was still flicking his flashlight around in crime stoppers mode but all guns were holstered.
Now, you'd think at this point an apology would be in order. Maybe some thanks for my cooperation? What I got was a warning. "You need to keep that back door locked. You don't know who might try and come in while you're asleep." I pointed out that in five years he was the only person who had ever tried to come in while I was asleep. "Yeah well just be careful from now on."
The deputies wandered off into the darkness waving their flashlights around and mumbling. "That gal that called us here is a real wingnut. I suppose we have to go over there and figure out what's bothering her too."
That was the second time a cop pointed a gun at me without provocation and then warned me to be more careful. I suppose he could have shot me a couple of times, just to, you know, back up the warning. If I were Black they might have done just that.
I didn't go to work today. I'm too sick. My doctor finally agreed to sign all of the necessary papers to prove that I am under his care with a mildlly debilitating medical problem. This will protect me from being fired for at least the next year. I tell you, even with a reduced pension I'm giving some serious thought to retirement. I'm sick all the time. I can't take care of myself and I hate my job. Maybe I'm just tired.
When he wasn't wired to the teeth Porter Wagoner was often depressed and ill. Here's a strangely sincere tribute to one of his favorite loony bins.
Committed to Parkview- Porter Wagoner (Buy)
Posted by Your driver at 10:21 PM