June 1, 2023

National Rival Association, Turning a Deaf Ear and Putting Out Fires


Doodlebug Island fire chief Claude Finnegan has at last solved one of his more perplexing and reoccurring problems, and it has lightened his load appreciatively. He has begun calling the Caldwell household each evening to learn whether the wife, Laurie, or the husband, Dave, is cooking dinner. If he learns that it’s Dave, Claude feels free to close the fire station and go home to his own dinner. But, if he hears that Laurie is cooking, he or one of his staff remains on duty for the emergency call he knows is inevitably going to be made.

Now, it’s not that Laurie is a bad cook. It’s just that she’ll get to thinking about global warming or how the religious far right could be so religiously far wrong or how many new Muslim extremists could be newly created by our continued involvement in their tribal wars, or, in matters closer to home, how her patients are doing with the medications she’s prescribed for them; or the welfare of her two daughters still at home, and her son and his wife struggling to make their way while caring for a new baby.

Then her mind might drift to the Affordable Care Act to be soon implemented and how those mandatory changes in health-care delivery will impact her practice, and this might be followed by a concern for rising food and fuel prices. Small  wonder then that in the face of these concerns she gets distracted from food preparation, distraction leads to things left to burn or erupt in flame, and finally, notification to Chief Finnegan by Laurie’s daughters or the home security people that he or someone from his staff should get to the scene, extinguisher in hand!

Considering the number of times the kitchen has seen such action, it has borne up rather well. That is, if you don’t mind smoked walls, water and scorch stained cabinets,  appliances considerably the worse for wear, and furniture almost past usefulness. Dave and the girls pretend not to notice, but not because of a slovenly disregard. They know that a fix-up or renovation would simply lead to the same end, and therefore a waste of time and money. A better solution, they’ve found, is to help Laurie find preoccupation that keeps her from the kitchen in the first place, and/or notifying Chief Finnegan in the event such preoccupation fails in its desired effect.

In other Island news, honorary police chief Mike Kinsman is trying to inveigle his way back into his wife’s good graces, but so far with notable lack of success. To his pleas of understanding, she has turned a deaf ear which, in her case, is doubly serious beginning with the fact she wears a hearing aide and ending with the news she turns the device off in his presence.

Mike explains to anyone willing to listen he is the innocent victim in the fiasco. “I’d given everyone, including my wife, plenty of notice that we were going to begin ticketing anyone who continued to ignore the stop sign that’s been in place for years at Town Square. There’s just no excuse for the number of accidents we’ve had. But, does anyone listen? No. Did my wife listen? Nooo. I said I would issue a ticket to the first offender the morning of January first, and wouldn’t you know, she blew through first thing! Now, I can’t enforce the law evenhandedly and give her a ‘by’.”

Islanders, besides enjoying the situation, are rather evenly divided in their support of one or the other member of the Kinsman household. But the affair has had two beneficial effects. Drivers are actually observing the sign, and there hasn’t been an accident since Mike issued that first and only ticket. He is disconsolately grateful.

Finally, Island wags have coined an Arizona legislature version of the Twenty-third Psalm: My gun is my shepherd, I shall not want**It maketh me secure in a danger-strewn society**It leadeth me to walk tall among my associates**It restoreth my fear-based soul**It leadeth me in the paths of paranoid schizophrenia for its namesake**Yea, though I walk across college campuses and mingle with other armed hunters and collectors, I will fear no evil**for my Glock is with me**its muzzle velocity and lethality comfort me**It turneth away well-intentioned people and maketh everyone mine enemy**it annointest my head with incivility**it confirms my doubts**surely delusion and misanthropy shall follow me all the days of my life**and I will do the bidding of the NRA forever!

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