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Thursday, July 15, 2004

Smokey Briggs

Sage Views

By Smokey Briggs

Fate has a
sense of humor

I am becoming convinced that Fate has a fine sense of humor - or at least balance.

Not being the brightest of fellows I regularly become convinced that I am one fantastic guy who has life in a headlock.

It does not take much. A couple of good meals in a row and a paycheck are about all the convincing I really need.

Throw in some cool accomplishment like hitting the bull’s-eye with my favorite rifle five times out of ten and I am on top of the world sticking my tongue out at Fate.

Like Charlie Brown getting Lucy to hold the ball for him every Spring, I never learn.

Sticking your tongue out at fate is not the mark of a brilliant man.

Fate has eyes.

Fate is mean.

Fate will jerk that ball up with the same evil smile of Ms. Lucy.

Every time.

When fate ordained that my first two children be daughters she did it with that same thin smile on her face.

When mom announced that she was in a motherly way I did a regular war dance as I gloated and reveled in accomplishing my mission in life as a man.

She-who-must-be-obeyed (at the time she was only She-who-must-be-obeyed-sometimes) was not impressed and pointed out that fertilizing an egg was not that great of an accomplishment.

Whatever. I felt pretty cocky that day. Malt beverages were opened regularly as my closest buddies dropped by to congratulate me on my success. Almost as many of my friends dropped by as the time I shot a 300-pound pig.

Again, SWMBO was not impressed.

Apparently, Fate was not all that impressed either.

Do not get me wrong. I love my daughters. I would not trade for them.

They are my world. There are some young men in pre-school and grammar school right now who will one day rue the day they decided Ruby or Carson was “The One.”

Because I know, that little Mr. Useless, is not The One, or even The Two and when he makes my girls cry I am going to bury him in the desert.

But, giving me daughters had to make Fate smile.

Now, I am a self-acclaimed chauvinist in that I believe whole-heartedly that men and women are different and should enjoy those differences rather than pretending to be exactly alike. We do not look alike and we do not think alike.

At the same time, I cannot imagine allowing a young woman to leave your home without the basic skills of survival in this world - from reading to changing tires to handling firearms.

Ruby or Carson may grow up and decide they want to be president one day but I want them to make that decision knowing that being a mom is just as cool, and probably more important in the grand scheme of things.

And, as president or mom, they will be able to hit their mark with rifle or pistol, know when a mechanic is pulling a fast one, and will not be a woman that has to have a man or any other person in their life to feel complete.

So, it is not surprising that my best fishing and hunting partners are three and six and girls.

Actually, they make great hunting partners. Ruby has been hunting with me since she was three and Carson went this year for the first time.

I am even beginning to accept that there are certain fashion felonies that cannot be committed even when hunting - such as the long-lived rule that if a girl is wearing a forest green camouflage shirt then a desert tan camouflage hat just will not do.

Well, in the past weeks we have been making ready my little quarter-ton jeep trailer for our annual pilgrimage to the beach for a week of fishing and fun.

This year I really went all out. I have been working on the design all year and took my pad of notes and my trailer to my barber / welder (Lee Ryan) for completion.

When he was finished it was a manly work of art. (Lee welds better than he cuts hair).

No man worth his salt could see this trailer without uttering a visceral grunt. Racks for jerry cans and water cans and tools and stuff are everywhere. It is cool.

Now the Army painted it green and it was green when I bought it. I could not find a shade of green paint that I liked but I did find some tan. I was feeling pretty cheap at that point and did not buy enough to paint the whole trailer.

Instead I just painted the spots that were now bare metal and then connected the dots with artful strokes to create a cool desert camouflage pattern.

Hooked behind the little Land Rover I like that came from Australia already painted camouflage, it looks good with a capital G.

I must admit that as I drove her home I was feeling pretty studly and I may have stuck my tongue out at Fate.

The girls were excited too.

They were with me step by step as the project came together right up through painting.

Where Fate got to laugh though, is after I thought the painting was over.

My artistic-minded girls, encouraged I am sure by SWMBO, decided to add a little decoration.

So, armed with stencils and bottles of pretty paint, my tough, manly trailer got the equivalent of painted toenails.

Now it looks like the Fab Five got drafted into Rommel’s Afrika Corps. Orange and purple fishes swim happily on the sides next to pretty designs and seashell imprints.

The girls are quite pleased.

As a Dad, I can only say that having girls who fish with you beats the heck out of the alternative, even if your tough rig looks manicured and a little fruity.

Fate, whom I suspect has a direct line to SWMBO, laughed hard, I am sure.

Me, I just want to paint one last thing on my trailer.

Down low, on the bumper, in big black letters I am going to paint, “I’m not gay, I have daughters.”

Our View
Hanging is a good punishment for graffiti

We note this week that some of our local twits have managed to stop sniffing paint long enough to apply some unwanted marks to the walls and windows of the El Prado Motel on the east side of town on 3rd Street.

In the past year the new owners have transformed the site from an eyesore to a well-kept business that is a credit to Pecos.

It is hard to imagine the kind of useless coward it takes to do something like painting graffiti on another person’s hard work.

At least real criminals have motives - they want something you have and are just too lazy to get a job and earn a buck.

As the problem continues to occur in Pecos it is obvious that the statutory punishments for graffiti are not sufficient to deter these morons.

So, we suggest stiffer penalties.

Public hanging sounds like a good start.

Or maybe stoning, or at least flogging with a cat-o-nine-tails.

Too harsh?

Not if you have invested your sweat and blood and money into your property only to have a petty criminal too cowardly to commit a real crime drop by in the night and paint the symbols of a wannabe gang all over it.

Speaking of which, another fun punishment would be to load up the criminal’s gang buddies and ship them to town with a real gang. Each could be issued a T-shirt with a slogan like, “Crips are girls” on it and dropped off on Troost Street in Kansas City, Missouri.

The survivors would be allowed to come home so that they could tell their buddies what real gangs look and act like.

In the least, we need a law that would exempt anyone from prosecution for assault or murder so long as those being assaulted or murdered were in the act of painting on property that was not theirs.

Your View
Reader despises officials who
treat citizens like subjects

To the Editor:

Here are a few of the outrages covered in local papers:

The rodeo stands decay on the county’s watch because there’s no money to maintain them. But, we have $578 per month (each) for five copy machines on a three-year contract ($104,220). This would buy, retail, 180 new copiers at Office Depot and we could dispose of them monthly. Xerox’s snazzy maintenance agreement is a plus, given the county’s historic diligence to upkeep. Maybe the new machines also cook, clean, and patrol the prison. If so, I apologize for being critical.

According to Chamber Executive Director, Linda Gholson, “things are really looking up for Pecos.” Local administrators are fleeing like rats from a sinking ship. So, I agree. Unfortunately, more will be hired.

The athletic (…ooops,school) board can’t afford teacher’s supplies or teacher pay. But, we’ve got $400,000 for a gym and $500,000 for plastic grass. The county’s dedication to maintenance is only exceeded by the school board’s devotion to education. When a promised intermission “mutton bustin” in front of their cowboy heroes was cancelled, the kids were treated to a complimentary cussing by a rodeo staffer. Maybe next year we can get a smelly wino to stagger through the stands and slap the mommies. Speaking of slapping Mommy….

An elected county attorney, arrested for family violence resulting in an injury, avoids booking into the jail? All others so accused, but presume innocent, would be enrolled for a few credit hours at the School of Involuntary Sodomy. Are there not mandatory incarceration periods for domestic violence arrestees; designed to prevent hot heads from going home and “finishing” the job?

But it was Mayor Stafford’s mishandling of a citizen who took the time to go to a council meeting that underscored the contempt that local rulers have for their subjects.

Our mayor took a few moments from photos and proclamation-signing to publicly blow off a citizen. The city council glee club added the refrain, “Here’s a quarter, call someone who cares.” Mr. Blount was treated like a serf instead of a citizen.

The mayor chirped, “as far as I know” the grocery stores are “just fine.” Archival research at the Pecos Enterprise will belie the mayor’s statement. Problems with sanitation, improper cooler temperatures, and food freshness become a public concern every few years. Perhaps the guy who checks the city’s water tanks inspects the grocery stores?

When stony silence doesn’t work, local officials rely on blaming or disorienting the person seeking a remedy. I advise citizens to bypass local Philistines by using measures the Philistines truly fear….”outsiders” poking into local affairs.

If you’re having problems with trash pick-up, call Duncan Disposal directly (1-800-654-9521). Don’t take out your frustration on the Duncan people. They’re in Midland and have no control over our City Hall.

For health-related concerns at local grocery stores (spoilage, dirty coolers, out-of-date meat, etc.), the Texas Department of Health (1-800-248-4083) or the Texas Department of Agriculture (1-800-835-5832) will help. Complaints sometimes trigger surprise state visits to be sure local inspectors are doing their jobs properly.

I despise officials who treat citizens like subjects. I deplore that elected officials, or their families, receive better legal treatment than “commoners.” I have utter contempt for officials who spend like Louis XIV…money they compelled from the citizens they treat like a hand full of toilet paper.

Local despots should be on their knees in thanks that they rule in America. In many countries, they’d be swinging from lampposts. Historically, abusers of the citizens are not well treated when their victims rebel. I know G-d will deal justly with them.

Here’s an extra-special mention for the bully(ies) who ruined some little cowboy’s rodoe. Such scum should be eternally grateful I have no children. They’re blessed that it wasn’t my father-in-law’s kid they devastated.

He’d make a wind-chime out of the bully’s genitals.

Sincerely and with disgust, Dr. John Libbie, retired podiatrist

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