When thinking about the long arms…

12/30/10

When thinking about the long arms of those involved in Charley’s murder and the amount of lies necessary to keep this cover-up afloat for 44 years, I am remanded that caution may the better steward of truth till all are squarely on board and ready to move this thing forward. Numb with anticipation on how this will eventually play out, my heart has raced at a staggering rate since the epiphany of two days past. In an effort to distract, I rummage through real estate in far away places-dismantle Christmas stockings and holiday cheer. I ponder the patterns in the clouds, chart the weather and dabble at opening paragraphs while plotting my outline. Still nothing breaks the adrenaline… the rushing of blood coursing through my brain feels like a thoroughbred, heady with fright and daft with wind in its ears as the enormity of what is about to ensue nips at its hocks, spurring it on..

Numbers collide in my field of vision. I carefully try to reap the benefits of their wisdom and absorb their message of calm. But nothing dissuades the angst I am drowning in, till my phone rings and for a moment I am held captive by an educating anecdote…. a chanced warning from a cherished colleague. Even in humor… there is benign wisdom.

I paraphrase…

“…A man went out for a drive in the country. As he passed in front of an insane asylum, one of his tires went flat. With uneven keel, he pulled the limping vehicle to the side of the road and set about to fix it. First he removed the deflated tire, careful to place all the lug nuts safely inside the hubcap at the edge of the road. Next, he went to the trunk- removed the spare and came back to the front by way of the shoulder. As he neared the front of the car, his foot faltered on the edge of the asphalt. Suddenly he pitched backward, stepping on the inverted pan and watched as the ruptured hubcap spat its contents into the air, with all landing in the grassy landscape beside him. After a frantic search and unable to find them, he sat- scratching his head-perplexed as to how he would be able to manage the repair.

A small snicker carried across the lawn and garnered his attention. Dressed in pajamas, a man who had been silently watching his endeavors from behind the bars of an upper room hollered, asking if he could be of some assistance. Humored by the irony, the man with the ailing tire responded; asking just how the hell he could attempt such a feat from inside his cage?

“Simple”, said the man from behind the bars. “Just remove one lug nut from each of the other remaining three tires on your car and that should be enough to hold you until you can get yourself to a gas station where you can buy some new ones to replace the ones you’ve lost!”

“Remarkable!” said the driver and slapped at his knee. “I should have been able to think of that myself!” The man in the pajamas nodded in agreement, much to the chagrin of the man in the street.

“How on earth did you ever think of that… all things considered of course?” chortles the driver, making public mockery of the man’s obvious assumed deficiency and current residency.

Not appreciating the driver’s condescending attitude, the man behind the bars puffed up his nightshirt collar, looked down at him… smiled an impish smile and replied…

“I might be crazy… but at least, I’m not stupid!”

Here in lies my lesson for the day:

They did what they did 44 years ago.
They might have been crazy at the time… but they weren’t necessarily stupid, so perhaps it would be wise for me to be very careful.

Lesson for them…
It is 44 years later and I am neither crazy, nor stupid… so perhaps it is they who should be very careful!

(Thanks for the joke and the reminder, L.)

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