Archive for the ‘This May Scare You’ Category

To those dedicated Small Ball Report readers, we are sorry we’ve been away for a couple of weeks, blame it on the very distracting allure of College Football and its evil twin Pro Football, and its equally evil 3rd twin (eh triplet) that was eaten in the womb by the other evil twin Fantasy Football.

We should ban all football, but let’s wait until February.  It’s not just us, if you hadn’t noticed our nation’s GDP teeters a little in the 4th quarter of every year, and it is directly attributable to football season.

While we were out we created a first volume of Spooky Thoughts for the the Small Ball Report’s favorite month, October! 

Why do all the Hot Chicks have to fall for the Bad Boys?

Why do all the Hot Chicks have to fall for the Bad Boys?

1. In the remake of Bridges of Madison County, writers plan to insert Trolls under the bridges this time to make the movie watchable.

2. In an effort to sooth racial tensions. The head Ghoul sat down with the leader of the Goblins. The Goblin community didn’t appreciate the Ghoul suggesting that all Goblins look alike.

3. Five little Headless Horsemen were jumping on the bed. One fell off. But because he didn’t have a head to bump his mommy would never call the doctor.

4. In yet another signal that she wants to be a Bad Girl, my daughters American Girl Doll has been seen about town dating Chucky.

5. The latest Rasmussen Poll confirms that Americans are no longer in favor of Anything, and children no longer fear Ogres. Damn You Shrek!

6. A Soccer Mom picked her way through her kid’s yet again messy room…Just then…Noticing It she screamed, dropping her Pledge can, as she saw scribbled on the mirror in her son’s handwriting: “Aren’t you glad you didn’t turn on the Light?”

7. Breaking news! Jack-O-Lantern steps out on wife Jill. Jill-O-Lantern takes 3 of her 8 Baby Gords to Dude Ranch to film 108th consecutive boring-ass episode, a new TV record.

8. I’m OK with wearing an outfit that is well used, but I can’t decide if I should go to the Halloween Party dressed up as a Pirate or Michelle Duggar’s Uterus.

9. I’m really fed up with my drinking buddy the Headless Horsemen. Whenever we go on a bender together, he’s always so cocky about how he never gets a hangover.

10. Weather Report: Frigid record low temperatures across Midwest cause massive panic of a prolific spawn of Abominable Snowmen. Al Gore changes mind on global warning, to return Nobel Prize.

11. In a surprise turn, Birthers Movement nut jobs have conceded on Obama’s birth certificate, but are now attacking Shrek’s claim that he was born in Far Far Away Land.

Casper may now marry his boyfriend in about 10 US States.   California is not one of them.

Casper may now marry his boyfriend in about 10 US States. California is not one of them.

12. Knowing that the Nina and Pinta were haunted, Christopher Columbus would often yell “I’ve got Shotgun” as he walked past the Santa Maria’s boat slip.

13. I wasn’t surprised yesterday when Casper The Friendly Ghost became the latest to call for an end to Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. I always thought he was that kind of Friendly.

14. When I read the email from my boss I dropped my wireless mouse. All it said was “I Know What You Did Last Summer”. Had he discovered my middle of the work day blog entries?

15. I was given permission for October only to add someone Spooky to my List. Sadly Elvira Mistress of the Dark is not what she used to be.

16. Spooky Thoughts goes to Washington. I’ve decided to wear an outfit for next weeks Marine Corp Marathon. I’m going to dress up as a nearly forty, fat, out-of-shape white guy who should have trained more.

17. You know they shouldn’t do sequels when you hear that in the next Field of Dreams Shoeless Joe Jackson’s all stars are going to scrimmage with the Children of the Corn.

18. Whenever the young Witch would eat her bowl of Witches Brew, it was quite common for her to save a few of the delicious eye balls for last.

19. The planned Spooky Celebrity Wife Swap between the Munsters and the Addams Family has been cancelled in the wake of publicity hound Herman Munster faking son Eddie’s getaway balloon incident.

20. Sadly the babysitter would never be warned that “The Call is Coming From Inside the House” because her little brother had sold the family’s antique rollover minutes at the yard sale.

21. Sarah Palin continues to take fire on whether Going Rogue was written by a ghost writer. I don’t believe that because it would be very hard for a ghost to type with a sheet over his or her head.

Courtney_Gains

If Malachi can throw strikes like he did in Children of the Corn, Shoeless Joe might have a tough time at the plate.

22.   Seemingly late weighing in, my HOA was the latest to condemn the Salem Witch Trials. They say burning Witches at the Stake is actually a violation of the new No Burn rule and a $50 fine.

23.   In a blatant attempt to appeal to male readers, the next Twilight book will be called Blue Moon. It features a family of Umpires named the Cullens. …Tormented by a Hops Culture, they only drink Wheat Beer.

24.  Organizers of the Spooky Miss California USA pageant are taking fire for reportedly paying for the Wicked Witch of the West’s nose wart augmentation surgery 

25.   I finished today’s DC Marine Corp Marathon just in time. Arlington National workers had chisels out getting ready to etch my name on the Tomb of the Unfinished Marathoner.  

26.   I rubbed my head as I awoke from my Flash Forward. It was November. Iowa was 12-0. All they needed was Texas to lose the Big 12 Championship game to… …Iowa State. NOOOOO!!!!  

27.   Schools close, workers call in sick, vaccines run low, and now the latest from the Swine Flu pandemic – the Big Bad Wolf reportedly told Morley Safer of 60 Minutes that he is now a Vegetarian.

28.   When the beleaguered sports franchise’s marketing department decided to fill empty seats by giving away tickets to Ghosts, the players complained about being booed even when they scored.   

29.   I know that a female Black Widow will eat the male after mating. What I’m not sure about is what happens when two lesbian Black Widows frolic about in the Web.

30: Proving we learned nothing from 9-11, the Wicked Witch of the Northwest falls asleep on her broom over Minneapolis and not one fighter jet is scrambled.

31.   A guy goes into the woods in search of an infamous local Witch.  He is never seen again.  Search teams comb the area, but find only a notepad with 30 Spooky Thoughts.  On the 31st page Someone, Something in a barely legible scribble, writes:    BOOOOO!   

 

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This is the fourth installment in a seven part series entitled My Hometown, the chronicles of the Mississippi River town of Muscatine, Iowa.

To read the earlier episodes, click the following links:

Part I – The Man and His Clam

Part II – They Found What in a Ketchup Bottle?

Part III – Check Out Those Melons 

BACKROP

Harry Huttig was a turn of the 20thcentury lumber man in the town of Muscatine.   While other residents were diving for river clams, filling bottles with Heinz Ketchup or making watermelon pyramid stacks on the back of horse drawn carts, Harry was building the town’s infrastructure.  A respected gentleman, Harry had what many thought was obnoxious dumb luck.   His first turn as lucky dog was when he had the good fortune of shagging the beautiful – insert prolifically wealthy here – Kathryn Musser, she of the Muscatine Mussers.  They would marry in 1891. 

But Harry had financial game of his own.  His lumber yard mysteriously burnt to the ground twice, once in 1886, and again in 1900, each time with over $100,000 in damages.  Harry might have been heard to say to an associate during the infernos: “Awe shucks, there hasn’t been a fire that big since Sherman torched Atlanta.  Better dial up the operator and get my State Farm Good Hands Neighbor on the phone.”   

Harry would use the insurance money and the monetary settlement from the railroad company culprits that were blamed for the fires to parlay a new business venture. He formed a partnership with other local high rollers in the construction of the first toll bridge, a half mile long high bridge spanning to the Illinois side of the Mississippi.   This would mark the first time that sleepy, boring, farming communities on the Illinois side of the river would be linked with sleepy, boring, farming communities on the Iowa side of the river.  

The Harry & Kate Huttig Mausoleum - Not Your Average Tombstone

The Harry & Kate Huttig Mausoleum - Not Your Average Tombstone

Harry accumulated so much wealth through his land holdings, construction business, and toll bridge collections that he was the envy of many in Southeast Iowa, but his most noted real estate parcel today is deep within the Greenwood Cemetery.   Sitting like a fortress overlooking the Mississippi and the town’s southern edge, and nestled tightly in the tree lined bluff you will find the near regal burial setting of Harry and Kathryn Musser Huttig.  The Huttigs lay entombed within a mausoleum of white granite and blue plated glass.

When Huttig died in 1935 he would have never anticipated how his life’s accomplishments would soon be forgotten, but his influence in death would carry on in local folklore.   

…And that is because of the Legend of the Blue Angel.  

Observers to the Huttig mausoleum can stand on the third step and peer inside and see two encased coffins.   But what is more remarkable is the figure kneeling atop the vaults standing guard with head looking humbly downward.  It is a figure known simply as the Blue Angel. 

Not actually blue, the Blue Angel gets her color from the reflection of sunlight on blue glass.   Sunlight, and of course moonlight… which is the lighting choice for curfew defying  school kids who peep in on her at night, often on a dare.   It is not a coincidence that the Blue Angel has many more guests during the Halloween tomfoolery season.   It is her legend that draws people to the stoop of the Huttig mausoleum.      

Since Huttig’s death in 1935 the Blue Angel has knelt on her left knee.  She meticulously balances her left hand tucked against right knee.   This gives her the strenth to hold in her right hand a flower facing down towards the Huttigs.

While there are many variations to the story, all of them conjuring chilly, goose bump outbreaks, the one common tale is to be careful when you peak into look at the Blue Angel because should she happen to drop the flower in her right hand at the moment you are looking than misfortune, bad luck, and even death will be your fate.   Most onlookers are careful only to stare in on her for a few seconds, perhaps not believing the tale, but also not taking an unnecessary chance.   

A well known example of the curse occured in the mid 1970s.  It is believed that a group of local high school football players, or Muskies as they are called, took a gander the night before their season’s opening two-a-day practices.   To their shock, a couple of the players noticed the Blue Angel dropping her flower at that precise moment.  Terrified they reported to practice the next day fearing the worst.   But, instead of a calamitous spate of injuries and near death collisions on the grid iron, the Blue Angel instead doomed the Muskies to a losing streak of five full years, the longest record for futility in the nation at the time.

And so the curse of the Blue Angel lived on…of course, this was true right up until a few years ago when someone in the dark of night broke into the mausoleum and severed her right hand with a perfect cut right above the wrist.   Their motive unknown, perhaps they were hoping to save future onlookers from her curse.    And the story of this break-in has never been told before… until now.  

My Hometown Part IV – Donnie Clamwood aka “Clammers” – A Miller’s Hill Wipeout

In the summer of 2006, Muscatine was busy playing host and finish line for the record fifth time to RAGBRAI, a week long cycling party that meanders across Iowa from the Missouri River to the Mississippi.   Among the thousands who have rode in RAGBRAI over the years, there have been cycling legends like Lance Armstrong, various no-named/never-in-your-life will they be President politicians wanting to make names for themselves before the Iowa Caucus, guys like Bruce Babbitt and Dick Gephardt.    And usually there are at least a half dozen or more college sophomores wearing just a diaper outfit for seven straight days.   When grilled, usually the diaper wearers will admit they attend Iowa State. 

One person who has never been on RAGBRAI but who feels right at home when it swings through town is local legend Donnie Clamwood.   That’s because Donnie rides his bike every day of the year.   Whether it is his current BMX style ride or his previous garage sale bargain ten speed and banana seat bikes, Donnie always has two wheels and will travel.

An Unconfirmed Sighting of Kenny Crabtree - A Confirmed Sighting of a Pittsburgh Steelers Air Freshener (A S. Whitacre Photo)

A Rare Photo of Donnie Clamwood (Or some other guy on a bike. Who can tell with that Pittsburgh Steelers Air Freshener blocking the Clamwood Head?)

Photographic evidence of Donnie Clamwood – also known as Clammers –  on bike being hard to come by, the Small Ball Report recently put out a bounty and came back with only one Sasquatch caliber photograph from a contributors’ cell phone.   Zapruder he was not, our contributors Pittsburgh Steelers air freshener mystically covers his head just as Clamwood pedals past down the wrong side of the street.  By the way, to Donnie the middle or wrong side of the road is also known as the right side of the road.

Donnie’s status as town legend is part and parcel attributed to his bike, his unknown age, his deep voice, and his uncanny knack of showing up at town events and doing unexpected things.   He is a fixture in the Fourth of July Parade, normally riding by himself at the end just after the guy who always drives his riding mower.  (Look kids, there is is guy on his lawn mower!!!) 

You might also catch him taking a ticket at a carnival ride or stirring lemonade barehanded without a spoon at the County Fair concession stand.   Donnie is hard to miss, and it is safe to say that every town has a Donnie Clamwood.  

With RAGBRAI coming to town in 2006, Donnie had plans to check it all out.

Boys of Summer

Tommy Duggendorf was 14 and full of rebellion in the summer of 2006.  His parents, Tom Sr. and Katy Sue had been slightly distracted by the arrival of their sixth child, Timmy, just a few weeks before.  During the last weeks before Timmy’s arrival, Katy Sue had been confined to bed rest.  

Doctors had said that Timmy was sure to be an active, outgoing kid based on the way he was thrashing about in the womb.  They decided to take extra precaution and get Katy Sue off her 220 pound frame and into bed rest.  Tom Sr. and Katy Sue hadn’t even gazed into Timmy’s eyes or clutched his tiny hands, and they knew he would be a natural in the sport of Mutton Busting one day on the county fair circuit.

Meanwhile during this time older brother Tommy’s schoolwork had tanked.   He became at times distant, confrontational and defiant, and to his parents it seemed, he had begun to run with the wrong crowd.  They had reluctantly let Tommy out of the house to spend the night with his friend Wally Matthews the night before the RAGBRAI finish in Muscatine. 

Tommy and Wally had taken off on bikes to explore the Greenwood Cemetery.  Wally had promised to show Tommy the Blue Angel as he had only been told about it.   He had never seen it.   There was a couple hours of daylight left, so they wanted to get there quickly to check it out.     

As they entered the cemetery through the 100 year old Greenwood Chapel’s arched driveway they could see the tree line deep within the cemetery that formed the upper edge of the river bluff.   It was in one of those back cut out of trees, the farthest to the west, that the Huttig mausoleum sits with her nightly slumber party guests, the bodies of Harry and Kate, and oh yes, the Blue Angel.   The boys parked their bikes nearby and walked up to the white granite mausoleum.  They slowly eclipsed the three steps to the blue plated glass door.  It was there they noticed a Master Lock padlock keeping onlookers from entering. 

They peaked in…   

“See, look at the flower in her hand,” said Wally.  “How in the world is a statue made of rock supposed to drop a flower.   What a ridiculous tale.”    

Tommy spent just a few moments checking her out, relieved to not see her drop the flower.    Tommy thought too himself that the legend probably wasn’t true, but what a sinister looking statue and image that the Blue Angel cut, especially with a little bit of darkness beginning to set in.   He was glad when Wally agreed to move along. 

After spending the next ninety minutes pedaling through the various pathways and playing various “Name Games” with the tombstones of their dead hosts,  they decided to ride their bikes back to the treeline to a section of graves just to the east of the Blue Angel.   They had decided of course, to find the famous Greenwood Cemetery steps, all 208 of them descending through thick wood to Hershey Avenue below.  The steps had been around for years, but were falling into such disrepair that the City closed them to the public. A Green sign with white letters saying “Closed – No Trespassing” stood to the left of the top step.

“Come on, let’s check it out,” Wally said. “But be sure to step over the poison ivy.” 

The boys dropped their wheels in the grass next to the top step and slowly descend down toward Hershey Avenue. Wally was a talkative kid, not really as bad an influence on Tommy as the Duggendorfs might have thought, but he was full of information… and he talked all the time…he could not shut up. 

“Be sure to count your steps, and remember when you get to the 100th step you are supposed to turn around and look back up to the top.  If you see the Blue Angel standing at the top of the steps, you’re screwed, man”  

“That’s ridiculous,” Tommy argued. “There ain’t no Blue Angel curse about the steps.  Is there?”  

“A yeah, sure there is,” Wally countered.  “My Dad told me that the original story of the Blue Angel curse was about the steps not her dropping the flower.”

Tommy didn’t completely buy into the Blue Angel stories, but with the remaining sunlight quickly being snuffed out by tree cover, he did find himself tensing up with the thoughts and images of the lady he had just seen behind the blue plated glass.  

“27” Wally said as he took the lead downward. 

“29, 31” he continued as he was now calling out steps every time his right foot hit a stair tread.

“Hey Duggendorf, you freaked out yet?” Wally paused, and then he chirped, “51, 53, 55, 57,”

Tommy remained silent unsure how it could have been light out just a few minutes ago, and now, just past 8:30 PM it was pitch dark.

“71, 73, 75,” Wally would not relent, that bastard.

Now in what felt like total darkness, Tommy all but reached out to touch Wally in hopes of keeping track of him as they stepped further down the stairs.  And, for the first time he also sensed the temperature change.   It had eclipsed 85 degrees earlier at mid day before cooling off.  Now, it had in fact plummeted. He looked at his exposed arms and noticed goose bumps setting in.   He wasn’t really sure if they were the goose bumps you get when you are cold or the goose bumps that you get when you are scared out of your mind.  

“93, 95, 97,” Wally was just about done, the last few steps required navigating a trickle of running water that passed at a drips pace over the steps.  

“99 & 100,” and in slow motion Wally stopped and signaled for Tommy to join him on the 100th step from the top.

“OK, let’s turn around at the same time and look back up to the top,” said Wally.

The boys pivoted slowly and looked back up behind them to the top, 100 steps above them.   …And just as they did, an image from the top that they could barely make out darted from their view…They were being watched!

Someone was up there.  Certainly, not the Blue Angel or was it?

“What the hell!” Tommy whispered as his heartbeat raced.   “Who the hell was that?”

***********

Donnie Clamwood was watching the last 50 or so steps of Tommy and Wally’s descent down the cemetery steps.  He had spotted two bikes near the No Trespassing sign and decided to check it out.  Sensing that he had alarmed the boys he decided quickly to avoid direct contact, and in a panic of his own, grabbed his BMX and quickly pedaled off.

***********

A Slow Climb to the Top

Tommy and Wally stood frozen on the 100th step like Everest climbers stuck in the death zone.  They were unable to climb higher, unable to retreat and climb down.   The image that had just darted for cover was not entirely clear.   It seemed to be a person or was it?  It probably wasn’t the Blue Angel, or maybe it was? 

“No way was that the Blue Angel…ahhh shit, what the hell Wally…what the hell was that?”   Tommy belted at a quickened, nervous pace.

For his part, Wally, who was once cool like Fonzie and cucumbers was now really unsure of himself.  “Shit!  Was someone watching us?  What do we do now?”

Their initial reflexes of panic eventually faded.  They now knew that nothing good could come from waiting any longer-  halfway up, halfway down – on the cemetery steps.  They needed to make their move.    So they began to climb up.   

This time Wally remained quiet, he did not tick off the 100 steps in reverse up to the top.  It was all they could both do to remain calm, composed and in control.   As they got closer to the top they sensed that the light that was once the tail end of a days sunlight had been replaced by a mostly full moon.    

Steps away from the top they both noticed the peculiar step pattern which they were oblivious to on the decent.   The steps consisted of three normal two-story house like tread and risers followed by a 36 inch flat section, and then it repeated all the way to the top.   

As they crested the top step they could make out the spoke reflectors on their bikes as they glimmered in the moonlight.   Looking around, they couldn’t see anyone staring at them, but they took no chances and hurriedly went for their bikes.   They just wanted to get out of there.     

“Let’s get our bikes and get out …..”   and as Tommy was in mid-sentence reaching for his bike, be stubbed his left foot on a rock just off the top step in the grassy lawn.

“Where did this come from?” he asked Wally.

“What is it?” replied his friend.

“I dunno,” said Tommy.  “Why would there be a big rock right out in the grass?”

The Blue Angel.   This girl will scare you - With or Without A Right Arm

The Blue Angel. This girl will scare you - With or Without A Right Arm

And then Tommy figured out what the object was and the scream he mustered could probably have been heard from Kent Stein’s Diamond #1 on the south end to the empty Muscatine Mall to the north end of town. 

It was at that moment that Tommy reached down and picked up in his hand what both boys easily recognized as the perfectly sawed off statuesque hand of the Blue Angel.  A single flower firm in her grip.

Later Tommy would be almost relieved when he replayed the events in his mind.   He was satisfied that his scream was no more sissified than Wally’s reaction.  That’s because when Tommy had peered back at his friend, Wally was in fact wetting himself.   His khaki gray shorts were now a khaki dark gray shorts.  

Not much more than 90 minutes before Tommy had looked for the first time in his life at the Blue Angel.  His concentration was so instensely focused on the right hand and the flower, willing it not to drop.

“Let’s go Wally.   Let’s get to your house!  Now!” he said, tucking the right hand and  flower of the Blue Angel under his armpit.   “Pedal, you prick!”

And pedal they did.  They pedaled without conversation, quickly out to Lucas, and then west to Wally’s house on Dolliver Street.   Tommy Duggendorf didn’t even fully comprehend that he was pedaling the entire mile and a half with the the severed hand of the Blue Angel wedged in his left armpit.

**********

Earlier that night within minutes of the boys leaving the Blue Angel for their 90 minute Tombstone Name Game, Donnie Clamwood had used the cemetary as a shortcut from the top of Miller’s Hill over to Lucas, skipping the half mile of Fletcher Avenue in the process.   As he was riding past the entrance to the Huttig mauseleum he noticed a city cemetary truck parked at the gate.    

City cemetary worker Clyde Johnson was getting out of his truck.   He had in his hand a Dewalt Angle Grinder.   Tommy pedaled up with his typical curiosity.

“What are you doing with that thing?”   Tommy belted out before Clyde knew who it was.   

He casually responded, “I’m cutting off the Blue Angel’s Right Arm.  What else would I be doing with this angle grinder?”

“Why?  What the F—-?”   Donnie countered.    

“Yeah, believe it or not the Kathryn Musser Foundation asked the cemetery to cut off the Blue Angel’s hand once and for all.   They were tired of  all the silly bull shit curse talk about the flower dropping, yada, yada,”   Clyde continued.   “And the Mausoleum has been vandalized at least 5 times in the past few years.   Kids breaking in messing with the statue, turning it backwards, laying her on her side.   They figured they should take care of it once and for all.”   

Donnie spent the next twenty minutes watching Clyde as he produced a key for the Master Lock, entered the small white building, stood on the vaults, and in about 90 seconds time slivered the Blue Angel’s right arm with his Dewalt and the precision of a battlefield surgeon.  

And then when it was over Donnie asked, “What are you going to do with the hand?”

“Here, she’s all yours.   Maybe you can use it as a back scratcher,” Clyde joked, and with that, he gave the right hand and flower of the Blue Angel over to Donnie Clamwood, local town legend on two wheels.   

***********

The following morning Tommy Duggendorf awoke at Wally’s house.   He had slept on the floor next to Wally’s bed.  They were up most of the night reliving and retelling the episode from the Cemetery Steps.  

Tommy reached underneath the bed and there it was in his possession, the right hand and flower of the legendary Blue Angel.  

***********

Donnie Clamwood had left the cemetery right after running into the boys.   He quickly got on his BMX and pedaled off.   His exit point from the cemetery would be the winding, dark, tree covered Miller’s Hill.    He knew that he had startled the two boys, and so that in turn, made him panic, so he had sped off at a pretty good clip to get to the top of Miller’s.    Miller’s Hill is a steep, six degree decline with an initial blind right hand turn near the top.   Then it is pretty much a straight down speed adrenaline rush.    Most of the time, Donnie would use the flatter Houser Avenue to get down to Hershey Avenue below the bluff.   Not this time, he was in a hurry.   

It had to have been right after Donnie navigated that first right turn that he finally realized that in his darting away he had dropped the severed hand of the Blue Angel.   It ticked him off to the point that he lost his concentration for just a split second of time.   It also didn’t help that the City used Miller’s Hill as a dumping area for all the extra blacktop that they would order and not find a spot for during the spring and summer hot patch season.   Often times the city street crew would do less than their full due diligence in getting the hot patch completely rolled out, flat and smooth.     Donnie wouldn’t know it until it was too late, but he found one of the questionable patch spots at the very moment that he had realized that he had dropped the Blue Angel’s right hand.  

The wipeout was epic.  

 

For more half-truths and outright lies visit The Small Ball Report at www.smallballreport.com.

I have fond memories of my youth. One of those memories is hearing the inviting melody of a nearby ice cream truck. I know most of the time my parents claimed that the carton of Neopolitain in the back porch deep freeze was just as tasty. There were occasions, though, where we did finagle Mom and Dad into giving us 25 cents for an Orange Sherbert Push Up from the slow driving ice cream hero.

Now, some of the memories of my youth are probably distorted, some may argue, all of them are. Like maybe I wasn’t as good at kick ball and maybe I really couldn’t walk around the block on stilts, twice without falling. But, what I do remember was that the Ice Cream Man was very professional in his appearance. So much so, that if you were at school, filling out your 3rd grade autobiography and you answered the question, What do want to be when you grow up, and you said, The Ice Cream Man, that would have been as acceptable and as common as Doctor, Policeman or Quarterback. I may be mistaken, but I think one Friday in elementary, a friend had his dad into school for Meet My Dad day and he said, “This is my dad, he is the Ice Cream Man.” And, the whole class melted in his presence.

Contrast that to present day. If you were to believe Money Magazine from two years back, we live in the best place in America to raise a family, Naperville, Illinois. I can’t all the way agree with that on the premise that in my own hometown our little league teams played on baseball diamonds with real dugouts and outfield fences. That notwithstanding, it is at least practical to say that Naperville is a typical snapshot of American suburbia.

But the livability rankings for Naperville would surely plummet if they had to add a category – in addition to schools, parks, hospitals, and open spaces – for Ice Cream Man, because whenever you hear the doot-doot-­doodle-doo melody of an approaching ice cream van in my neighborhood you start looking for all your kids and calling them into the house, and it’s not because you don’t want to buy the pups some orange sherbert on a stick, its because Naperville has the scariest looking Ice Cream Man van in the continental U.S. (That was the longest sentence in my 2 week blogging history)

The Naperville Ice Cream Man has the kind of van with its fuzzy mirror dice and rust and faded paint job that you wouldn’t be surprised to hear was once used in various Zodiac killer escapades. The van is older than the van that the crazy meddling Scooby Doo kids drive around in.

For their part, my kids seem to know that the van is the ice cream van, but they have never once asked us to go buy ice cream from it. In fact, this van is so scary looking that even though we live right next to a school with lots of passing children, I’ve never once seen the van pulled over handing out snow cones.

In fairness to the four wheeled ice cream proprietor, if I would do more investigation, maybe it’s just the van that looks out of whack, and maybe the Ice Cream man behind the curtain is as wholesome and as inviting in appearance as Sam the Butcher from Brady Bunch.

What this all proves is that appearance is everything. I drive a company car that is often messy, but it is never messy when I’m taking a customer to lunch. That’s not to say that I haven’t been known to call in the Wolf like on Pulp Fiction the hour before a sales call. By contrast, the Ice Cream Man considers the rust on his van to be part of its nostalgic charm.

Some of you maybe thinking wow this is insightful commentary by The Small Ball Report. If you are one of those people, please read my other story about Moko the Dolphin.      

https://smallballreport.com/2009/05/12/aliens-will-negotiate-but-with-humans-or-moko-the-dolphin/

But not to digress, apparently Hollywood types thought the same thing about the post 2000 Ice Cream Man profession.

Showtime produced a movie just two years ago with Ice Cream Man as Serial Killer. I haven’t watched it, but I plan too.   I’m also planning on getting a copy and letting the whole family watch, that way I will be sure to never have to buy Orange Sherbert Push Ups for my kids. They should be fine with the Neopolitan Ice Cream carton that is out in our deep freezer in the garage.

After alien invaders terrorize are cities and towns, and force mass migrations to safety zones in the Western US, the alien leaders will want to negotiate. The question will be who will the other planets GI Joes want to negotiate with – humans or one of earth’s other animal species?

Recent behavior by the human species suggests that our fate might be in the hands of someone without opposable thumbs.

We don’t know how similar the aliens will be to us, so they may quorum the first inter-species focus group since Noah built the Arc. Based on their interviews and other research they may decide that, on balance, mankind is collectively knuckleheaded, and the intelligent life form they were looking for happens to be another of the planet’s animals.

This is not to suggest that the flying saucer pilots will settle in on a negotiation with Mrs. O’Leary’s cow or Clint Eastwood’s “Right Turn” Clyde orangutan, but some animals are smart, even if they may not be book smart.

Moko the Dolphin comes to mind. Moko was a very brainy Kiwi bottlenose dolphin who last year swam up to a nearly beached pygmy sperm whale and her baby calf and whispered something in their ear like, “Follow me sister, I’m hosting a wine tasting party and there is free daycare, it’s just on the other side of that sand bar.”

Had Moko not made a timely appearance, human marine biologists would have been forced to watch mom and calf’s helpless demise. Instead, amazingly the whales followed Moko safely out to sea where the calf was then eaten by a Great White Shark. That last part, I didn’t fact check.

The movie genre Aliens Invade Earth is well entrenched, and it would have you believe that the human leader of the free world, usually depicted as the President of the United States is the person that the aliens negotiate with over the use of our precious resources – like oil, water and Honus Wagner rookie cards.

It may not be a realistic portrayal, however, during the last real alien-like invasion – 9/11 – our President was no where to be found for several hours. One can assume that he was on Air Force One planning our 4th quarter comeback and not gripping over the cliff hanger ending of My Pet Goat.

The movies would also have us believe – as the 1998 comet strikes earth film Deep Impact suggested – that a black man could be Commander-in-chief. But we know that will never happen!

Since movies are the work of humans, it’s natural for human movie makers to cast upright two footed People magazine cover boys in the starring role of intercepting the alien invaders. It probably wouldn’t be big box office to have the Martians invade earth and negotiate with a cocker spaniel, even if I know I saw a preview for that movie once.

The coveted 18 to 55 year old adult demographic tends to stay away from the talking dog, cat and horse films. However, if you are of that age, and are unfortunate enough to have kids like millions of Americans, sometimes you can’t avoid seeing a talking animal on screen occasionally.

Despite the movie depictions, I don’t think the Aliens have settled in yet on which of earth’s species they consider to be their intelligent life adversary.

Consider this: While humans are the only of earth’s species that have taken the time to write medical journals, and train brainy high SAT scoring youngsters how to read cat scans, we still have smart doctors making silly decisions.

Recently, a fertility specialist in California displayed such questionable judgment.

A lady shows up at his office and proclaims the following during the consultation. “I have six children, no job, no husband, and I haven’t got a valentine card since Donnie Wahlberg was the famous Wahlberg. My children are all under six, but only one has special needs. I live with my retired mother and father, but dad hates me so much he’d rather move back to Iraq.”

Doc replies “Well, we still have six of your frozen eggs in the Kenmore in the backroom. Why don’t I thaw them, pluck them out with my 3 foot long needle and stick them up your ass and see if you get pregnant.”

I wasn’t in the room so I’m not sure that’s exactly word for word.

So went the story of Octomom who is like a good college football team, let’s say the USC Trojans, sitting on six points (kids). She was able to convert her second touchdown (six eggs) and a two point conversion (it is common for eggs to split) into 8 points (more kids) to take a 14 point (14 kids) halftime lead on stupidity.

…But, she can be forgiven. Because in our society there are equally high SAT scoring kids that would have become medical doctors had they not pissed themselves when professor asked the class to dissect the baby ardvark. These individuals would change their majors and become Psychologists. A good Psychologist will tell you Octomom is nuts, and here’s her certificate.

They have no such illness to pin Dr. Fertility with, he was just stupid.

Remember there is an alien scout team watching this entire episode, and they are probably asking themselves, who’s smarter Dr. Fertility or Moko the Dolphin? Or more broadly, is human smarter than a dolphin.

They started researching. And when they did do their research, I’m sad to report as a human blogger, although a human blogger that can balance a rubber ball on his nose and jump through a hoop for a sardine, it was not a good outcome for us people.

In one incident the aliens found on Google the story of Pelorus Jack, a Dolphin forbearer of Moko, living off the coast of New Zealand over 100 years ago.

New Zealand has some rough seas especially in the straights around the Admiralty Bay area where Pelorus Jack swam about and Twittered to his friends.

This was a patch of sea that made nervous nillies of rough, tumble ship captains. The rocks, current, and treacherous waters claimed many a ship wreck. And then one day in 1888, Jack appeared in front of a schooner called the Brindle, guiding her through the rough, choppy seas.

For the next 20 years, Jack would reappear leading many a ship through the bay, all of them safely navigating the sea.

That was until someone, perhaps the Kiwi ancestor of Dr. Fertility, aboard the SS Penguin shot at Jack the Dolphin. Luckily people from New Zealand are not noted marksmen and they missed. Jack was not amused, but stewed over the incident for just a couple weeks before he would again return and lead ships through the rough sea.

All ships, that is, except the SS Penguin. And for the next six years, when Jack would see the Penguin, he would avoid the ferry like we avoid the annoying neighbor that you see in a nearby aisle at Target.

Finally, in 1909 without Jack at the lead, the Penguin crashed into rocks and sunk to the bottom of the sea. Sadly, only 30 survivors out of 105 made it to shore. It was the worst maritime accident in the history of New Zealand. (20th century)

This was the first, last and most tragic case of don’t mess with the bad ass dolphin.

While Jack is gone, mysteriously disappearing in 1912, we still have Moko.   Hopefully Moko’s charm and persuasiveness will keep us out of the Alien workcamps, or at the least, get us a light work detail.