I had just hung up from a robocall wanting to extend the warranty on a car I no longer own when the phone rang again. I assumed it was some helpful robot offering to consolidate credit card debts I don’t have or trying to sell me a back brace I don’t need. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered it was Skeeter Skates, owner of Skeeter Skates Tree Stump Removal and Plow Repair in Ryo, Georgia. Skeeter Skates may be a lot of things. A robot he is not.
“Hoss,” he said with no preamble -- Skeeter isn’t much for preambles – “me and the boys in the Ryo Coffee Club was wanting to get your take on what in the dickens is going on in the country these days. Walleye, who runs the bait shop over in Red Bud, thought you might be able to share a little information with us. I told Walleye it was worth a try because you usually have about as little information as anybody I know of.” Dealing with Skeeter Skates requires a thick skin.
“First off,” Skeeter inquired, “we was wondering how come folks waving American flags and calling themselves patriots decided to go and tear up the Capitol last month. That don’t make no sense to us. In fact, Uncle Coot, who is recently retired from the porta potty transportation industry, thought that was downright unpatriotic. He says how many patriots do you know who go running around in a hat with buffalo horns on their head?”
I told him I couldn’t answer that one. Maybe the guy was headed to Little Bighorn to help out General Custer and took a wrong turn in Kansas City.
“You think that ol’ orange-haired boy sicced the crowd on the Capitol because he didn’t get reelected?” Skeeter asked. “He seemed awfully mad about it.”
I said I would prefer not to answer that in case some of the 74 million people who voted for Donald Trump might be reading this. They are not in the best of humor these days. The last thing I need right now is a visit from Rudy Giuliani or Buffalo Boy.
Skeeter said Booger Bledsoe, who runs the local roadside vegetable stand over in Sugar Hill, thinks some of the mob’s behavior was because they were tired of seeing a bunch of punks on television burning buildings and disrespecting police and liberal weenie mayors letting them get away with it.
I thought that insightful on Booger’s part and said it probably was one reason for the Capitol riot but to quote my sweet Momma, “Two wrongs don’t make a right,” which is probably the last thing either side wants to hear right now.
“Hoss, we was wondering how come they are impeaching that ol’ boy again,” Skeeter asked. “He ain’t even president no more. That don’t make no sense, neither.”
No it doesn’t, I told Skeeter. The effort is not going to be successful and, sadly, is only going to serve to divide the country worse than it already is.
Skeeter said Walleye wanted to know if this was going to get the mob all stirred up and they would try to storm the Capitol again.
I said that wasn’t likely because authorities would be ready this time but there was always a chance of random acts of violence in places where it was least expected. Skeeter said he and the group had talked about that very thing. Walleye was in the process of reenforcing the door to his bait shop. Bogger Bledsoe had installed cameras around his roadside vegetable stand and not even a guy wearing a hat with buffalo horns would dare mess with Skeeter Skates. He has a stump grinder and knows how to use it.
The only one not concerned was Uncle Coot. When you’ve spent your career around porta potties, even the most aggressive rioter is going to want to stand a good ways upwind.
Skeeter announced it was time to wind things up. Unlike the fancy pants in the media, he said, he and his colleagues had an honest day’s work ahead of them. I said that was okay with me. I had some important business to tend to myself. There was a robot on the other line wanting to extend the warranty on a car I didn’t own anymore. After dealing with Skeeter Skates and the Ryo Coffee Club, I must admit I was looking forward to talking to the robot.
•Dick Yarbrough is a four-time winner of the Best Humor Column by the Georgia Press Association. Reach him at email@example.com or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.