I’ve been worried this past week, as I’ve learned that federal agents are investigating alleged crimes I committed while publisher of the Solon Economist and North Liberty Leader. The G-men think I tapped phones to get the scoop on stories over our one and only competitor, the Iowa City Press-Citizen (PC).
Of course this is all complete nonsense.
The PC never was and never will be a competitor as it is one of the worst fish wrappers ever to use ink. A perfect example of the ineptness of the publication was the time they called and asked if they could borrow a photo we took of the Solon Volunteer Fire Department. Fire Safety Week was coming up, and the volunteers agreed to pose for a group photo to be used in a promotion we were doing. The PC was also doing a promotion and sent a photographer to the same photo shoot. A diploma-toting, college graduate showed up with equipment worth more than my car and promptly forget to put film in the camera.
The PC sold a page of advertising around the photo, so an editor called me up and asked if they could have a copy of our shot, the one taken with film. After a little of bit of haggling– I didn’t want money but insisted that they give the paper credit in the caption– they agreed to my demands. The editor then offered that he’d send one of his reporters to pick up the photo and asked if I could give him directions to our office. Since both of our buildings were located on the same side of the same highway, I thought this shouldn’t be too hard until another college graduate got on the line and asked, “Where’s Solon?”
So there’s no motive.
And there’s certainly no proof.
I understand the G-men have photos of me on telephone poles in town with wire cutters in hand but they are obviously doctored. Through secret sources I obtained one of the photos and it’s obviously from a shot taken of me water skiing in the Beef Days Parade. Actually, I wasn’t skiing but in-line skating behind a boat on a trailer that was being pulled by a John Deere tractor, bigger than some houses. Using sophisticated cut and paste techniques (this was in the era before Photoshop), they turned the tow line into a telephone line and the tow bar into a pliers.
If the photos are not doctored, then they are misinterpreted. I wasn’t splicing wires, I was doing recon for places to shoot my cannon. Long-time readers will remember my artillery phase which started with the building of a giant potato gun (I was hoping to shoot melons but never got past flaming wads of paper) and ended with a golf course owner loaning me a working replica of a naval cannon circa 1800. That sucker shot c-cell batteries but had one drawback: no instructions. With the help of a certain Solon brew master and a quaff or two, the load was miscalculated by a factor of one hundred. As a result we nearly took down an airplane approaching the Cedar Rapids airport and rattled windows all the way to Sutliff.
And if there are ‘undoctored’ photos of me doing something hinky in a telephone line junction box, then the statute of limitations is surely in effect. The papers were sold in the year 2000 for crying out load.
Yet while I don’t think there’s much of a case against me, it might be best to do something proactive. Maybe I could get the city council to ask me to testify at a meeting. Then to gain sympathy and distract attention I could have a disgruntled citizen TRY to throw a pie in my face. I stress “try” because the whole thing will be staged. An actor will throw the pie, and to add a little domestic drama, I’ll have my spouse ready to stop the attack with a smack of her hand. With a little luck the incident will make national news or, better yet, You Tube.
Now all I have to do is figure out why my cell phone seems to be on the fritz.