Opinion » Bill Cope

Mr. Cope's Cave: Tattooed Blue

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Ah, Junior! I was just wondering why I haven't heard from you lately. What? You run off to some indie music festival or skateboarder Lollapalooza or something?

No, Mr. Cope. I've been around, doing my job. Just didn't feel like coming over here, that's all.

So... I suppose you're here to ask me about the Broncos, huh? Or maybe Serena Williams getting beat at that tennis whatcha-thingy? Or that Brady guy getting off the hook from whatever he was on the hook for?

No, no. None of that. I know how much you dislike sports, Mr. Cope. You've made yourself perfectly clear on how your great, super-evolved brain is way too... too elevated to be wasted on football talk.

Yeah, but...

Yes, I don't think I need to hear it again, Mr. Cope... how sports are so far beneath you. So don't worry. I'll never trouble your great, super-evolved brain with any more questions about sports. You'll never have to explain again how refined and discriminating your tastes are, while all the rest of us are just little insignificant puny-wad dummies for enjoying a football game or an Olympic event or...

Um, I'm sensing a little tension here, Skipper. Are you mad at me?

Ooooh noooo, Mr. Cope. Why on earth would I be mad at you?

Well, I don't really know. Something I've written recently, maybe? Something I've said? But I can't think what it might be. I haven't even seen you for... what?... a week?

Three weeks, actually. I haven't come here in three weeks.

Yeah. OK. Three weeks. And let's see... what was it we talked about that day? Was it the Iran nuclear agreement? Or maybe Donald Trump? That was it, wasn't it? I said something about Donald Trump you didn't like and you're nose is still out of joint over it.

No, Mr. Cope. It wasn't about Donald Trump. And it wasn't about the deal with the Iranians, either.

Well? What was it? I can tell you're upset.

Not at all, Mr. Cope. What would I have to be upset about? Why, it's almost every day that someone says I look dirty.

Dirty?

Yes. Dirty. You know... because I got a tattoo that I made a special trip over here to show to you, since it was brand new and my first tattoo and I was sort of proud of it, and I wanted you to see it. And then you were thoughtful enough to tell me that you think tattoos make people look dirty. Why on earth would I be upset about a little thing like that?

Aaaah, now I remember. And I sort of made fun of your girlfriend's butterfly tattoo, too.

Yes. You sure did. You made fun of my girlfriend's butterfly tattoo, too, and you said that all of us tattooed people look dirty to you. Nothing to be upset about in that, is there?

So, seeing as how you're not upset with me to the extent you are... or aren't... what brings you here today, Sparky?

My boss sent me. I had no choice in the matter. Not that I have any lingering resentment over having my girlfriend insulted and being called dirty. I can't imagine why you'd think such a thing, Mr. Cope.

Look, I'm sorry I insulted you and your girlfriend. I didn't mean to. You just kept asking those questions and I kept answering them. I didn't mean to start a big thing about it. So... can we get over this and find out what your boss wants?

My boss wants me to find out what you think of how Stephen Colbert is handling the job he took over from David Letterman. For some reason, he thinks we need to get the inconsiderate, crotchety old fart's perspective on it.

That's what your boss said?... "the inconsiderate, crotchety old fart's perspective?"

Yes, Mr. Cope. That's exactly what he said. He said, "Go over to Cope's and get the inconsiderate, crotchety old fart's perspective." So I'm here... like it or not.

Uh, it's nice to know someone cares what I think... I guess. But did he say "inconsiderate, crotchety old fart's perspective?"... like he wants to know what I, in particular, think? Or did he say "inconsiderate, crotchety old farts' perspective?"... as though I would be speaking for the entire inconsiderate, crotchety old fart demographic?

I don't know, Mr. Cope. I didn't think to ask. Now, could you just tell me what you think of Colbert's performance so I can get what I came for and leave?

Uh, well, Squiggy, I thought it was bit too much.

What's that supposed to mean?... "a bit too much."

I mean, you know how Letterman was like having a shot of warm apricot brandy before you turn in? Or maybe a glass of milk with a shot of whiskey in it? Well, Colbert is like having a double shot of Red Bull with a tequila back. Might be just the ticket at eight in the evening, but at 11 p.m.?... a little frenetic for my taste. That's all I'm saying.

But he's funny. Don't you think he's funny?

Uh huh. I think he's funny. But he's funny all of the time. Non-stop funny. About every third word out of his mouth is a zinger. He's like listening to the class clown on meth, know what I mean? I miss when Letterman would tell a crappy joke, then stand there with his hands in his pockets with that big, "wasn't-that-a-crappy-joke" grin on his face while the audience groaned about what a crappy joke it was. And I miss "stupid pet tricks" and I miss Paul Shaffer and the band and when the horn players hold up their hands over stupid things and I miss Jake Hanna and the animals and...

Tell me, Mr. Cope. Are you speaking for yourself when you say this, or are you speaking for all inconsiderate, crotchety old farts?

Gee, Jughead, I don't exactly know. It's not like we have a newsletter or something. But I do feel safe in saying the common denominator among inconsiderate, crotchety old farts is that when we get used to something being one way, we don't care much for someone coming along and changing it.

You mean, like, where before, when you were used to most people not having tattoos. And now everyone has tattoos.

So we're back to that, are we?

I'm just asking, Mr. Cope. Just trying to get as much perspective as I can on how inconsiderate, crotchety old farts come to their positions. It's for my boss, you understand. He always tells me to get as much background as possible. Just doing my job, that's all.

OK. Good. I wouldn't want to think this is getting personal. And since you're so conscientious about doing your job, you'll understand that whenever I tell you I don't much care for something that you think I should care for... like football or tattoos of Colbert on The Late Show... I'm just doing my job as good as I can.

Your job, Mr. Cope? I thought you were retired.

Bowzer, there is no retiring for us inconsiderate, crotchety old farts. Once you're in, you're in for life.

Well I must say, Mr. Cope... you are very good at it.

Why thank you, Linus. That means a lot coming from you.