Mr. Cope’s Cave: Read This Quick So I Can Get Rid of This Pest


Mr. Cope, would you mind very much if I asked you about…

Junior, are you aware that Friday is the day I go out and get things done.

Well, actually, yes, I think maybe I remember you saying something about that. Once.

Yet you continue to show up Friday mornings and engage me in these long, drawn-out, pointless conversations, even though you admit to knowing that I prefer to keep Friday free.

Look, Mr. Cope, it’s not all my fault. Honest. It’s my editor. He sends me here because he needs to fill a hole, and he knows I can always get a few hundred words out of you. Honest. If it were up to me, I’d rather be out interviewing… oh, I don’t know… local weathermen about the weather. Or local restaurant owners about their menu. Or local gas station owners about the price of gas. Or… really, now that I think about it… I guess I’d rather be out interviewing just about anyone but you.

Huh. Well. I, uh… I guess I don’t know how to feel about that. Am I really that bad?

Oh no, Mr. Cope. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t mean to say you’re like… cantankerous. Or crotchety, or anything like that. But the thing is, you never want to talk about what I come to interview to you about. You always take off in some other direction, and there I am… stuck with whatever you’re babbling on about. Know what I mean? It’s like trying to get a dog to play fetch, but all you want to do is play roll-over. And then if I go along and try to play roll-over with you, you switch and want to play chase-your-tail. Honest, Mr. Cope. I always leave here feeling like I’ve been drinking. 

OK then, Durwood. Ask me your question and I’ll do my best to stay on track.

But you won’t want to answer my question because it’s about jocks. And I already know what you think of jocks.

Then why’d you pick such a question?

Because it’s something that’s going on now. And because people are paying attention to it. And because I try to write about things people are paying attention to. And if it were up to me, I’d have gone to a local coach to ask him what he thought, but… um, it wasn’t up to me.

Because your editor sent you.

Yes. Because my editor sent me.

Just ask, and let’s see what happens.

And you won’t get mad at me if you don’t like the question?

Nah. You go ahead and ask, Jiminy. I won’t get mad.

Well, It’s about those football players who held up their hands. Those St. Louis Ram guys, you know? When they did that “Don’t Shoot” protest thing at the game last Sunday? Do you have any opinions about that? Maybe?

Actually, I do, Skippy. I certainly do. I’m not sure how effective their gesture will be on the efforts to reform police practices. But I think it’s a great, wonderful thing any time a football player finds something worthwhile to do with himself.

You mean… other than being a football player?

No. I mean… because they’re football players.

That implies you don’t think playing football is a worthwhile thing to do.

As a matter of fact, I don’t. But to be fair, playing football is a far, far more worthwhile thing to do than watching football.

Mr. Cope, that’s a pretty radical thing to say. It’s going to make a lot of our readers angry.

Well… you asked.

Maybe I should change the subject.

Oh. I get it. Now you’re going to start rolling over when I thought we were playing fetch. Besides, haven’t you filled your editor’s hole yet? Seems like we’ve been talking forever.

Just one more question, Mr. Cope. Then I’ll leave. Are you really going to do what you said you’d do Monday? About the different Christmas music every time you post, I mean?

I’m gonna try, Melvin. I’m gonna do it as long as the good stuff holds out.

Have you got some good stuff for your blog today?

Sure do. I have a sweet little Erroll Garner piece, then I found a whole album of Oscar Peterson Christmas music.

I’ve never heard of either of those guys. They’re both dead, I suppose.

Not in my heart, they aren’t. Now, I’d ask you to stick around and listen, buuuut…

Yes, I understand. You have to go out and get things done.