Opinion » Bill Cope

Ask Bill About It

Read out Idaho

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Hi Willy Billy. I told the Cope's-Latest-Column Discussion Group I've been calling you "Willy Billy," and old Mr. Hamperstein thought I should change it to "Wild Bill," like after that old-time cowboy who got shot for playing poker, you know? And then my friend Dottie said, "No, he should be called 'Willful Bill,' because sometimes you can be a little pig-headed, according to Dottie, who thinks you are going to burn in Hell because you won't "Obey the Laws of our Lord God Almighty," and that's Dottie talking, not me. Anyway, I think "Willy Billy" is just fine and I told them so. It makes me mad because every time the Cope's-Latest-Column-Discussion-Group meets, everyone thinks they have a better idea than everyone else. Especially Dottie to especially me. Like what happened last week when we were discussing the column you called "Humpty-Dumpty Country." Do you remember that one?

And anyway, in it, you implied that Republican bigwigs don't care that America's infrastructures are crumbling away like dried up mousetrap cheese, because they plan on being somewhere else when nothing works anymore. Do I have that right? That's what Mr. Hamperstein thinks you were implying and I couldn't think of any reason to argue with him. So I said, "Well, if I were going to move somewhere so I wouldn't be around when everything here goes kerplunkity, I'd move to Ireland," which I hear is really pretty there and besides, I must have some family there because my Dad always used to joke how Mom's side of the family was half Irish and all lush, even though Mom didn't think it was one bit funny.

So that is when Dottie called me stupid. Yes, she did, can you believe it? Right there in front of Mr. Hamperstein and that nice Bleaker couple who I've never talked about because they are new, and the Yardleys, and Larry Phlapp, who I think joined the Cope's-Latest-Column-Discussion-Group to meet women. She said, "You're just stupid if you think Ireland is going to be any better off than America." Well, I was stunned, let me tell you. I've always suspected Dottie thought I was stupid, but she's never come right out and said it out loud before. I was so stunned, I could not think of a thing to say, so I was awfully glad when that nice Jenny Bleaker said, "What's so stupid about moving to Ireland?"

That's when Dottie told us that the Lord may even be harder on Ireland than He is on America because they just voted to legalize gay marriages there. I should have known it had something to do with gay marriages. Dottie hates gay marriages. Almost as much as she hates what she calls "Constitution wreckers" and coleslaw and President Obama.

Then Mr. Hamperstein tried to change the subject because he hates it when Dottie starts rattling on and on about gay Bible stuff, and he said, "OK Dottie, tell us where would you move if you thought everything was going kerplunkity?" And Dottie said, "I wouldn't move anywhere at all because I'm already where we Christian patriots will make our final stand."

Well, I didn't know what she was talking about so I said, "The Christian patriots are going to make their final stand in my living room?" And everyone laughed, except for Dottie. She just said, "You'll see. Mark my words, this is the place where the Lord's people are coming. Right here in the American Read Out." And that's when Mr. Hamperstein muttered something about horse poop and got up to leave. It was getting late anyway so everybody else started picking up the paper plates and Dixie cups, and I never did get a chance to ask Dottie what an American Read Out is. Which is why I am writing you this time, Willy Billy. I would ask Dottie the next time I see her what an America Read Out is, but she always gets so smirky whenever I ask her anything. So I thought I would ask you, instead. And also, if anything you have written is going to be read out at the American Read Out, let us know and I will try to be there when it happens. Maybe Larry Phlapp will go with me, but I don't think I'll ask my friend Dottie. Sometimes I wish I had better friends.

Let me know, Willy Billy—Your Bestest Fan, Anonymous

•••

Always a pleasure to hear from you, Anon. And hear from you. And hear from you. Speaking of which, let me ask if you would mind if I do a little light editing on your letters in the future. While you may not feel like you are constrained by word limits, I am. And as much as I enjoy your Pynchon-esque approach to writing letters, you occasionally leave me with no room for a proper reply—as is the present case.

Now, as to your question... I believe you have confused what your dubious friend Dottie was saying. It is the "American Redoubt," not "Read Out." I, myself, became aware of the phenomenon just recently, and I assure you, it bears not only closer scrutiny, but a lot of it. To sum it up as concisely as my remaining space allows, the American Redoubt is a grand scheme to turn the states of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho, along with eastern portions of Washington and Oregon, into a haven for the nation's paranoid lunatic fringe. I intend to write much more on the American Redoubt in the future. Stay tuned, Anon. And don't leave Dottie alone with your silverware.