Attention: Bill Cope continues his hiatus, secure in the knowledge that the column is in the able hands of Badger Bob Berserquierre. Should you so greatly prefer Cope's approach to opinionizing to that of Mr. Badger, then we suggest you go the Boise Weekly Web site and browse through his old columns instead of reading today's submission. We particularly recommend one called "Two-Headed Teenager" (BW, Opinion, April 27, 2005). It is one of our favorites and could not possibly offend anyone--something that can never be safely said about whatever Mr. Badger may write.
"Cope, you shouldn't o' fired Red."
"Oooooh, I know that now, Bob. I've regretted it ever since Red walked out the door. I was blind, I tell you. Blind!"
"Yeah. He'd been with you for a long time. Can't say much for your sense of loyalty, either."
"Oooooh, you're totally, totally right, Bob! What have I done? I was a Judas, I tell you. A Judas!"
As I reported last week, Cope was holed up in his bedroom with one of those body-length pillows and a week's supply of kettle corn. His wife was desperate to get him out of there because the whole house was starting to smell like fried catfish. I managed to talk him into brushing his teeth, and once he was up, he stayed that way--at least for the duration of this conversation.
"So what are you going to do, Cope? Are you just going to let it eat away at you?"
"Ooooh, I don't know what to do about it, Bob. I can't think. I'm so confused. I'm an idiot, I tell you. An idiot!"
I couldn't argue with him on that point, so I changed the subject. "Look, if you're serious about me doing your column until you get over this ... uh ... whatever the hell it is that's wrong with you, we need to come up with a few subjects I might write about. What say? Can you pull your head out of your ass long enough to give me some suggestions here?"
"Golly, Bob. I trust you. Whatever you want to write about, you just go right ahead. Except ... uh ... you know that idea of yours about how Republicans are hurting Americans more than the terrorists ever even thought about? And how they are the root cause of most of our problems instead of being any sort of solution? Well, maybe you shouldn't say that, Bob. I mean, it's probably true and all, but ... gee ... you know how pissy Republicans can get whenever someone calls them ignorant, verminous, yahoo rabble."
"Whatever you say, Cope. I had a column in mind about how Republicans are like a Biblical plague on the land. A punishment that God has inflicted upon us because we once had the horrible judgment to make Ronald Reagan our leader. But if you think that's too strong, I won't write it. So how about I do something on Walt Minnick? You know, something along the lines of: 'For crying out loud! If we Idahoans are forever cursed with having conservative tight-asses represent us in Congress, at least bring back Bill Sali so's we'll have someone to laugh at."
"Huh? What? Jeepers no, Bob! You can't say that about Walt. Please, puh-leeeeze don't say that! I know Walt. I voted for Walt. I donated money to Walt. Shoot, I think I even endorsed him. How would I ever face him again if you said that about him? No, no, no, for Gawd's sake, think of something else!"
"Alrighty then, I'll do a psychological profile of the sort of under-evolved barbarian goober that would consider shooting wolves a good time. I want to start off with a paragraph or two on how there should be a law that says they have to eat whatever they kill. Right down to the last gristle."
"Well ... uh ... jeez, are you sure you want to get all those hunters mad at you? I mean, they have guns. Jiminy, I can imagine a bunch of 'em getting all drunked up some night when there's nothing else to shoot and deciding that you need a lesson in kick-ass. Or worse yet, they forget it was you who wrote that opinion and come for me instead. Think about that, Bob. Golly, I have a wife and a kid."
"OK, Cope. Sure wouldn't want to upset your barbarian goober readership, would we? So what if I do a column about how that university down by the river didn't even make it onto the ranking of schools that Washington Monthly put out this month. There's almost 250 universities and colleges on the list ... both the other Idaho universities made it ... but not that one that's always bragging about their football team. I think people ought to know what they're getting for their money, don't you?"
"Holy cow, Bob! You can't write about that! Crap, I'd rather have drunk, pissed-off wolf hunters after me than a herd of those Bronco Nation weenies."
"Sheee-it! You're making this damn hard, Cope. You want an opinion or not? Why'd you ask me to fill in for you if you don't want me to say anything?"
"Gosh, Bob. You don't have to yell at me. Here's what I was thinking. You have an old dog, right? So I was thinking you could write a column about your old dog. Something like Marley and Me ... only the dog lives. Another idea I had is how embarrassing it would be to sit through one of those Cialis or Viagra commercials with your granddaughter. That'd be funny, huh? "Any erection lasting more than four hours blah blah blah ...? That might even win you a Pulitzer or something."
"I don't have a TV or a granddaughter, Cope. And anymore, all my old dog does is sleep and fart."
"Oh." All glum like, he hunched over a bowl of dry Froot Loops, picking the pink ones out with his fingers and chewing them one at a time with his mouth open. I'd say Cope is as irritating as a human being can get, if I didn't know skin-crawly creeps like Glen Beck and Sean Hannity were walking the Earth.
"Listen, I think you should get Red back. I know he's inarticulate, dumb and nuts, but he always did something for you that I can't."
"What's that, Bob?"
"He could always make you feel better about yourself, Cope. I don't believe I could ever do that. Not in good conscience."
"You're right, Bob. Somehow, he always made me feel smarter. I should never o' fired him! I was a fool, I tell you! A fool!"