Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Never A Dull Moment

Maybe it’s just the heat and humidity, or maybe it’s the local economy that's making the 1930’s look prosperous by comparison, or maybe it’s hurricane season and “Emily” bearing down on south Florida—whatever it is, white folks down here in the weeds are sure acting strange, even for this place.

Over the last few days we have had some spectacular crimes over on the mainland. Across Lemon Bay in Englewood a few days ago, a young female drug addict, a slammer panhandling downtown, was given a roof over her head for the night by an elderly cripple who may have had motives in mind other than benign. That night the wheelchair-bound benefactor was found as dead as a door nail with fifty stab wounds perforating his body. A bullet or two were added for good measure. After trading the victim’s coin collection for one last fix, the dope slammer now resides in the city slammer (sorry, couldn't resist).

Then, the other night, over Punta Gorda ways, a tiff between ten-year-olds over ten-year-old stuff quickly escalated into a regular red neck rodeo when two neighboring clans came to blows. Amid a bedlam of screams, shouts and curses, the fray spread like fire among all the tanked-up “adults.” When the warring families jumped on scooters, pickup trucks and anything else that could be used like a tank, the fight began to resemble a demolition derby with everyone trying to run over the other.

A few doors down, the 70-something grandparents of one of the feuding families heard the wild commotion and decided to ride to the rescue. Jumping into their golf cart the elderly couple sped toward the sound of battle. At some point during this retarded skirmish, the golf carting grandfolks brought their vehicle to a sudden stop. Perhaps the angry grandpa mistook the brake pedal for the gas. Whatever, the cart came to a grinding halt directly in the cross hairs of one Roy Lee Poore and his big pickup truck. Wham!

Today, poor Poore (sorry again) is facing a murder rap and grandma golf cart has gone to that big family feud in the sky.

Also over at Punta Gorda, laying under an oak tree, two bodies were discovered by a pastor the other morning behind the Methodist church. One of the bodies, that of a 60-year-old man, was missing most of its head. A shotgun lay nearby. Beside him was his 57-year-old wife, also with a head wound. A rifle lay near her. Although scant is known of the couple, it appears to all that the horrible event was the result of a double suicide. As it turns out, the man and woman had been married in the church forty years before. The two had lived elsewhere since that time, most recently Las Vegas, and it appears they returned to the church for the sole purpose of ending their lives together on the same spot where they had begun it together. Drugs? Debt? Sickness? Whatever the cause, the childless couple apparently took their vows--“Till Death Do Us Part”--very seriously. A tragedy, sad and heartbreaking.

Quite a place this Punta Gorda. Always something.


What’s In a Name? Ask Andy Dick. He’s scheduled to go on trial in West Virginia, not for robbery, murder or dope dealing, but for felony sexual abuse. Now, although he may be totally innocent of the charge, with a name like “Dick” how much extra effort will it take to prove his innocence in a sex crime? Hopefully, none, but my bet is some. If Andy was just a Smith, Brown or even just a Badman (see "Florida: Stick It Where the Sun Shines," 7.28.11), would he even be on trial now?

If you think tags don’t matter, just consider what happened to the “Hydrox Cookie.” Although it entered the market first and was perhaps an even better-tasting product, Hydrox lost the war to a better-named copy-cat, Oreo. As marketeers then and now know, it’s easier selling a product whose name rolls off the tongue and sounds like something good and happy and virtuous rather than trying to peddle a product whose name grinds out like some hideous monster from a bad dream (above). Hydrox v. Oreo? Although I actually preferred the former cookie, shopping moms and hungry kids nation-wide voted overwhelmingly for the latter.

Try telling the former makers of Hydrox that a name doesn’t matter.  And as for Mr. Dick and his trial, the only worse name I could think of in this case would be Andy Raper.  Words count, names matter.


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