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80 Years Ago

Archives 2001 09-05-2001

North County Lines by Bob




Uncle Phil was buried with his cell phone. I'm not blaming anyone for the oversight. His wife Jill should have checked the pockets, however, before giving the suit to the undertaker.

At first the phone's location was speculation, until I got an idea.

Handing Pinchy a slip of paper, I said, "At exactly twenty-one hundred hours, call this number. Any questions?

"Only one," she said, "what's twenty-one hundred hours?"

"Nine o'clock p.m.," I replied.

Pinchy asked why I didn't just say nine o'clock.

"I've planned this like a military maneuver," I replied. "Military planning requires military timing."

"I'll call at nine," Pinchy said.

"Have it your way," I replied.

Ten minutes before the appointed time, I parked outside the cemetery. Like a cat, I crept past the headstones until reaching Uncle Phil's grave.

Flopping down, I spread out on my stomach, lifted a stethoscope from around my neck and listened to what was going on down under.

I heard worms crawling and ants digging tunnels. Then a phone rang. Pinchy was precisely on time.

The phone was ringing for the eighth time, when something tapped me on the shoulder. Turning around, I saw a cop bending over, looking at me. "What are you doing?" he asked.

I told him the dead-Uncle-Phil-cell-phone story.

"You been drinking?" the cop asked.

"Everybody drinks," I said. "You have to consume liquids or you'll die."

"Alcohol," he said. "Have you been drinking alcohol?"

"Nope," I said. "Gave that up to see if I could make sense of things sober."

"And?" he said.

"And what?" I replied.

"Did you make sense of things?" he asked.

"Only to the point of understanding things aren't supposed to make sense," I replied.

"Get up," he said. "Brush yourself off. Stand on one leg."

"Is this a field sobriety test?" I asked.

"Yes," he said. "Extend the primary finger on your right hand and touch the top of your head."

Extending the finger next to my forefinger, I said, "This one?"

"Stop trying to be funny," he said. "Extend the finger closest to your thumb."

Standing on one leg, I touched the tip of my forefinger to the top of my head. "Now what?" I asked.

"Spin in a circle," he said.

"Clockwise or counterclockwise?" I asked.

"To the left," he said.

"That's counterclockwise," I said.

"Whatever," he replied.

I was spinning around like a ballet dancer on Folgers, when the cop said, "Now, sing Ol' McDonald."

"All of it?" I asked.

"Only until the monkeys," he said.

"I don't remember any monkeys in Ol' McDonald," I said.

"They're right after the elephants," he replied.

"Oh," I said. "How does a monkey sound?"

"That's for you to figure out," he replied.

After I finished singing Daydream Believer in my best Davy Jones voice, the cop said, "You can stop now."

"How did I do?" I asked.

"I give it an eight," he said.

"Is that good?" I asked.

"Better than a seven," he replied. "Worse than a nine."

"Oh," I said. "May I go now?"

The cop shined his flashlight toward the cemetery entrance. "Walk on your hands to there," he said, "then turn around and walk on your hands back."

"That's a steep incline," I said.

"But it's downhill back to here," he said.

"One more thing, bark like a dog while walking on your hands."

"This isn't Candid Camera, is it?" I asked.

"No," the cop said, "this is a standard sobriety test in the police manual."

"Does the manual indicate what type dog I should bark like?" I asked.

"Don't be silly," the cop said. "That would violate your rights."

I barked like an English Bulldog on my way uphill.

On the way back, my hands were moving so fast I could only yelp a few times before blazing past the cop, hitting an oak tree, and bouncing into an open grave. So, this is what being dead feels like, I thought.

The cop shined his flashlight in my eyes. "What are you doing down there?" he asked.

"Trying to decide if I need medical treatment," I replied.

"Get out of there," he said.

Standing, I raised my arms to lift myself out. I'm three inches above six feet and my arms extend several feet above that. But I couldn't reach the top.

"This hole is deep," I said. "Throw down something and pull me out."

The end of a tow chain came flying down. "I hooked the other end to my patrol car," the cop said. "Hold on."

I wrapped the chain around my wrists and held on. The cop revved his patrol car faster and faster. I was about to yell, "Not that fast!" when the car shifted into gear. I flew out of the grave and remained airborne for at least a hundred feet before crashing head first into the ground.

After being released from the hospital, I pled guilty to listening to the ground without a license. I was fined $500 plus court costs and sentenced to 800 hours of community service.

I called the cellular communication company and told the man at the other end that Uncle Phil wouldn't be paying rental on the phone. He told me the rental fee would be paid or he would come and get the phone.

"Don't forget to bring a shovel," I said. "A crowbar wouldn't hurt either."



Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston, Tennessee 38570
tel 931.823.6485
fax 931.823.6486

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