Chris Rose: A Secret Visit
Watching your words
There’s an old crank in the woods who spends an untoward amount of time ranting on Facebook. He has little else to do anymore.
His posts can be quite vitriolic but folks who know him generally see him as a mild fellow, not one prone to road rage or physical violence or any such crimes against fellow humans. He loves puppies and cupcakes. He’s afraid of cockroaches. He misses his mom.
But he has this abnormal habit of unleashing his darker soul upon the inhabitants of Facebook. Truth is, when at the keyboard of his laptop, he goes bat shit crazy.
He does so by vehemently expressing his views about the man who occupies the Oval Office. He’s not a fan. And apparently has no apprehension – or grace – about expressing such.
A few weeks ago, the man in the Oval Office rankled the old crank to such a degree that when the man in the Oval Office contracted COVID, the crank wrote a post wishing him a long, slow and painful recovery.
He might have even wished him worse. It wasn’t the crank’s best moment.
Apparently, the crank’s rantings and ravings in such a public forum caught the attention of the Secret Service – the federal agency tasked with the safety of the man in the Oval Office.
Was there a possible danger lurking in the woods of South Louisiana? Because, after all, it’s always an angry old white guy in isolation in the woods who generally makes really bad stuff happen. We all know that. It’s not unreasonable to think so.
The Secret Service, they take this stuff seriously. They have to. It’s the point of their job, after all.
And so, one day not long ago, the old crank was sitting on the porch of the cabin in the woods (red flag!) that he shares with his partner. Their driveway is a popular turnaround spot for people who are lost or confused on their stretch of country highway. Happens every day: A car pulls in, backs out, drives away.
Even though he’s a crank, he always waves a friendly hello to those who have technically breached the property where he lives in sullen isolation and madness.
Everybody needs a place to change course, right?
One recent morning, however, a big shiny sedan pulls in and doesn’t back out. “What’s this?” the crank says to his partner, in the way Sherlock Holmes says that to Dr. Watson.
“This” turns out to be two young agents from the Secret Service paying what you might call an “investigatory visit” to the old crank. They turn out to be very earnest, understanding, respectful and professional in every sense. They just want to know what the crank’s intentions are.
Turns out that, prior to their visit, they had interviewed several of the crank’s former colleagues at a newspaper where he used to be employed. As well as his ex-wife and the parents of several of the crank’s children’s friends.
The Secret Service is thorough if nothing else. Hell, the crank doesn’t even know the parents of his children’s friends. They wanted to know: Is this guy crazy? Is he a threat? It seems the common responses were: “Yes, he’s crazy. But no, he is definitely not a threat. He cries when he watches old movies.”
(The crank, he is grateful to those who stood by his character during these arduous times.)
What began as an interrogation turned into a conversation and – as the federal agents exhibited a highly developed sense of humor – there was even some laughter. Measured laughter, but still, laughter. But as their business is, well, serious business, it ended with an admonition.
One agent told the crank as he left: It’s all good. Just remember though, you can’t write “KTP.”
It was code I understood. The K rhymes with whale food, TP is the guy in the Oval Office. The President. And although the crank did not express that exact intention in his ravings, he did – perhaps – suggest that COVID do the job instead.
Bad form, the crank realizes. Very bad form.
Lesson here, dear readers: Watch your words. Don’t be a stupid and flailing old crank in the woods wasting the valuable time of federal agents who have real dangers to address on a daily basis without having to drive out to the country to find out if said crank is an actual threat to the Republic.
Just scream at the TV instead.