Commercial Record

Blue Star

By Scott Sullivan
Axe Throwing
There’s a strip on Plainfield Drive in Grand Rapids where tattoo/piercing, liquor and ax-throwing shops come in quick succession. You don’t need to even cross the street.
We all like trifectas, so which first? Having seen Ed Ames “teach” Johnny Carson to throw a tomahawk on The Tonight Show, I might need a stiff one — beverage, that is — to start.
Ed’s aim was off, or on, depending, 56 years ago should you wish to view the video. A few shots of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey might inure me to an errant axe thrown later.
So much for piercing. I can’t tell you how many tattoos I haven’t had but it’s never too late to start. After Fireballs and stitches I’ll be ready.
“Whaddya want and where?” the guy with the ink gun would ask.
“Pests on my posterior,” I’d say.
“Dogs or cats?”
“Pests, not pets,” I’d say, not that there’s a difference.
“Why pests?” he’d ask.
“To mark the National Pest Management Association releasing its biannual Bug Barometer,” I’d say. “After an exceptionally warm winter, with more warm temperatures and rain expected, they figure we’ll have more mosquitoes, ants, ticks and termites than we can deal with.”
“You want one or more of them on your rump?” he’d ask. “Why?”
“They see it, they’ll figure I’m already occupied.”
“You’re going to walk around with your a** hanging out?”
“Fat guys in low-slung pants do it all the time,” I’d say.
“What about all those bugs coming?”
“The NMPA suggests residents seal cracks.”
“I’m not gonna go there,” he’d say. “Get out!”
Seeking truth is not for the faint of heart. East of there lies Lowell, where a cop last week was cleared by prosecutors after allegedly kicking a possum off the road and swearing.
A motorist filed charges after stopping March 16 because two possums — one dead, the other playing guess what? — were lying on the road before him.
Police, alerted a car was stopped in a 55-mph zone, arrived. Body cams showed the officer using the side of his shoe to shoo the still-living beast away.
CYA (I don’t mean tattoos) time. Kent County prosecutor Chris Becker ruled there was no evidence the policeman used undue force on the possum nor swore while doing so. The driver was cleared too, because, “We cannot prove he knowingly filed a false report,” Becker said.
Who pays when all walk after time, court appearances and processing because we presume innocence without proof beyond reasonable doubt? We taxpayers. Hand me another Fireball. The Bible tells us we’re all sinners and locks us up inside mortal bodies until we die.
After that I repaired to the Pullman Tavern, where Ed Ames was practicing hatchet throwing. In walked the possum cop and tattoo guy.
“Fancy meeting you here,” I said.
“You’re the one who makes this stuff up,” said the bartender.
“I’m bugged about bugs,” I said. “The NMPA says we’ll get a boatload.”
“Gimme a grasshopper,” said the tattoo guy.
“Stinger for me,” said the possum cop.
“Hey,” I complained. “My tequila has a worm in it.”
WHACK! “Not any longer,” said Ed. “I split it.”
“Spilt it too. My drink, not the worm.”
The possum cop drained his stinger. “You’re all under arrest,” he said.
“For what?”
“Whatever I make up,” said Becker, who’d just walked in. The possum cop kicked me and cursed, then the others joined him.
“I knew you’d be trouble,” said the bartender, “when I saw the axe sticking out of you.”
“I though I’d removed it.”
“You should see his butt,” the tattoo guy threatened.
“Kiss it,” I said. Then we all started throwing axes. It’s a sport you can see on TV, so you know it’s real.
“Have I told you about my wife’s pets?” I told the bartender.
“Over and over. That does it, I quit,” he said.
“Open bar!” the tattoo guy exclaimed.
Nothing brings guys together like drinking unless it’s axe-throwing, kicking possums or griping about how unfair the other sex is. E pluribus unum. Is this a great land or what?

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