Way to go, Billy Triplett

Dan Rodricks

February 22, 1991|By Dan Rodricks

Pieces of column too short to use:

No more cheap thrills for reporters who intercept those poison-pen letters from William Donald Schaefer. The Guv says he won't be launching them anymore. Too bad. We were getting used to them -- the way reporters in Saudi Arabia were getting used to Scud attacks. (Incoming!!) Each letter resulted from virtually the same sequence of events: A cranky constituent would write a letter to the editor of a Maryland newspaper, Schaefer or one of his lap dogs would spot it, Schaefer would read it, get all red in the head and launch a doozie of a sarcastic response.

The recipient would send a copy to a newspaper reporter who, in turn, would reprint Schaefer's missive. Now, this isn't going to happen anymore. Fortunately, Mr. Alfred Feher sent us a copy of a Schaefer love note from last April. The Evening Sun had published a letter by Mr. Feher, in which he criticized Schaefer and called for Marylanders to vote him out of office. "Dear Ole Al," Schaefer replied. "Nice 'letter to the editor' April 30th 1990. It is always helpful to read positive and constructive suggestions. No! The people are not 'dumb' as you state -- I know of only one! Regards, Don Schaefer." Missile intercepted, Governor. Better late than never, I say.

*

On the short list of "sounds that haunt" must be the sound of a telephone that rings endlessly in the house of an elderly parent. That was the sound Joyce Meyers heard last Friday afternoon when she called her 83-year-old mother, Mildred Smith. Mrs. Meyers lives in Glen Arm; her mother lives in Hamilton. "She's forgetful," Mrs. Meyers said.

"Sometimes she takes her hearing aid off, or misplaces it." What Mrs. Meyers did not know was that her mother had slipped and fallen in her yard. She had landed by a tall oak tree while trying to cut through a hedge on the way to her next door neighbor's house. It was a bitterly cold day in Baltimore. Mrs. Smith's neighbor was not home at the time. No one knows how long Mrs. Smith lay on the ground until Billy Triplett came along. Billy is a 15-year-old student at Mervo. He was walking home from the bus stop when he heard Mrs. Smith's faint cry.

"I could see her ankle was bleeding," Billy said. He ran into Mrs. Smith's house and dialed 911. He grabbed an afghan off the couch in the living room, placed it over Mrs. Smith and waited for the ambulance to arrive. "She was pretty calm," he said. "She kept saying, 'Thank God he came, thank God he came.' And I said, 'Well, sure . . . .' " A few minutes later, neighbors were stirring and coming around. The ambulance arrived shortly after that. Mrs. Smith was taken to St. Joseph's Hospital. She had a compound fracture of the left leg. She'll be in a cast for months. "That boy deserves a lot of credit," Mrs. Meyers said. Way to go, Billy.

* That so-called rally to boost Governor Schaefer as a candidate for president was a bust. It was supposed to be a satirical tribute to the Mighty One, but it was actually a lame prank by a bunch of college boys. The youngsters showed up at the State House with miniature outhouses on their heads -- a reference to Schaefer's Eastern Shore comments -- and a few hastily written signs. Then the youngsters bashed away. They hit Schaefer on taxes, they hit him for supporting a ban on assault rifles. But it was lame, lame, lame. When it comes to political entertainment, it's hard to beat Schaefer at his own game.

* Seen on Saratoga Street: A window of a photography studio loaded with photographs of happy people at big family events. In one of the photos a bride and groom, resplendent in nuptial white, are about to enter a red BMW. In the rear window of the BMW is a baseball cap. On the front of the baseball cap are the words, "Begging is not considered foreplay."

* The March issue of Baltimore magazine brings the sad announcement that Meyer "Meyer The Buyer" Finkelstein, Baltimore's 80-year-old king of the whoopie cushion, is getting ready to close Recreation Novelty on Park Avenue. Say it ain't so!! Where am I going to buy ice cubes with eyeballs and dead flies? Where are we going to get rubber chickens, peanut cans stuffed with coiled snakes, Groucho glasses and tacky party favors? Meyer's shop is the last of a kind. He made shopping retail for jokes an adventure. You should have seen him demonstrate the proper use of a whoopie cushion. Oh, well. What can you do? Kent's of Broadway sold the last G-string two years ago. Sherman's Newsstand closed after the legendary Abe died. Thank God we still have House of Foam.

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