Bad Roger defends having police do governor's chores

ROGER SIMON

July 29, 1992|By ROGER SIMON

Good Roger threw down his newspaper in disgust.

"This is an outrage to journalism!" he shouted.

"Pipe down!" Bad Roger said from deep in his Barcalounger. "I'm trying to watch women's weight lifting on the Olympics Triplecast."

"Since when did we get the Triplecast?" Good Roger asked.

"Since I found your credit card in the couch cushions," Bad Roger replied.

Good Roger is the decent side of me, the side that went into journalism to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

Bad Roger went into journalism for the free felt tip pens.

"I cannot believe the latest outrage perpetrated upon the people of this state by His Royal Lowness William Donald Schaefer!" Good Roger said, an uncharacteristic note of sarcasm in his voice.

"Do I detect an uncharacteristic note of sarcasm in your voice?" Bad Roger asked.

"It is yet another sign of how our governor drives decent people to their wits' end," Good Roger said. "I am so angry I could just spit."

"Use the ficus tree," Bad Roger said. "That's what I always do."

"Look at this story," Good Roger said. "It says the governor is using state police officers to go grocery shopping, do household chores and walk Schaefer's dog, Willie."

"So what?" Bad Roger said. "Those things are probably necessary for security."

"Walking the governor's dog is necessary for security?" Good Roger said. "How do you figure that?"

"Simple," said Bad Roger. "Let's say you are a Libyan terrorist who has come over to Annapolis by submarine to destroy our national will by attacking William Donald Schaefer. First thing you do is get a stick of dynamite. Then you wait by a fire hydrant for Willie to come by. Then you grab Willie by one end and take the stick of dynamite and slowly . . . "

"STOP! I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ANY MORE!" Good Roger screamed, covering his ears.

"You're right," Bad Roger said. "I don't want to give away any secrets in case the Libyans haven't figured it out yet. But that's why Willie has to be walked by an armed state trooper."

"Even if I concede that one," Good Roger said, "what security needs are fulfilled by troopers doing the governor's grocery shopping?"

"Are you kidding me?" Bad Roger said. "Last time Schaefer went shopping for himself, he got into a huge fight with a guy in the 10 Items or Less Line. Schaefer said the guy's six pack of beer should count for six items and the guy said, no, it was only one item and . . . "

"This is unbelievable," Good Roger said.

"So Schaefer says to the guy: 'Hey, look over there!' And as soon as the guy looks away, Hilda Mae hits him with a stiff right to the gut and the guy goes down like a sack of potatoes," Bad Roger said. "And so you can see why state troopers now have to do all the shopping."

"If any of that had really happened it would have been in all the newspapers," Good Roger said.

"Wrong," Bad Roger said. "Grocery employees are covered by the governor's gag order. And the next day the governor called the guy and promised him free rides on the state MedEvac chopper if he would dummy up. So now it's all cool."

"Speaking of the gag order," Good Roger said, "ordering people not to talk to the press is another outrage."

"Naw, it's a great thing," Bad Roger said. "Because if somebody won't talk to you, that means you can make up all their quotes. I learned that in journ school.

"What journalism school taught you that?" Good Roger said.

"I can't remember the name," Bad Roger said, "but it's on a matchbook around here somewhere."

"Well, let me be the first to inform you that a newspaper can never make up quotes," Good Roger said.

"Sure it can," Bad Roger said. "Let's say I call the governor and say: 'Hey, I hear you got Elvis living in the basement of the mansion playing gin rummy with the state troopers.' And the governor says: 'You make me gag. No comment.' Well, as soon as he says that, I am free to make up whatever story I want like: 'Gov. Schaefer said yesterday that he is renaming Maryland "Presleyland" and will force all residents to get ducktail haircuts and wear white sequined jumpsuits.' "

"I do believe that you are as loony as the governor," Good Roger sighed.

"Hey!" Bad Roger said. "I may be bad, but I'm not that bad."

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