Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Stuff You Did Not Make Up....But Wish You Had.

An interesting day yesterday on the news wire for stories under the heading of "Stupid is as stupid does".

Close to home, the Somerville New Jersey police reported the arrest of a man from Brooklyn, N.Y. for possessing (and clearly imbibing from....as shall become apparent in short order) an open container of alcohol in one of Somerville's municipal parking lots. What made the arrest of Douglas Willis newsworthy is not what he did. Who among us has not been arrested and/or ticketed for possessing an open container of alcohol in public? I know I once was (Boulder Colorado Fall of '87) and had to make an appearance before Judge Richard Hanson to pay the fine. No, what made the arrest of Douglas Willis newsworthy was his explanation for why he did what he did.

Apparently, when spotted by Patrolman Troy Powell on the afternoon of August 1st just maxing and relaxing as it were in Lot No. 4 with his open bottle of Bacardi rum, Willis (remember, he is from Brooklyn) used what is in my humble opinion an underutilized defense: geography. "Willis stated that he was from Las Vegas and that he could not get used to not being able to drink in the street," Powell's report states. Patrolman Powell's report does not indicate whether he responded to the arrestee by paying homage to Arnold Drummond.

Permissible public intoxication in Vegas explains not only the astounding success of certain cheesy Strip entertainers but also the reports of Willis jamming the dryers at the Grove Street laundromat with quarters for hours earlier that afternoon, watching them spin round and round and betting on where and when they were going to stop.

For quite some time yesterday I thought Mr. Willis would occupy the gold medal platform. Then, in the late afternoon, my brother Bill sent me a link to an article from one of the newspapers from 'neath his snow globe and opened my eyes to the epic tale of Przemyslaw Panfil.

According to the news report, Mr. Panfil was apparently arrested late Friday night/early Saturday morning for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, evading responsibility and improper passing. While being held at the State Police barracks in Montville, Connecticut Mr. Panfil decided to try his hand (God - I hope it was his hand) at performance art. According to the State Police, he smeared his feces both on himself and in and around his holding cell early Saturday.

My favorite part of the story is not what he did - but the apparent amount of time he spent doing it. Panfil spent about three hours decorating the interior of his cell, the report stated, before he was moved to Corrigan-Radgowski Correctional Center and the cell was cleaned. Three hours? Two questions leap immediately to the forefront of my mind. First, no one checked on him and/or monitored him via video camera for three hours? Wow, good thing he was not a threat to take his own life. Second, what the hell did he eat that he was able to produce enough source material to allow his muse to be his guide for three hours? If it was something he ate while in custody at the barracks, then perhaps we should remove those food items from the menu.

For his efforts, Panfil earned himself a new charge: third-degree criminal mischief. And because the newspaper printed his home address, all of his neighbors will know not to allow their kids to accept any of his "homemade" brownies when trick-or-treating on Halloween. Hey, Mr. Panfil how do you get those candy corns inside of your brownies? You do not want to know. Trust me kids, you do not want to know.

Now life's like a box of chocolates,
You never know what you're going to get
Stupid is as stupid does and all the rest of that shit

Come on pretty baby, call my bluff
'Cause for you my best was never good enough.

But in the case of Messrs. Willis and Panfil, it was pretty damned close indeed.

-AK

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