Seems to be a lot of angry folks around here lately, so I'm going to start selling bumper stickers.
In the late 1970s, early 1980s, there was a charismatic figure in the Fort Worth, Texas area named Eddie Chiles. Eddie, who was on a first-name basis with all of Texas, was a self-made man, having started an oil supply company with two trucks and a few employees.
He grew the company to over 5,000 employees, bought the Texas Rangers baseball club and was an economic force in the state.
But what he was best identified with were the bumper stickers. The sticker read, "I'm mad, too, Eddie!"
It all started with his disdain for big government. Eddie was known to colorfully express his views about big government spending, especially the "Liberals in Congress," so much so that he was encouraged to express his views on the radio, where he could have a lasting effect.
So, over the course of three years, spending $2 million, Eddie had spread his gospel across 650 radio stations in the southwest and mountain states, anywhere his company, Western Company, was doing business.
His radio spots started with a a folksy, deep voice asking Eddie, "What are you mad about today, Eddie Chiles?"
Eddie would respond, "I'm Eddie Chiles, chief executive office of the Western Company, and I am mad…"
One example Eddie gave, according to an article on csmonitor.com, went like this:
"When I was a kid growing up in Itasca, Texas, we used to swap marbles. When you got a good, straight shooter, you held onto it. Too many liberals in Congress are just swapping out playing games. They say, 'I'll swap you a federal building in Tennessee for a defense contract in California’.”
And on Eddie went, raising his voice, getting mad across the airwaves on his own dime.
And before you knew it, "I'm mad, too, Eddie!" bumper stickers were everywhere. The phrase became a part of the lexicon. Half the people who said it or pasted it on their bumpers didn't really know what Eddie was mad about. But that didn't matter.
If your best friend came in complaining about the cost of a car repair, your immediate response was "I'm mad, too, Eddie!"
If your girlfriend was angry with you for being late, you tried to deflect her ire by saying "I'm mad, too, Eddie."
This all came back to me the other day when someone was complaining to me about the upcoming road construction in Ridgway, and how there had been enough already. Then on another day, someone else bemoaned to me that it was possible the Hot Springs Pool construction might be delayed. Then I heard bellyaching about the Ice Park, and how it might never be the same with the city running it.
Someone else lamented that the warm weather was hurting the local economy. And another grumbled that the city hired a part time person to manage the Ride the Rockies, after it told Ride the Rockies it didn't want it stopping in Ouray.
And, of course, everyone all over social media is mad, mad, mad about just about everything imaginable not involving cat videos.
With all these mad people, I just got to thinking that maybe we just need a phrase that everyone can use, something that can be inserted into any conversation at any time. Something that describes the whole angry undertone of the county quickly, without need to decipher the mood on the other end.
You won't have to go to the trouble of explaining yourself, just blurt out the phrase in a show of indignant brotherhood. We just need someone to share and direct the anger to.
Heck, why not the Plaindealer? We're used to someone at sometime or another being mad at us for something.
And while we're being the object of all this fury, we might as well make some money off the negative energy and sell bumper stickers:
"I'm mad, too, Beecher!"
When I pulled up to the office last week, parked in front of my office was one of Ouray County's Finest. He was patiently waiting on me, and promptly served me a subpoena to testify in Montrose County Court in May.
A year ago, Beecher and I were driving back from Grand Junction, and we noticed a car behind us weaving erratically across lines and lanes, at one point nearly swiping a passing car. It was so unnerving that when the car passed us, I moved onto the shoulder to be sure to give it wide berth.
We called 911.
We were told where to meet the officer who had pulled the car over, and when we did he was busy giving the driver a test or two.
The state trooper gave Beecher some paperwork to fill out describing what we saw. Little did I know, she described what I saw and attached my name to the report.
Thus, I get the subpoena.
Honestly, I think we should both have to go to court. If the district attorney only knew the complexity of what went into the decision-making process to make the 911 call, then he would know it was a joint act.
"Should we call?"
"I don't know. We better."
"Someone's going to get hurt."
"I bet someone else has already called."
"Nobody calls. No one wants to get involved."
"You're right. You call."
"No, you call. You're better with these things."
"The car's getting away. Someone better call."
"Ok. Ok. I'll call."
Now, if the district attorney only knew that getting this erratic driver off the road was an act by committee, he would have summoned the entire committee to court. Instead, it was my name that was put on the complaint form. So, I have one thing to say:
I'm mad, too, Beecher!
Alan Todd is co-publisher of the Ouray County Plaindealer. 970-325-2838 or firstname.lastname@example.org