Down with the crows

November 16, 1998

It had to come down to it sooner or later, and last week I had a rather unpleasant conversation with Mayor Bob Bruchey.

Actually, all the unpleasantness took place on my side of the net. "Look," I hissed. "Fifteen months now you've been in office and you've given me nothing. No material whatsoever. No missing whirlpools, no minorities arrested in the streetcorner, no scenes with County Commissioners in the middle of a Chamber of Commerce forum, no Tonight Show appearances - nothing.

"You think I'm creative enough to make stuff up? Well I'm not. There, you happy? I'm not. I need you to get out there and do something freaky

I have to put bread on the table too, and that means I need something to write about. And frankly, you are not getting the job done."


The mayor nodded sympathetically and said he'd make more of an effort if the opportunity arose, but I don't put any faith in it. No brave ever made chief by trusting the U.S. government.

And when he took office, Mayor Bruchey seemed so full of promise. After all, didn't he run on one of those law and order campaigns? I was sure in two weeks he'd me doing the Al Haig "I'm in charge here" dance and riding around on the hood of police cars taking down anyone who looked at him crossways with a cattle prod.

I even gave him a grace period. Pork chops for breakfast? Didn't say a word. But since then, nothing. I've been staring over at City Hall, drumming my fingers like the Grinch staring down on Whoville, dissatisfied beyond comprehension.

I can't imagine that you aren't dissatisfied too. Washington County can stand a lot of things; quiet, normal government isn't one of them.

It isn't just the mayor. Face it, nothing noisy is happening in Hagerstown. Even the demolition of the Antietam Street warehouse is going quietly, with workcrews merely nibbling away at the concrete like a Leeds duchess on a stale crumpet.

Where's the wrecking ball? Where's the dynamite? Where's the violence?

We need someone who will grab this city by the lapels and shake it up. Someone to rattle cages, step on toes and barge over delicate policy issues in a single barge.

And where do we find such a person? Let me refer you to last Wednesday's headline: "Council woman thinks crows should be killed."

"The birds need to be terminated," said Susan Saum-Wicklein, during a Tuesday council meeting.

Need I say more? That's terminated. Not eradicated, not dispersed, not euthanized, not put to sleep, not sent off into niti-nite land. We're talking Ozzie Osborne bite their heads off throw the carcass on the sidewalk squash them into the pavement with the heel of your jackboot spit on their graves terminated. Take that, you feathered scalawags.

The only thing missing was Susan giving a throaty roar and running out of the council chambers like John Belushi in Animal House when he learns Delta's charter has been revoked. "Who's with me?"

I am councilwoman, I am. The animal rights groups will object? To the pound with them! PETA doesn't live in downtown Hagerstown and it doesn't drive a black car. I do both. I have to live with the scum. In fact, the only problem I see with poisoning or shooting the crows is that it isn't sadistic enough.

I'd like to go back and find that kid in grade school who used to pull the wings off of flies - see what he's doing these days, and does he have any spare time on his hands.

So you go councilwoman. I want to see you on a rooftop with a Ruger Mini 14, bandaleros across your chest. Permits? We don't need no stinking permits. Turn downtown into a HotSpot for crows. Make them run for their lives. Teach them you can't spell cowardice without c-r-o-w.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist

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