People should try to allegedly stop and think

August 11, 2005|by TIM ROWLAND


Help is on the way. And I say this not to the general, law-abiding public, but to Hagerstown's poor, misunderstood criminal element, whose antics have taken a turn for the stupid, of late.

As we speak, I am organizing a series of classes for criminals. These classes will not teach lawless individuals how to cheat, steal and pillage. They seem to understand these basic concepts already.

Rather, they will teach them how to cheat, steal and pillage in a way that does not bring total embarrassment to themselves, and the community of Hagerstown in general.


For example, here's an example of a lesson taken directly from the syllabus on interaction with law enforcement authorities: "When a police officer, upon effecting arrest of self, asks you for your name, do not tell him your name is 'James Bond.'"

This is doubly true if you have not only robbed a woman (allegedly) but assaulted a police officer later in the day (allegedly) and fled (allegedly) from authorities. If you do all this and then, when you are finally caught, you tell the lawman your name is James Bond, the officer is very liable to think to himself: Not Funny.

Of course, this exact scene played out (allegedly) ...

(I'm sorry about all these allegedlies, but the lawyers insist we use them when we write about crime. We journalists do not even know why we use the word, it's just that we're taught that if we feel we're on shaky ground, we can ladle in an "allegedly" and that makes things satisfactory again. It's like when you were a kid, calling "times" would protect you against getting tagged. It's the same idea.)

... in Hagerstown recently, and might have won top prize for criminal weirdness were it not for the gentleman who, while robbing a store, allowed himself to be locked into the establishment he was trying to rob.

Here's the 411. Back in March, a gent walked into Wayne's Country Store and told the clerk, Peggy Moats, that he wanted access to the cash register. To punctuate his desire, he hit her a few times and threatened gunfire.

Moats, thinking faster than any crook (or possibly any politician, for that matter) in Hagerstown ever has, grabbed the keys, scrambled outside - and locked the door. This situation proved too difficult a brainteaser for the perp to master, and the best he could do was hide in the broom closet until the arrival of the police.

Bummer. Traditionally, a thief has to pick the lock to get in.

But then, this is Hagerstown, isn't it?

And speaking of which, it leads me to this press release from the Hagerstown Suns minor league baseball franchise: "In a nod to Morgan Spurlock's movie "Super Size Me," Suns intern Joel Pagliaro will eat nothing but ballpark food for the entire month of August.

"His diet will consist of the following foods available from the Suns concession stand: hot dogs, hamburgers, cheese steaks, chicken sandwiches, pulled pork, Italian sausages, french fries, cheeseburger fries, popcorn chicken, nachos, hot pretzels, popcorn, candy, ice cream, peanuts, sunflower seeds and soda."

Your first question, of course is, "What, no beer?"

Your second question is, "How is this materially different from the typical Hagerstonian diet?"

Thirty days? No offense to the Suns, but half of Hagerstown has been living on hot dogs and nacho cheese for the better part of 30 years. It's not as if you're setting any records here, Joel. As a matter of fact, ballpark food may be significantly healthier than what most people around here are used to. I mean, sunflower seeds? What are we trying to do here, put fitness celebrity John Basedow out of work?

Last time Locust Street saw something as nutritious as a hot pretzel, you could still buy white lightning by the hogshead. In fact, I'm fairly certain that - what's this? I've just been handed a bulletin that says, no kidding, the ballpark-food gag has been quashed by the Suns' standards and practices department. Apparently, there was some concern that 30 days worth of ballpark food could somehow be actionable.

Unbelievable. Dude wants to eat Italian sausage for a month and the attorneys won't let him. But what if he goes ahead and eats the ballpark menu on is own accord, what are the lawyers going to do about it, subpoena a bratwurst?

Pity the Suns aren't graduates of journalism school - this all could have been so easily avoided if their press release had just said, "His diet will (allegedly) consist of the following foods ... "

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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