Blooming tulips at the front door of the coffee shop down the street from the grain elevator added a bit of color to the otherwise drab exterior. Several pick-ups were parked in the gravel lot including a rusty old Studebaker. I knew Eb Griper was enjoying a cup of joe this morning.
I found my way to the booth were Eb was sitting alone. His barbed wire personality finds Eb sitting alone frequently.
“Got room for another coffee drinker?” I asked as I slid into the other side of the booth.
“Do you really want an answer to that?” Eb snapped.
“Hey, Eb, I know you worship the ground I walk on. Don’t pretend you don’t.”
Eb rolled his eyes and muttered, “Have a seat.”
Eb was reading the morning newspaper when I arrived. “Anything exciting in the paper today?” I asked.
“Exciting? No!” Eb said. “Crazy? Yes!”
“What do you mean ‘crazy?’”
“Listen to this,” Eb said. He began reading a story from the newspaper: “A West Virginia man is dead after he and an accomplice tried to steal copper wire by shooting down high-tension power lines with a rifle, authorities said.”
Eb stared at me through his grease-smeared wire rim glasses. “Now, ain’t that nuts?” he demanded.
“Can’t argue with you,” I responded. “There are a lot of nut jobs out there.”
“That’s the problem,” Eb said. “There’s too many nut jobs and they are destroying my freedoms!”
“How so?” I asked.
“Consider this,” Eb began, “I read where some cities in Iowa are putting cameras on the red lights to take photos of people who run red lights. Then the cops send them a ticket and ding them for a big fine.”
“Yeah, a lot of people hate those cameras.”
“But that’s the problem,” Eb continued. “If people would stop for red lights we wouldn’t need the cameras. I had a green arrow the other day and three cars turned in front of me AFTER I got the green arrow. Why kind of driving is that? It’s no wonder we’re losing our freedoms.
The nut jobs aren’t smart enough to obey the lights.”
“Well, you have a point.”
“Another thing,” Eb said, now getting red in the face. “Those stupid speed cameras. If people used common sense and drove reasonably we wouldn’t need them. Everyone ought to drive an old Studebaker pick-up like me. They wouldn’t have to worry about speeding unless they were going down a steep hill in a 15 mile per hour zone.”
“Well, not everyone drives an old Studebaker, Eb. Some of those new cars can go so fast the cops have trouble catching them.”
“That’s another thing,” Eb said. “What kind of idiot thinks he can outrun a dozen cops?”
“Well, probably a drunk or stoned idiot…”
“Again common sense comes up short. I like a brewskie now and then myself but for pity sake I don’t drown myself in it. Idiots!”
“Yeah, we do some to have a lot of people not exercising common sense these days,” I agreed.
“Oh, it’s all over society,” Eb said, almost crying. “There’s more idiots per capita today than ever before. Even Hilda’s brother, Herman, was smarter than some the idiots I see out there today.”
“I didn’t know Hilda had a brother…”
“Don’t ask,” Eb interrupted. “He was a real nimrod!”
“A nimrod. A dunce. A fat-head. A yuck. A creep…
“Okay… okay! I get the picture.”
“”Sometimes I worry about you, boy!”
“Hey, I’m not one of your problems,” I said. “Remember, I’m one of the few that’s smart enough to spend time with you.”
Eb shook his head. Then he said, “I’ve been thinking about this common sense thing.
I’ve decided that common sense is like deodorant.”
“For crying out loud, what does that mean?”
“Common sense is like deodorant,” Eb repeated. “Those who need it the most don’t use it.”