J. D. Phelps, deceased, former operator of the Humble Gas Station on the Corsicana Highway, philosopher with no equal in all of Central Texas, driver of a fine Mercury automobile, and previous daily frequenter of the County Line Beer Joint on the Waco Highway had no equal when it came to spinning tales. J. D. could put hair on any story and never crack a smile. Most think he was a little bit crazy, but most chickens think the same thing about most foxes. Anyway, the folks at the Cafe, when completely bored, play a game named after Mr. Phelps called "Even J. D. Couldn't Make This Up".
Joe B. Heard, resident of Irene, Texas, population of not many, and former home of this writer's first and only spouse, tossed the ball up to start by reading semi-verbatim the following newspaper item:
"ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York Gov. David Paterson on Thursday promised to finally start collecting taxes on cigarettes sold by Native American stores (that would be Indians in plain talk), despite state police warnings that such enforcement could result in 'violence and death'."
"The state plans to collect a $4.35-per-pack sales tax on cigarettes sold by Native American retailers to non-Indian customers beginning next Wednesday."
"Tribes have refused to collect the tax, citing their sovereignty and treaties dating to 1794. The last time the state tried to collect the tax, in 1997, protests erupted and tires were burned on the Thruway, shutting down a 30-mile stretch. Hell, sounds like a return to Little Big Horn."
"There will be quite an uprising and protest to this, but I am going to maintain this policy," Paterson said.
"This is a very dangerous situation," he told WOR-AM Thursday. "There is a -- I think -- high alert. The State Police tells us over and over again that there could be violence and death as a result of some of the measures we're taking. Somebody would have to tell Paterson because he is literally blind as a drunk Saturday night bat. I'm not lying. I've seen him on TV."
"Seneca Indian President Barry Snyder has repeatedly said 'violence is not on our agenda,' but the nation's leadership acknowledges that some of the tribe's more than 7,000 members might disagree. I never knew an Indian chief named Barry. Only in New York."
"The tax on Indian cigarettes is expected to generate about $200 million a year in revenue. Tribal retailers would still be able to sell cigarettes tax-free to members. Sounds like they are encouraging Indians to smoke, I guess the State doesn't mind killing off some of the tribes with them throwing tires in the street, huh?"
"New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently said the governor should act like a cowboy with a shotgun and enforce the state tax law. What dumb asses. Most cowboys don't shoot shotguns."
"Paterson called those comments "inappropriate." The mayor's remarks also drew sharp criticism from the Senecas and Oneidas. Oneida Nation Representative Ray Halbritter said Bloomberg's imagery was as distasteful to his tribe as if someone urged Nazis to take action against Jews. These are awfully big words for an Indian."
Joe B's reading just about took all of the wind out the game for most of the serious players. Sweet Lou Tekell, former All District wide receiver so he wouldn't have to block too much, limped in with an "Even J. D. Couldn't Make This Up" story about the profoundly Liberal former General Wesley Clark. Sweet Lou says, "Clark was interviewed this weekend in support of Obama's strategy in the good war, that being Afghanistan. Clark said we had 100,000 troops there for two good reasons. First to go after Al Queda even though Al Queda has left Afghanistan and gone to Pakistan, Somolia, Yemen, and even Mexico. Secondly, we need the troops in Afghanistan in case a war breaks out between Pakistan and India. And that was it. He never mentioned the Taliban who are the guys we are fighting and Obama is trying to make peace with. Seems like Liberal Generals like to have lots of troops in places where there is no enemy." Sweet Lou finished third in the game.
Coming in second place was JJ Weatherby, ancestor of the former Ford dealer in Hubbard City for years before it closed because just about everything else in Hubbard had already closed. J. J's entry was, "J. D. could not make up a story where the Federal Government bankrupts G.M., gives them $50 billion with a 'b', stiffs stock and bond holders breaking all bankruptcy laws, gives the Unions 17% ownership in the company, lays off thousands of workers, closes dozens of plants, closes hundreds of dealerships, and then, and then (I repeat for emphasis) takes G.M public again to make Goldman Sachs and the bankers (who Obama says he hates) tons of money. Now this is a stock you would love to own after what happened to previous bond holders, right? Meanwhile Ford with no stimulus 'rocks'."
Well, I knew J. D. well, him being my former employer and all. Joe B, Lou, and JJ would would make him proud. I hope they keep playing the game even though I know J. D. Could Have Made These Things Up---and then some.