The Tea Bag Chronicles
Tea Bag Tripwires
Discussions of National Missile Defense moved into my little town, and Leroy got involved.
From August 2001.
Well, the last time I told you about Andrew and Leroy they
were watching CNN on their new satellite dish, but the
payments lasted longer than Leroy's unemployment checks, so
they lost it. That's why they had to go down to
Bill-Fred's last week to watch the race on TV.
Bill-Fred's used to be called Bill's back when Bill Anderson
owned it. He painted his name on the front and both sides,
but he didn't bother with the back since only the Preacher
and a couple of the Deacons come in thataway.
Bill had to give up the place for health reasons, after his
wife said what she'd do to him if she caught him with
another bar-maid, and Fred Wilson took it over. Fred was a
bit short of cash and only repainted the front, so it looked
like either Fred-Bill's or Bill-Fred's dependin' on which
way you was comin'. Most folks call it Bill-Fred's since
it seems to sound a little classier.
Anyway, the race ended with a bit of fender bangin', and the
discussions got a little hostile among the fans. Things got
a bit agricultural, with folks casting asparagus at the
other side and makin' ad-hominy attacks.
Andrew got carried away arguin' with Chuck Bissell, and told
him he oughta name his house Rogaine Estates.
Now Chuck does have a bit of a Lunar haircut; when he walks
away from you it looks like the full moon is shinin' through
the trees. But he's a bit sensitive about it, and didn't
take it very well.
"Well", he said. "I'm glad you're so concerned about my
house. But you know, I can see you and Leroy's sorry-ass
trailer from my back porch, and I think you need a little
paint touch-up!" And then he went on out.
Given the circumstances, Leroy and Andrew didn't think they
were in for any free home maintenance. "He's gonna paint up
our trailer!", said Leroy. "We gotta stop him!"
They hustled on back home and started building their Bissel
defense system. They figured out where he'd walk from his
house to theirs, and laid out beer cans tied together with
strings to make noise. Then Leroy set up a tripwire tied to
a bag of water balloons over the trail. Andrew tested it,
but he dodged out of the way just after hittin' the wire and
the balloons missed.
"Well", said Leroy, "That's OK. I'm sure Chuck will just
stand there, he's so dumb!"
As it got dark, they decided to stay out in the back yard to
watch the results. Naturally, they brought out a few beers
to help pass the time. They woke up in the yard the next
morning, and nothing seemed to have happened. The trailer
looked just the same. Then they went around to the front
and saw Leroy's truck.
It was pink. It was Serious Pink. It was HOT PINK. Even
the windshield was painted pink, with just a heart shaped
clear spot in front of the steering wheel. It was a
gen-u-wine, full size Redneck Barbie Accessory Kit.
The boys were not happy. They called the Sheriff, and
Deputy Jimmy came out to investigate. The boys wanted Chuck
arrested, but Jimmy couldn't help.
"You boys don't have any evidence that Chuck did it. And
besides, Leroy, I saw your truck last week and to tell you
the truth, it don't look that much worse today. You ain't
got a case!"
"Well", Leroy told Andrew after Deputy Jimmy left, "We may
not have a case, but we definitely need one, or at least a
"OK", said Andrew, "But we ain't DRIVIN' to the 7-11, that's
for sure." And they set off a walkin' down the road.
When I heard about all this, it somehow reminded me of some
other things, so I went back to the house and ran a bunch of
tea bags through the wringer. Here's what I came up with:
1. National Missile Defense is like those perfumes you see
advertised on TV. It looks like a great idea until you
actually go down to the Mall and find out how much the
stuff costs. Then it makes a lot more sense to go home and
call up Miss Bertha the local Avon Lady for the foo-foo
juice, and use the change to buy your wife that new bowling
2. The money for NMD will be spent in a few high tech areas
and in Alaska. Money for Alaska has never been a big
political winner, and lots of folks consider California a
3. In contrast, every Air Force bomber, every Army
division, and every Navy ship is equipped with a Mayor,
City Council, and US Representative and Senator. When
things get serious, the local third grade classes produce
posters saying "Please Save Our Base; My Daddy Needs His
4. Cutting back locally visible, economically important
conventional forces to pay for a potential defense against
an hypothetical weapon produced by an unknown enemy is just
not going to sell.
5. NMD opponents can easily defuse criticism by simply
funding "continuing research" at an affordable level, using
a few billion dollars to stall.
6. In short, NMD is not going to happen in any realistic,
significant way for the forseeable future. However,
administrations from both parties will claim to be "working
Bob McKellar - Comments welcome at
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