Sunday, October 07, 2007
Are You Ready For O'Reilly?
I was in the yard working when my wife came out of the house.
"Ummm....honey," she said, "what are you doing?"
"Just putting up a fence, Pookie," I said.
"Is that barbed wire?" she said.
"Concertina wire, actually."
"Uh-huh. And why exactly do we need...hey, what's in those boxes?"
"What boxes?" I said as innocently as I could.
"Don't even try that with me," she warned. "You know very well what boxes."
"Oh, those boxes. That's ammo."
She sighed. "What kind of ammo? We don't have a gun in the house."
"Ah, well. Um. I've been meaning to talk to you about that."
"What? Did you get a....oh, my God. Is that a machine gun?"
"Yeah," I said. "Belt-fed, air-cooled .50-caliber. Isn't it a beauty?"
"Why in God's name do you need a machine gun? And concertina wire? And..." there was a muffled explosion from the back yard. My wife closed her eyes. "Tell me that wasn't what I think it was."
"Did you think it was a land mine?"
"Oh, no," she said, "You didn't. Tell me you didn't."
"Don't worry," I said. "The kids and pets are all inside. It was probably just a squirrel."
"Do you mind telling me just what the heck is going on?"
"Bill O'Reilly? The Fox News guy?"
"He's gone nuts, honey. And he's coming. For me."
"He's coming," she said skeptically. "Here. To Carthage, North Carolina."
"That's what he said."
"This I have to hear. When, exactly? Or more important, why?"
I sat down in the porch rocker and started inserting bullets into the belt that feeds the machine gun.
"It all started," I said, "after O'Reilly did a bit on his radio show about his visit to Sylvia's restaurant in Harlem. He said, he 'couldn't get over the fact that there was no difference between Sylvia's restaurant and any other restaurant in New York City' and was amazed that 'it was exactly the same, even though it's run by blacks, primarily black patronship. There wasn't any kind of craziness at all. ... There wasn't one person in Sylvia's who was screaming, 'M-F-er, I want more iced tea!"
"Wow," she said, "He was actually surprised to see black people behaving like....well, people? What a jerk."
"Shhhhh," I said frantically. "He'll hear you!"
"You're not the only one to think what O'Reilly said was patronizing and racist. A Web site called Media Matters gave him a lot of grief for it, and even reported that the owner of the restaurant was offended by it. And it made O'Reilly really, really mad."
"So what?" she said. "Being really, really mad is what he does. It's his whole shtick."
"You don't understand!" I said desperately. "He's gone crazy! He went on the air and said: 'These people aren't getting away with this. I'm going to go right where they live. Every corrupt media person in this country is on notice, right now. I'm coming after you. And I don't care if it's Bill O'Reilly, Hillary Clinton, Rudy Giuliani, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama. Anybody smeared by any media from now on, I'm holding them accountable. I'm going to hunt you down. I'm coming to your house. I'm coming to your house. You'll have a camera up your nose. OK? Everybody got it out there? I hope everybody's got it, because I'm mad as hell and I'm not taking it anymore!"
"Sweetheart," she said, "I've been meaning to tell you. That O'Reilly imitation really creeps me out."
"Sorry," I said, "But we need to concentrate on what's important here. I've said nasty things about Bill O'Reilly for years. I even kept ragging on him about the whole sexual harassment thing when he told his assistant he wanted to massage her with a falafel!"
"That was pretty funny," she said.
" Sure it's funny!" I shouted. "Until he snaps! I didn't know he'd go over the edge like this. He's out there! With a camera! And he wants to put it up my nose! We have to be ready!"
"Oh, stop it," she snapped. "Bill O'Reilly's not coming to put a camera up anyone's nose. He's just a loudmouthed, thin-skinned bully who mghmph "
I had leaped up and put my hand over my wife's mouth.
"She didn't mean it, Bill!" I shouted. "She's just kidding!"
"Mghmgph!" my wife said furiously. I let her go.
"We can't be too careful," I whispered. "He has spies everywhere."
"You have completely gone off the deep end," she said. "Bill O'Reilly's not coming to get anyone. No one's that crazy."
"Apparently you're forgetting that this is the guy who went ballistic for weeks because a couple of stores used 'Season's Greetings' and 'Happy Holidays' instead of 'Merry Christmas.'"
She thought for a moment. "OK," she said, "pass me one of those ammo belts and a box of bullets."
No squirrels were harmed in the production of this column.