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Mr. Wrong

Senior Action

By Joe MacLeod | Posted 5/9/2001

Every once in a while something so awful, so horrific, so mind-numbingly senseless and evil occurs, the only thing you can do is figure out how to get the movie rights.

OK, maybe not you. When I heard about the Angry Old Man in Cockeysville, all I could think about was how Overlook Hotel the whole scene was, how horrifying it must have been to be in that hallway in that apartment when this guy snapped. Allegedly, right? Always need to do that, because there's this suspension-of-disbelief thing we're all supposed to engage in, to presume the innocence, right? Who am I not to suspend my disbelief? I mean, fine, I hope it was just a big misunderstanding, you know? Maybe the teevee news got it all backward and nobody really got beat and/or shot to death in that apartment. Maybe the only True Life Senior Action that went on last week was the Old School-Bus Driver who kept his cool when the Dumb Teenagers plowed into that School Bus Full of Children. Allegedly.

I used to be much more delusional than I am now, or maybe just delusional in a different way, rolling my eyes in disgust every time I heard about one of those made-for-teevee movies about O.J. or the schmucks who blew up the World Trade Center in New York City. But you know what? I give up. When anything bad happens, I want the movie rights. I call "dibs," or "option," or whatever the fuck it is you're supposed to call to get a corner on the action, because I'm sick and tired of the way this stuff always turns out when it finally materializes as a made-for-teevee movie on my made-for-me teevee.

So when they make-for-teevee the movie about the Angry Old Man who lost it in Cockeysville, roll your eyes in disgust at me, because I'm gonna use all my powers to make sure I'm the one behind the dramatization (based on a true story). D.W. Me, behind the lens or whatever, making sure the story of the Angry Old Man is told in all its proper Gothic Horror and Senior Senselessness. And you know, hooray for the positive tale of the Old Bus Driver and all, but I don't think there's enough going on in that story to get anybody interested in the made-for-teevee movie I Kept My Cool When the Dumb Teenagers Hit My School Bus.

This guy in Cockeysville was probably in the get-go stages of senile dementia or whatever exactly it is that makes Angry Old Men so, uh, angry, so you can bet your ass there'll be a support-group phone number or some other kind of sop flashing on that screen before the credits roll on my Angry-Old-Man opus for the benefit and support of anyone who suspects there's an Angry Old Man living down the hall from them, or maybe inside of them.

Like maybe me. Last time I checked, I was a man, and if I play my cards right I'll get to be old, so that's two out of three. I try real, real hard not to get angry anymore, because it's a waste of my cosmic essence, my chi energy. I used to get mad a lot more frequently. Crazy, foaming-at-the-mouth, eyes-glazed-over, angry-dog mad. As in, no thought process left to separate Good from Evil, just white noise roaring in the head and tunnel vision tracking in on completing some sort of pointless act, like making sure some knucklehead doesn't get to occupy that nine feet of pavement in front of me as we go into that fucking squeeze-down lane on Liberty Street near the arena. Sure, everybody could take turns like civilized drivers, but one day last week there was this asshole in a Lexus who just had to go from the far right lane, get in front of my Tercel in the middle lane, and then get into the far left lane, just to cut back in front of one more car so he could get back in the middle lane a little further up. Jesus Christ.

The old waster-of-chi me woulda probably: 1) Tailgated the guy in front of me to foreclose any possibility of Mr. Lexus inserting his vehicle into my lane, motherfucker. 2) Failing that, attempted to outflank and pass him in order to regain space in my lane, motherfucker. 3) Failing that, climbed out of my car at the light, walked up to his windshield, screamed at him to get out, and then either 3a) spit all over his driver's-side window when he failed to comply or 3b) engaged in mutual combat, outcome uncertain, but hey, officer, he's in my fucking lane, see? See?

So I'm not making a self-fulfilling prophecy or anything, I'm just saying that someday I could wind up being an Angry Old Man who put a gun to a poor old woman's head for unknown reasons and pulled the trigger. Twice. Allegedly. But something happened--the gun didn't fire. Maybe he had an old Luger he pulled off a dead Nazi during WWII: The Big One and he never tried to fire it until then. Maybe he had the kinda gun where you gotta pull the hammer back to get the first shot off. Maybe he just wanted to scare the old lady, but that doesn't add up since he went down the hall to successfully waste another neighbor after he hit the woman on the head with his handgun--or "pistol-whipped" her, as the teevee news really digs saying. I heard that a lot--"pistol-whipped." That's a good name for a movie, huh? Allegedly Pistol-Whipped.

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