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Published: 2004/06/29
by Andy Miller

Featured Column: Real True Confessions with Padre PienbiqueBlackmailing Schrger’s Cat

Before I get on with the meat of this tale, I want to bring up a popular example used to clarify a paradox in quantum physics known as "Schrger's Cat". Now, before you ask the first prudent question, such as "What the fuck do you know about such matters?" I willingly concede that I don't know much. But the fun of quantum physics is that you don't have to know shit to be blown away by its subtlety, yet you can study it for decades and find yourself all the more lost within its details. As for how I know that, it's because I've befriended a couple of cats that make their living as physicists admit it to me after a few drinks. However, since neither of us is going to earn a doctorate by discussing the uncertainty of sub-atomic behavior, let's not get our tits twisted in details.

To make a long story short, Schrger was a contemporary of Einstein, although not necessarily a like mind. The Schrger’s Cat example states that no matter how carefully an observer watches an event, the outcome is dependent on how the observer witnesses what’s going on. To be specific: Schrger proposed that if one was to put a cat and a possibly deadly hunk of radioactive poison in the same box, none of us could know whether or not the cat is dead until we peeked in the box. While it may only take a second for us to figure out if Garfield has kicked over after we open the box, Schrger states that the cat (to our knowledge) exists as both dead and alive at the same time. This period of uncertainty places the fate of the cat (is it live, or is it Memorex?) squarely in the hands of the observer until the truth is found out.

I’m only bringing this up to cover my ass: no matter what happens to any of us, we can only have our impressions sculpted by the evidence we’ve been privy to witnessing. In other words, the strange and comedic events that I’m going to report to you did happen, but the details as observed by the good folks who saw them may be flawed or flavored with personal prejudice. Thus, it stands that my perspective will be influenced as I report them to you. So if you actually saw any of the following first-hand, don’t call me with corrections. Just let the story stand.

As some of you know, I play bass in a band known as the Big Wu. Every year we throw a tidy little festival called the "Big Wu Family Reunion". In my way, I’m very proud of our get-together; we always get great bands, feature sound and lighting second to nobody, (and I mean nobody), serve great food backstage, hire hands-off security, and organize food drives for the community that hosts the festival. While there are always other great festivals for people to spend their money at, we never worry about the success of the Reunion. Folks come to have a good time and leave after having a better experience than they hoped for.

However, nothing with 3000 folks not just doing what they want- but everything they want- ever runs smoothly. Somewhere within the group resides a bad drunk, an accident, an LSD Custer being run over by 2,999 noble savages, or perhaps a renegade weather system hell-bent on spoiling the fun. Even when everyone is committed to riding out the wild turns, (read: curing hangovers), shit happens. For the purposes of this story, let us pay no attention to the Big Wu fans that behaved themselves and had a great Reunion. I’d rather report the exceptional behavior of those who were willing to separate themselves from the pack: The crazy, the fucked-up, and the unfortunate.

As we all know, nothing kicks off a festival like a car fire. No, not the garden variety sort caused by a neglected burning bud that fell out of the bowl, only to roll under the back seat, leaving a tell tale burn mark in Dad’s Oldsmobile. I’m talking about a full-fledged Dodge sedan burning so hot that the roof folded into a perfect "V" under its own weight. According to my head of security, Al Sedacca, the owner of the car passed out after unsuccessfully attempting to free his chariot from a mud hole it had sank into. Apparently, something in his transmission got became so hot that other flammable parts of the undercarriage got spark and began to burn. Naturally, the flames attracted others in the lot, who became curious and gathered around and gawked while the owner of the car slept peacefully as the fire gained momentum. This is about the time where Al Sedacca showed up and started rapping on the guy’s window to awaken him from his slumber. After several attempts to rouse his interest and educate him on the state of his burning hooptie, he responded with little more than "Lemme alone man…" As a last resort, Al yelled through his window that he was within five seconds from having the same window smashed in and his body dragged out of it. Upon seeing his options, he jumped out and did the only reasonable thing the situation called for- he ran away.

As an aside, we had the burned corpse of the car rolled out as a prop for a couple of Wu promo shots. When Terry the drummer slid in Dukes of Hazzard style, he found a charred wallet that had been left behind. The contents of the wallet had burned to ashes save a Panorama Video rental card and the laminated top to his Minnesota drivers license. The raised letters of the license revealed his address, weight, eye color and the rest of it. Being good citizens, the band arranged for the master of ceremonies to shout out a "lost wallet" announcement from the stage. To my knowledge, the dude in question never came backstage to claim his parcel. That’s okay. I know where he lives. Perhaps I can stop by his place on 21xx Bryant Ave, Minneapolis, MN, on his birthday, (7/xx/68), with a DVD I rented on his card from Panorama Video on Dupont Ave. Maybe a porn flick. What the hell, it’s his birthday.

As soon as the car fire petered out, after Particle finished their all night set, the ambulance was called to scrape up what was left of a hopeless acid casualty. Apparently, this poor chap had gotten too high and couldn’t calm down. Of course, his friend had deserted him when the going got rough, and now he was flustered, fucked, and flung far from home. (Why folks can’t stick together and ride out the storm when they screw themselves out is beyond me. It has to be the toughest way to find out who your friends really are.)

While Eric from Particle and I were observing the medical personal attend to the poor guy, the sheriff gave us fair warning that if he has to come out the Reunion for any other reason short of "Acts of God" again, he’ll charge us $500 for overtime.

The minute the siren squad cleared the campground, an obviously wasted man comes from out of nowhere yelling at me that "Now he’s going to tell the cops where he got the acid!!!!" I tried to ask him why he didn’t help everybody by babysitting his pal (who he had gotten so fucked-up) until he came down, but he just kept screaming through his own curtain of acidic delusion that "Now they’re going to come for me!!!! It’s never going to end!!!!" I’m sure it didn’t end for what may of felt to him like an eternity.
While I’m sure he spent the next nine hours holed up in his tent, guardedly awaiting the acid police to drop from the skies to take him away for questioning, I can’t say that I sympathize for him. After all, he admitted that he’s the one who supplied the drugs, then bravely ditched his pal when the chips ran low. Beyond that, the freedom to make choices demands that one will take responsibility for the outcome. Failing that, everyone involved suffers the sins of neglectful. And suffer they did.

On Saturday afternoon, the woman we employ to run the Family Reunion called into a private meeting. A man who wouldn’t give his name approached our Head of Parking (who he assumed was the owner of the venue) claiming that he had "rock-solid proof" that the security we hired is selling drugs. He wanted, in exchange for his "proof", a princely some of our gate receipts to keep his mouth shut.

Naturally, our Head of Parking was just a bit more than disturbed by his demands. Twice more he returned to pester our Parking Liaison, thinking he was the owner of the park, once to say that he didn’t want to "bankrupt the band" and once more to "see how the money was coming". Since there is no way in hell the security we hired (who are licensed, bonded and insured) was selling drugs, I told my people that I wanted to meet with him personally the next time he came up.

Unfortunately for all involved, he never did. While no judge in the land smiles upon the distribution of narcotics for profit, I would wager that their displeasure only increases upon charges of extortion. No matter the stratagem this clown set forth to get his hands on the festival’s filthy lucre, I can’t imagine how a grainy video featuring two of his friends, one dressed as a security guard and the other as a drug-buying hippie, would be considered "proof" in court, let alone convince me to hand him cash for his troubles. If nothing else, I would have loved to feature this blackmailer as my Old Style Zealot of the month- with my boot serving a rusty, torn can of the exalted beverage up his derriere.

Later that day, reports came in from the campground that someone was throwing axes around for fun. Upon investigation, a friend of the band who’s a disc jockey by trade, met a lady at the Greyhound station on his way up to the festival. Ever the charmer, my friend invited this mysterious stranger to accompany him to the Family Reunion. If you’ve traveled via the great American bus line, you know that most of your fellow passengers fall into one (or all) of three categories: The elderly, the criminal or the fucking nuts. Fortunately, our friend’s companion was only a combination of the latter two qualities.

By the time the sheriff arrived on the scene, she had been subdued. As for why she felt compelled to liven up the afternoon by threatening everybody with an axe, it turns out she had a good excuse: She had just been released from a mental institution when she met my friend at the bus station. Thus the sheriff didn’t charge us the $500 pick-up fee.

Incidentally, this is what I appreciate about government-funded programs: If for any reason the State’s mental inmates fail keep their psychopathic urges to themselves, the government will readmit them for free. Think of it as a "Sane or your money back guarantee".

There is always the distinct possibility that the axe lady was never crazy. I never looked inside her personal Schrger’s box, so I can’t honestly tell you if she was crazy or just plain homicidal. May God judge us all…

And judgment is what this is all about. Well, at least questionable judgment. The tie that binds the trio of stories I’ve illustrated for your amusement exemplify the importance of using the minimum amount of common sense when wandering off the well-beaten path of everyday behavior. So before inviting murderous mental patients, dropping four hits of acid instead of one, or passing out after you set your transmission on fire, please take the time to ask yourself: "Is this what I really want to do with my weekend?" After all, the repercussions of your choices affect everyone else around you, so use your insanity, narcotics and neglect carefully.

Drive safe, be nice to your Mother, and drink your milk… I really mean it this time!

Not to play the same card twice, but once again, I’m nominating myself for Old Style zealot of the month twice in a row. Not because I can, but because I have this great picture of the Big Wu on top of the fore-mentioned burned-out car. Fully Kreausened indeed!

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