When I put a BIDEN sign out front of my house a month back I told good neighbor Phil I gave it about a week before it got ripped off. I was wrong. Someone slipped in under the cover of darkness and liberated it on the sixth day.
After duly filing a five-dollar theft report with the Pittsburg P.D., I put on my Covid mask and went back to the Democratic Headquarters on 6th Street to have a little fun.
"You know," I announced in a loud, semi-irritated tone as I entered, "I realize the party’s short on funds, but stealing my BIDEN sign so I’d have come back and buy another one just isn’t right."
After a perplexed pause, the lady laughed and lamented, "Ha! You’re not the only one. They’re getting stolen all over the county."
Having learned years back that insanity is doing the same thing over and over … and expecting different results, I now place my sign out front in the daylight hours only.
At dusk, with Arlo the Labradorian as my color guard, I sing taps and ceremoniously march it to the safety of my back porch. At dawn we reverse the ritual while singing the national anthem. (My wife refers to it as "Babysitting Biden.")
I find it telling that the three signs for other county and state offices out front were left and only the one for the White House race was taken. I haven’t heard anything about TRUMP signs going missing — but I must admit I had the zany thought of taking one … and putting a BIDEN one in its place. That way, if I got caught, I could tell the judge, "I was just trying to have a little fun, your honor."
But, alas, the good-natured fun of national party politics — and compromise in the interest of the people — is long gone.
Even the word politics has taken on a toxic feel. Which is unfortunate because politics is simply the everyday way we live together and make decisions. Politics is about the agreements, disagreements and compromises we make so that we can live together as families, neighborhoods, cities, and countries.
In the good ole days, when party politics wasn’t so adversarial, my dyed-in-the-wool Democrat cousin, Joe Fowler, got involved with a genial "yard sign hostage" affair with local Republicans in which both sides were nightly capturing signs of the other party running for local and national offices — with Joe ultimately brokering a friendly exchange.
No one has called to negotiate a swap of my BIDEN for a TRUMP but it would be forthcoming and fun if they did.
I have a vision of meeting for a late night exchange much the same as the Cold War trades of prisoners between America and the Soviet Russia on the Berlin "Bridge of Spies."
Only here in Crawford County the exchange would take place at midnight halfway over the Joe Saia Overpass just south of the Republic of Frontenac — thereby making it the "Bridge of Signs."
I also thought about leaving the BIDEN sign out at night and setting up a booby trap.
I checked on the Internet and found a "poor man’s perimeter alert" for $14.99 that, when the firing mechanism is pulled from the housing by a trip wire, the spring-loaded striker sets off a loud report, both alerting the homeowner and scaring off the intruder. Nah — might frighten the neighbors.
Then I remembered the wicked "Burmese Tiger Pit," as described in "The Most Dangerous Game," a short story by Richard Connell. To make one you dig a hole deep enough so that climbing out without help is not possible and cover it with foliage which is not strong enough to support the weight of a large animal (or intruder). This way the sign thief could be apprehended and taken off by the police to face criminal charges, fines and possible jail time.
I also thought of a third option — which I call the "Labradorian Poo Solution." It came to me after recalling the old Halloween prank of putting a flaming paper bag of dog poop on the porch, ringing the bell, and watching someone come out to stamp out the fire.
My version would be would be to gather and seal in a plastic bag a few days of Arlo’s #2 and spread it strategically around the sign amid the camouflage of fallen, brown leaves from my river birch.
While it would not result in criminal charges, fines, or jail time … the thief would still get a much-deserved scent-ence.
J.T. Knoll is a writer, speaker and eulogist. He also operates Knoll Training & Consulting in Pittsburg. He can be reached at 231-0499 or firstname.lastname@example.org