Friday, January 3, 2014

What the....

I still don't believe this really happened.

I was across the street in the apartment, packing a lunch for my wife (When you run a business you can't punch out for lunch.) The phone rang. My wife. "There's a guy with a pickup truck shoveling snow onto our sidewalk" "Onto our sidewalk? From the city?" "No, just a plain pickup truck." "I'm on it." Dropped the knife in mid-butter, and slammed on my coat.

And there it was, right in front of our store. One of those oversize black pickup trucks that's always cutting in front of you on the freeway.  And in the bed, full to the top, snow, half unloaded.  A fairly large dullard in a plaid coat was shoveling snow from the bed onto the sidewalk in front of my wife's store.  I was mad.

"TAKE IT DOWN THE ROAD!" said a voice I had never heard before.

He looked up briefly, stupidly, and got another shovel-full ready to fling on our sidewalk.

"NO! You're not going to unload that in front of my building!"  I was not to be ignored. I stood between him and the sidewalk, so he couldn't unload.

"It's not illegal. It isn't your property out here." he said in a stupefied voice.

Then I did something stupid. I let myself get drawn into a legal discussion with a rutabaga.  I explained to him: "For your information, we pay excessive property taxes for this property. We pay extra property taxes for the business improvement district this property has the misfortune of being located in. If I don't keep this sidewalk clear, I will be fined. This sidewalk is as much my responsibility as the building. For all practical purposes, it is my sidewalk. And you will not be dumping any more snow here. Verstehen?"

"But I don't want it in my truck."  That was about the stupidest goddam thing I had ever heard, and let me tell you, I have been to Home Depot, so I know stupid when I hear it. He didn't want it in his truck. That could be said for a  lot of substances, and at this point I suppose I was fortunate that it was snow that he didn't want in his truck, and not something else. 

He scooped up another shovel full out of the bed, as if nothing had been said.  Hello! is this thing on? I grabbed the other end of the handle just above the scoop, and slammed it down on the truck bed. For a moment I thought he was going to take a swing at me.  At this point I did not care if he did.

"I'll call the cops." Idiot said, in a stupid whiny voice. He pulled out his cell phone and poked at it. He wasn't really calling the cops.  But I ran over to the store entrance, and hollered the license number to my wife. Teamwork.  She phoned 911, because the crime was in progress.  911 said it wasn't a life-threatening emergency, but would send a squad anyway.   "I'll come back when you're not here and unload some more."  Is that it, Buddy? If you can't do something stupid, then let's be saying something stupid. Stupid never sleeps. He got into his stupid truck and drove it about a block down the road.

Meanwhile the police stopped by, Officer D'Amato (not his name), got the details, told us we were completely in the right.  Finding out that the truck was still in the neighborhood, the officer went down to witness this record-setting stupid for himself.  

Officer D'Amato called us back and told us he had spoken with the guy, and yes, this was truly an idiot of monumental proportions, and from Mukwonago, no less. (for those of you not from Wisconsin, that's pronounced "muh KWUH nuh guh".)

Officer D'Amato told the idiot three things.

1) Putting snow from your pickup truck on somebody else's sidewalk is LITTERING - $175.00 fine
2) Threatening a store owner to come back and litter his prooperty is DISORDERLY CONDUCT. - another $175.00 fine.
3) If anything should happen to our store during non-business hours, guess who would be suspect  #1, and get a ticket? That would be YOU, Mr. Mukwonago.

And that's how we do it in Milwaukee.

Thanks for listening and contributing. I'd love to hear from you.