Looking for a Wise Guy or Two (Krell)
By ice rivers
I know I ain't wise. No matter what Krell says. Yet Krell did definitely say that no-one was wiser than me. For the next couple of days I took a look around, a close look.
Particularly at the guys.
I was looking to find a guy smarter than me. If I found that guy, I could ask him what Krell meant when he said that nobody in town was smarter than me.
If the guy was smarter than me, then that would disprove the thesis of Krell, that nobody was wiser than me, which the guy smarter than me would be trying to explain while at the same time debunking.
I was smart enough to know that I wouldn't be able to pick out a guy smarter than me simply by the way he looked. Everybody looks smarter than me. I had to have standards other than appearance.
I started with three.
I figured that a guy wiser than me would be older than me, would be married and have kids.
Most of the guys who I knew in that boat were your typical hard working Joes. Guys who did their job when they could find one. Guys who paid the bills when they had the dough. Guys who raised good, pain-in-the ass type kids. Guys who went to church as often as the wife could drag them there. Guys who bowled Wednesday nights and drank Buds before dinner. Guys who were easily exasperated but not easily defeated. These guys were especially hard to defeat or discourage when defending a half-assed scheme. Guys whose character shines through most clearly when the thin ice is crackling beneath their skates.. A leaking roof, an unexpected complication at work or the growing pains of their kids are enough to throw these guys into freak city. A Hummer from out of nowhere smashing through their front window and planting itself in the hallway during the ball game? No problem.
These are the guys who can turn a minor problem into a nuclear disaster and a nuclear disaster into a walk in the park.
These are the guys that everybody watches with mixed awe;half fascination and half apprehension. These guys are capable of fixing anything or breaking it into smithereens. You never know when these guys are going to over-react or be oblivious.
I hoped that one day I would be wise enough to be amongst them. In the meantime, I wanted to ask them questions about justice, courage, love, temperance, faith, hope and charity. I was looking for a wise man in America.
I didn't have much time.
I needed some answers before the next class.
The guy told me his name was Otto.
My name is Ovid.
I tried to remember the last time I talked to another guy whose name began with an O.
It's not often that two guys whose names begin with O get to talk about the Lone Ranger.
Especially if one of the guys names is a palindrome. I learned about palindromes in eleventh grade English when my teacher, Ms. Nelson, wrote the most famous palindrome on the board "A man, a plan, a canal. Panama".
I've been palindrome sensitive ever since. A goddam mad dog.
So there we were, two O guys, one a palindrome, who had met two minutes ago, sitting at a table in a library getting ready to talk about courage, justice, life etc.
Otto reached into his wallet and pulled out his own piece of paper. His piece of paper looked like it had been through a war or two, which I found out later that it had been.
"Let's start here" said Otto. "It's the beginning"
"Always I good place to start" I agreed.
Otto read from his paper, "with his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order, in the early western United States. Nowhere in the pages of history can one find a greater champion of justice. Return with us now to those thrilling days of yester year......From out of the past come the thundfering hoofbeats of the great horse Silver! The Lone Ranger rides again"
"What the heck was that" I asked.
"That was the way the Lone Ranger radio show began every week. I'll read it again. Listen and ask questions"
Otto read it again.
I asked my first question "why did he wear a mask"
"Good question" observed Otto. " His real name was John Reid. He was a Texas ranger. Before he became a Ranger, John and his brother Dan had been partners in a rich silver mine strike...."
I interrupted. "Is that why he named his horse Silver"
"Yup and that's also why he fired silver bullets which he made himself at his silver mine. One day John, his brother Dan and four other Rangers got ambushed in the badlands by the Butch Cavendish gang. The Cavendish gang fired down on the Rangers with high-powered rifles. The Rangers were trapped. All six were hit. The Cavendish gang lingered to make sure everybody was dead, then they rode off"
"Five of the rangers were dead but......."
I jumped ahead "one of them miraculously survived which made him 'The Lone Ranger' and he decided to wear a mask to hide his identity while he hunted down the Cavendish gang"
"Damn", said Otto, "You are one smart kid"
"Am I ?" I asked thinking maybe Krell was right after all.
"And you're getting smarter every time you ask a question about the Lone Ranger"
"Okay" I agreed and continued my pursuit of wisdom. "How did Tonto get into this?"
"Good question" said my guide with a twinkle in his eye. I figured it had been awhile since anybody had asked hin that question.
"After the Rangers were bushwhacked by the Butch Cavendish gameTonto came upon the badly wounded Ranger. Tonto nursed the Ranger back to health and they road together from that point on. The real story though is for the show to continue, the Lone Ranger needed someone to talk to so that his inner thoughts and plans could be related to tge audience in a form other than monologue." my guide explained.
"It was convenient to make the character a noble Indian to amp up the irony a little bit. The real kicker occurred when they decided on a name for this noble savage. They chose Tonto which in Spanish means fool. Now depending upon your meaning of fool, Tonto was either a wise warrior whose words always contained a double meaning and thus an element of truth or he was the doofus who walks into every trap and has to be continually saved by the Ranger. You could take it either way or both."
"So the Ranger was calling Tonto a fool every time he spoke to him?"
"You could say that" Otto replied
"Well what did Tonto call the Lone Range.and while we're at it, What's your name again?"