Harmless Lunatics, Constraints and Contracts

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Back during the last century I used to know a guy in Socorro, New Mexico named Dennis Tolliver, who’d dropped in from some other century and could never quite get the hang of things.   He ran a successful business, worked hard, was considered trustworthy in most ways, even though his business involved selling used automobiles.

In that part of the country everything’s located far enough from everything else to argue compellingly that a person needs a vehicle.  Among the people who went to Dennis to fill their vehicle needs were those who’d proven themselves unworthy of credit.  But Dennis didn’t mind.  He’d sell anyone a car and if need be, he’d carry the note himself.

But even though Dennis was a local legend, even though everyone who bought a car from him knew precisely what to expect, people sometimes wouldn’t make their payments.  They knew Dennis didn’t mind.  He didn’t worry when they fell behind three months.  He’d spot them stopped for a red light, walk up and throw them out onto the pavement, and drive the car back to his lot to sell it again.

A few years before I became acquainted with him Dennis got himself a felony record for armed robbery and resisting arrest.  He was on his way through Grants, New Mexico one Sunday morning and decided he wanted some booze.  Stopped into a grocery store, went through the “NOT SOLD ON SUNDAY” ribbon blocking off the alcoholic beverages section, and took his bottle up to the register.

Clerk:  I’m sorry.  I can’t sell that to you.  I’d lose my job.

Dennis:  Why?

Clerk:  It’s against the law.  They’d fire me.

Dennis:  Hold that thought.

Dennis left the bottle on the counter, went out to his car and brought a Government 1911 Colt .45 out from under the seat.  Went back inside, showed it to the clerk and racked a round into the chamber.

Dennis:  Okay.  The price on that bottle is $7.95.  Here’s $20.  I’m taking it.  You do whatever you need to do.

Dennis settled into his car and took a few swigs while he watched through the store window as the clerk called the cops.  He was on the tarmac opening a can of whupass on the first one that showed up when two more arrived and he was hauled off to the slammer.

As nearly as I could tell the felony record never bothered Dennis, never influenced his behavior in any way.  The police were prone to leave him alone, which was appropriate, because Dennis was a fundamentally honest man.  He lived by his own contracts and promises, and he gave others the benefit of a doubt when it came to living by theirs.

But I’ve digressed.  I was actually going to write a bit about my own lunacies, my contracts with my cats, with my chickens, and the vice grips of necessity and options a person can find himself examining.  Even if he’s a lunatic, a hermit, and lives close to the bone.

At least I never had to be Dennis, or someone else.

But I guess I’ll just have to leave you with Dennis to think about and I’ll mull my own business over in private.

Old Jules

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4 responses to “Harmless Lunatics, Constraints and Contracts

  1. I like Dennis, also! Seems like he was just trying to teach people some lessons that they should have learned at a younger age.

  2. The zen of writing, discovering something not entirely conscious was steering the process.

  3. He wanted a drink right now. I can understand that.. c

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