'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
ONE-MAN TRIBE ABOUT TO CASH IN
Attention land thieves: You have one month to evacuate the sacred ancestral grounds that were so mercilessly stolen from my people.
As the exalted chief, medicine man, croupier, and sole surviving member of the Torrington Fussbudgett tribal nation, I claim ownership of all property within a two-mile radius of downtown Torrington. I have filed lawsuits in state and federal court to achieve sovereign nation status, and as soon as the paperwork is completed I will be opening a gambling casino inside the Warner Theatre. On second thought, I also claim ownership of the entire towns of Goshen, Harwinton, and Litchfield. (Note to Susan St. James: you can stay here only if you get your Hollywood pals to come and perform at my casino.)
What? You’ve never heard of my tribe? I’m surprised. The Torrington Fussbudgetts were a peace-loving people who operated a trading post on the present day site of the Twin Colony Diner. (We invented the revolving glass dessert display case. And my great-great-great-great-grandfather, Dances With Weasels, invented carrot cake.)
When waves of Europeans came to this area they simply took over without so much as hiring an attorney to do a title search. After driving my people from the land, the European invaders were sure our tribe had ceased to exist. But they were wrong. You won’t find it in any history book, but my ancestors set up a small community in the woods just behind the K-Mart Plaza, where we have lived in secrecy for over three centuries. (We also invented the Blue Light Special, and my great-great-great-grandfather, Dances With Wildebeests, invented the modern shopping cart, complete with one wheel that never spins properly.)
Many of my friends and co-workers are surprised by my claim. “Who you tryin’ to fool, Dunn?” they exclaim. “Everyone knows you’re just an average, ordinary Irish-Catholic.”
Yes, that is what people have assumed these many years. However, it can now be revealed that I am only 15/16th Irish Catholic. The other one-sixteenth is genuine Fussbudgett (on my mother’s side). As my brethren who own the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos in eastern Connecticut have shown, one-sixteenth is all it takes. (To be more precise, what it takes is one-sixteenth Native America blood plus sixteen-sixteenths high-powered lobbyists in Washington, D.C.)
Ever since my youth I have been storing ancient documents that prove beyond a doubt that my claim is true. I kept these papers in a weather-proof blue plastic box, but unfortunately, the recycling truck recently took them by mistake. Ironically, my great-great-grandfather, Dances With Wombats, invented both the rolling garbage can AND the plastic recycling bin, many decades before concern for the environment became fashionable.
I was frantic at the tragic loss of my ancient documents until I contacted the Assistant Deputy Undersecretary Administrator for the Federal Department of Entitlements, Handouts, Giveaways, and Slot Machines. He assured me that even without the ancient documents I should have no problem getting recognized by the government.
Recognition is what this is really all about. After centuries of oppression and obscurity, my humble goal is to recognize and restore the good name of the tribe. And I think you’ll agree that billions of dollars worth of real estate and a cash-spewing casino would be a dandy first step.
So like I said, I will be assuming ownership of all this property in 30 days. Don’t worry. If you want to stay, you can work at my casino as a bartender, busboy, or bellhop. I’ll be happy to deduct the rent from your paycheck. Have no fear, I’ll be much more reasonable with you folks than your ancestors were with mine.
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