First of all, yes, we have been in possession of the now-infamous secret recording allegedly made in the East Hampton Town Trustees office from the outset.
It was on my desk in a plain white envelope one day. There was no signature. I swear a bite of my bagel with cream cheese was missing.
I’m not sure if there is much news worth reporting, but it is noteworthy for the amount of times the F-bomb is dropped.
A word about cussing: I have a filthy mouth. In addition to the F-bomb, I use the names of body parts liberally and I also take the Lord’s name in vain a lot. That may seem like a problem for some of you, but fear not: in the course of my 12 years in Catholic school, God personally told me I could use his name, and Jesus and the Holy Ghost also signed waivers.
When you think about it, most of the trustees are or have been baymen. We expect these colorful characters, these briny creatures from the deep, to cuss a bit. Put another way, we don’t want a bunch of land-locked wussies running the show in pink Ralph Lauren shorts.
Nevertheless, even I was taken back by the sheer numbers of curses, even when members of the public were there. One guy came in to talk about phragmites. From what I could glean, the guy had permission from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to cut back his phrags twice a year but that wasn’t nearly enough.
You have to understand, phrags, for some reason known only to God (I should ask him) and a few trustees, is an endangered species. It is not even a creature — it is an annoying weed with a heavy root system powerful enough to upend your swimming pool or put holes in your cesspool. And, like the piping plover, which is also protected, phrags are ugly. There is no redeeming quality, unless you’ve tried to smoke one and found it’s good for glaucoma or something.
So anyhow, a guy from the public is shocked to hear the trustee (allegedly) gives him permission to disobey the law.
“I don’t give a s**t how many times you cut them!” the voice on the tape says. “Cut the friggin’ s**t every time and say it’s your second cutting no matter what f***ing day it is!”
I can’t even repeat what he suggested doing to one of the piping plovers in this, a family newspaper.
At one point, the editor of another newspaper drops by to chat. He doesn’t join the F-bomb brigade, which is symptomatic of those slaves of academia who have never met a Funk & Wagnalls they didn’t like.
Editors, including Kotz and Shaw and all the others, aren’t like me and the trustees, raw dogs who have fed off the land and made our living on the sea. They say stuff like “Oh darn” and “Golly.” Can you image being out in six-foot seas trying to bring a load of blues back to shore screaming stuff like “Oh golly. I’m getting really wet!” and “My pants are losing their crease!” Believe it folks; I’ve lived the nightmare.
The trustees, like myself, golden teeth glistening and eyes crazed from ingesting sea robin brain, are likely to yell, “Batten down the friggin’ hatches we’re ridin’ this mother to Norway” . . . and stuff like that. And that’s just in Sag Harbor Cove.
My filthy mouth has always been my first line of defense. I always figured if I sounded rough and tough that I actually WAS rough and tough. If perchance someone called my bluff, I would turn to my second and third line of defense, which is to run and failing that, weep and beg.
There is talk about reporting these guys to the District Attorney because they advocate killing phrag and they curse a lot. I’m not sure that will get the DA’s attention. I mean, that office deals with gangs and the mafia. I was thinking, though, if we didn’t have foul-mouth trustees, it would be fun if they were in the mafia.
Mafia Trustee # 1: “You’se want somethin’?”
Member of Public (hat in hand): “I want to kill a phragmite.”
Trustee: “You never invite me to your house and now you want something from your godfather? You wanna them to sleep with the friggin’ fishes?”
MP: “Yes, fluke?”
Trustee: “What, are you’se a friggin’ wise guy?”
In conclusion, I’ve penned a little ditty for our three Trustees on the tape:
“Any time you say that word I will say it better.”
“No you f***** can’t!
“Yes I f***** can.”
“Yes I friggin’ can. Yes I friggin’ can. Yes I friggin’ can!”