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Life out here by Bret Kofford: Terrorism and the moon

October 31, 2001

Look right in the face of terrorism and laugh.

Nothing makes those who invoke or try to invoke terror angrier than those they are trying to terrorize not taking the threats seriously.

I remember a professional fighter from Southern California back in the 1960s and 1970s named Ray "Windmill" White who, during the pre-fight instructions in which fighters usually use to try to stare down and intimidate their opponents, would stick out his tongue, make funny faces, maybe do a little jig. Windmill was a tall, skinny bald, pasty-skinned fellow, which added to the comic effect.

Fighters would get so mad at Windmill's pre-fight antics and his subsequent goofing around in the ring that they would swing wildly and make other mistakes. As they did, the clever Windmill White would pick apart opponent after opponent.

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I get physically threatened pretty regularly, several times a year at least. I guess my writing has that effect on people, gosh darn it.

Using Windmill White diversionary techniques, I often laugh at my antagonists when they call. They usually don't know how to react to that. Sometimes it disarms them. Sometimes it makes them angrier.

If they insist on assaulting me, I tell them to come down to the office, but they are going to have to take a number because I will be being assaulted by several other people that day and I take my beatings first come, first swing.

That usually ends the disagreement without fisticuffs or shotgun blasts … usually.

Several years ago a person or persons in the Valley tried to terrorize me, sending threatening notes, severely damaging my property, bodily threatening my chunky self. Apparently this person or people, much like al-Qaeda, did not like that I was exercising my freedoms as an American.

The harassment went on for awhile. At times I taunted my tormentor in a coded way in this column, hoping it would anger him and make him take a wild swing at me that would get him caught by the authorities. I tried to Windmill White him. But more than that, it was kind of fun to prod the terrorist because it was the only thing I could do in response to his shadowy cowardice.

I had a friend, ironically now an FBI agent, who would not get into my car with me one time during my terror era until I checked it for pipe bombs. I hoped she was kidding, and whether she was or not, I laughed heartily at her fears as I opened the hood and checked under the car for explosives.

OK, the truth is it was scary at times and yes, I took some precautions, but I didn't let it ruin my life. I tried to laugh it off, and I often succeeded.

So in case my terror guy or guys are still out there reading my deeply considered pearls of wisdom, I have a message to you from a true American: bite me.

I implore all of you true Americans reading this to not let terrorism ruin your lives. Don't let conspiracy theorists/dunderheads such as Matt Lauer influence your mode of thinking. Life is too short and moments are too precious to let some hateful extremists ruin it for you. Don't run around overwrought about anthrax contamination or the anticipated actions by terrorists that Attorney General John Ashcroft warned might be coming this week.

Fretting doesn't make it better. Smiling, though, does.

I'm still smiling. And let's be honest, if anyone is going to be sent anthrax in the Imperial Valley, I would probably be at the top of the list.

Co-workers hand me my mail now while holding envelopes in a remote corner. They joke, or at least I think they joke, about abandoning the building while I open my mail. I laugh at that.

I won't be stupid, though. If someone sends me a suspicious letter I'll go into the back of my drawer and put on my old FBI-issued rubber gloves from my previous terror episode before opening the correspondence. And I will be smiling the whole time … or at least I'll try.

So I implore you to scoff at terrorism, flip off terrorism, show your butt cheeks to terrorism, Windmill White terrorism.

It will make the terrorists feel worse and you feel better.

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