November 9 - November 15, 1995

Dog Gone

B y  J e f f  S m i t h 


TWO IMPORTANT THINGS have happened around here since last we spoke--one pretty dull and the other kind of sad.

The dull stuff was the election day before yesterday. More on that presently, but the sad thing is that Luggs died.

Those of you who haven't lost too many of Poirot's little gray cells to alcohol, drugs or the inexorable passage of time may recall a piece I wrote about Luggs a year or two ago. (Having lost several trillion of my own gray cells to that vicious plexus of decay, I don't rightly remember just how long ago it was, and I have neither the time nor the inclination to look it up.) We all were worried about Luggs' health back then--he had cancer and was said to be on his last legs.

Fortunately Luggs had four of them--legs, being a dog--so he hung around on his last legs longer than your typical bipedal cancer patient. Which pleased all of the boys and girls who hang around Star Cycle, and Jimmy Nichols in particular, since Jimmy was Luggs' boy. Luggs lived his 11-odd years with Jimmy and his family, and came to work every day in Jimmy's pickup and hung out near the machine shop, cadging Milk Bones off everybody who came in, and talking with the regulars.

Luggs could talk, see, but he only spoke when spoken to and he only said what he wanted to. Jimmy was especially good at getting Luggs in a talkative mood, but he could never get Luggs to cooperate in what could have and should have been their road to an early and cushy retirement.

Luggs would say "I love you," if he did indeed love you, but he'd never say "Jim Click Ford," probably because he suspected it would have been selling out for commercial purposes. You decide which was the nobler speech in the long run.

Luggs' long run came to an end last Friday, when age and illness finally caught up with him. I was lucky and got to scritch him behind his ears that last afternoon of his life. Late that night I got a call from of the boys, saying that Luggs was gone. Next afternoon everybody who loved Luggs and felt bad for Jimmy gathered in the back of the shop at Star to share their memories.

He was one of the finest human beings I've ever known.

UNLIKE ED MOORE, who is Pima County's political equivalent of Freddy Kreuger.

I watched the election returns Tuesday night, with particular interest in the Prop 200 CAP water issue. It passed, in case you didn't know, and Large Ed was on camera assuring everybody that all God's chillun would come together in the spirit of cooperation and be glad it did. And that Tucson has more groundwater than it ever will need.

All of which is bullshit, but doesn't bother me, because I was against the CAP even before Ed Moore was, and because I think it would be just ducky if Tucson ran out of water to drink and bathe in and half the people moved to L.A.

My friend, whose spare bed I borrowed for the remainder of the night, so I could hustle in and beat deadline with these ruminations, snarled at the telly, "They assassinate Yitzhak Rabin, but Ed Moore's still walking around, talking for the cameras."

"That's because he doesn't live in the Mideast," I offered. "If he were over there he'd have been fragged long ago."

And then it struck me that I finally had found a constructive use for Mr. Moore: you might call him Common Cause. If Ed lived on the West Bank, Muslim and Jew would have something to agree about. The enemy of my enemy is, perforce, my friend.

Ed served this function in the Prop 200 flap, coalescing the rabble in their common suspicion and distaste for both CAP water and the boys who shoved it down their throats.

Outside of that, the election was singularly dull and unimaginative. Few bothered to turn out, and those few seemed insufficiently bothered by the status quo to throw the rascals out or do much of anything remarkable.

So much for the much-ballyhooed spirit of voter disaffection. The only incumbents who ran--Mayor George Miller and Councilwoman Janet Marcus--got re-upped without perspiring. And in those races that were contested, owing to abandonment of office for one reason or another, the body politic kept the same old Democratic Party in total control.

The only interesting thing in recent City Council history has been Tom Saggau's self-immolation, and his replacement by an active and uppity gimp, whose wheelchair is forcing the city finally to convert the council chambers to true architectural accessibility.


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November 9 - November 15, 1995

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