The Betty Ford Institute For The Criminally Insane is proud to announce the winner of our annual art contest. Hugo Streicher has been awarded the Pavlov Golden Palm for his entry entitled “Just Whistle While You Work”. Congratulations, Hugo and I know you will treasure your prize, a miniature designer plate of Dr. Ben Carson generously donated by AstraZeneca whose motto, “We honor diversity in depression”, reflects the values of that caring company. We are very appreciative of the contribution Hugo has made as the manager of the pet crematorium and his diligence and hard work as the assistant meat manager in our guest cafeteria. We have asked Hugo to tell us about his life as a Knacker and we know you will be inspired by his touching story.
DREAMS COME TRUE by Hugo Streicher
All my life I wanted to be a Knacker. My grandfather was a Knacker. My father was a Knacker. My mom wanted me to be a doctor. She was always real sick and took a lot of pills. Maybe she thought I could cure her with more pills. She was a good cook and made real tasty beef roasts and what-not. My father drank a lot and had strange dreams. He liked to tell us the ones about the dead pigs singing songs and playing cards. We quit going to church because he thought the pastor reminded him of his favorite dead horse which made me happy because I didn’t like church with all those mummies on the wall looking at you.The small town I lived in had people saying strange things about what my dad would do to the dead animals. I didn’t believe these things because my father loved animals. I remember being with him since I could walk and we would go on his rounds to all the farms to pick up the used animals. Sometimes in the winter they would be frozen to the ground and I would help defrost them so we could get them on the van.I will always remember that special time when we roasted hot dogs in the cold snow. My grandfather was a Knacker who lived in Germany where he was well known for inventing a special furnace to burn dead stuff..He even had a letter of appreciation from a Mr Himmler that I am not supposed to tell anyone about. He was very smart and after the war he came to America and used his business talents to start over. One of his ideas was to use the Knacker van to move furniture and other household goods for people when there was a lull in hauling the dead animals Some people complained that their belongings would smell bad after they were moved. Seems to me that some people just like to complain.To me it smelled like home.
When I started grade school I had trouble making friends so my father suggested I invite some of them home to play doctor with the dissection kit I got for my birthday. He even had a large goat he was saving just for such an occasion. I never did have any friends. Maybe the other kids were not as dedicated to a career as me.
People say that being a Knacker is a simple job that even a moron can do. It’s not. You have to use your head because every situation is different. Maybe a cow died in the barn so how do you get her out and into the van? Not easy. And what about the dispatch service that all professional Knackers offer? Not many people can take a 22 rifle and dispatch an animal with one well-placed shot. People think they are so smart until they try to do it themselves.You also have to know your psychology when you have to pick up someone’s large pet. Dealing with women and children when they are crying and carrying on because their pet died can really get on a Knacker’s nerves. The one thing to always remember is to never hit them. A loud, stern voice telling them to be quiet so you can get their pet to the furnace usually does the trick. If not, then you can use threats but just remember not to hit them. Also, you are not to use dirty words or tell them their pet is better off dead and you would be too. People ask me if it bothers me to see all those dead animals. What they don’t understand is the dead speak in a different language and if you would just be patient you will hear them speaking to you. They always say they are happier dead than alive and thank me for picking them up. When you think about it, there is really not much difference in a live or dead animal.
After high school I made my first friend .My dad and I were always going to Mr Owen’s farm where the animals for some reason were always dying- the young as well as the old ones.That’s where I met Beatrice. People called her simple-minded probably because she had only one leg. We got along really well and she loved going with my dad and me on our rounds. My dad said she had the makings of becoming the world’s first woman Knacker.I remember the first time we kissed which was the first time I kissed a girl. We were in back of Mr Schmidt’s chicken coop tossing dead chickens in the van. My father had gone to give Mr Schmidt the invoice and before I knew it she was kissing me all over. Even today when I see a dead chicken I think of that magical first kiss.We would talk about getting married and having a son to carry on the Knacker line in our family, We would dream of getting a new leg for her and someday owning a chain of franchise crematoriums called “Hugo And Beatrice’s” with a gift shop and a lunch counter like Woolworth’s.
Then something strange happened. My dad and Beatrice disappeared so I decided to come to the Institute to live. I like it here but I do miss picking up dead animals. It made me feel important. As for career advice for our young folks I would say to give serious consideration to becoming a Knacker. Yes, it’s hard work, but as you can see, the rewards are great.
William Kleifer, better known as “Blind Bat Billy” or simply “BBB”, passed away at his stepfather’s farm today following an accident with a corn picker. He was 61 years old. The famed Cuka recording artist recorded many hits including, “Standing At The Cow Path”, “Salty Dog and Sour Milk Polka” and many others. How BBB, a southern Negro child, came to the Wisconsin farm where he spent almost all of his life was described in a story written in 1965 in the Clyman Herald.The following is that story generously supplied by the Clyman Herald;
THE CLYMAN HERALD April 23, 1966
Hello friends and neighbors and here is a story about that great Negro musician BBB, who lives on the Otto Kleifer farm and has kept us entertained at the Clyman Fireman’s picnics, weddings and at the Dew Drop Inn for many years. I would like to tell you how much we love our very own Negro and to dispel some of the rumours that he is counterfeit, I got the facts from his father, Otto Kleifer and these are his exact words on how BBB came to live on his farm these past 20 years.
Clyman Herald: Tell us, please, why did you adopt BBB?
Otto Kleifer: Well, my wife, she got into a silage unloader accident and that made her inconceivable, a barren woman. Nothing wrong with me. My wife always wanted a kid, like they all do, i suppose, and i could use some help around the farm so we decided to get one.
Clyman Herald: Adopt, you mean, so did you go thru an agency, I hear that’s not easy and takes a lot of time.
Otto: Yeah, them adoption agencies are pretty hard to figure out with all those technicalities. No, my wife, who is very religious, prayed on it and one day when I was at the feed mill a friend of mine gave me an ad he clipped out of a magazine and that got the ball rolling.
CY: Otto, what did the ad say?
Otto: I remember it now as the day i saw it. It said’ NOW YOU CAN HAVE YOUR VERY OWN AUTHENTIC COLORED CHILD”. So I sent in for one.
CY:I bet you were pretty excited when he arrived but, as I understand it, the child was not a negro but a white child.
Otto: Yeah i thought i got screwed by the place where I got him but they said they got the correct papers on him and he is a certified negro so that voids the money back guarantee . So i got stuck with him but my wife just loved the little guy so we kept him. We didn’t notice he was blind tho, until three years later which made me feel bad because I was always hollering at him for not counting the cows right.
CH: When did you become aware that he was so musical?
Otto: Soon as we got him. Always singing these strange, crazy tunes part english and part something else. Then one day our church donated us an old piano because BBB not only sung in the choir, but would just sat down on the organ and amazed everyone on how well he could play. Did a good job on “Amazing Grace”. Nobody ever heard the other words for it but didn’t matter none, still bought plenty of tears from the old ladies..
CH: So, now your house has a piano and BBB’s talents can finally find an outlet.
Otto: Only we couldn’t get the piano thru the door so we had to leave it in the cow pasture.
CY: That must have been very discouraging for the young lad
Otto: No, as my wife says,”God works in mysterious ways.” BBB loved to play outside, maybe because he is blind and we just told him we put the piano in the big room of the house with the cows.
CH: Otis, there were many rumours concerning BBB. Is it true his music made your cows record setters in milk production?
Otto:: Yep, that’s the gospel truth. Them cows was always so happy mooin’ and shuffling when they heard his music. Can’t tell you how many of the neighbors wanted to rent or borrow him but my wife would have none of it. BBB was sure happy too, never asked for a raise, and i can truthfully say he’s the best farm hand anyone can have regardless of race color or creed.
CH: Thank you Otis and say hi to BBB for me.
William, “BBB”, Kiefer will be funeralized on May 23 at Daigniz Funeral Home And Auto Salvage. The corn picker was not damaged.
“Ask The Scientist” is proudly sponsored by Northrop Grumman and features our Military and Fashion Affairs editor, Professor Herman Kahn, Jr. Author, lecturer, adviser to NATO and heads of state and a swell humanitarian, Professor Kahn serves on the board of 20 defense concerns and is currently the director of the prestigious think tank, the Wm Burroughs Center for Non-Aligned Thought.
Today’s question was submitted by Ethel Fuchs, a third grader at the Ronald Reagan Science And Astrology Academy. Ethel, who suffers from a case of severe premature acne and is unfairly shunned by her classmates who have named her “Pustule Peggy”, asks; “ Mr Scientist; My father, Julius Fuchs, works at the Sandia National Laboratory and is worried that we will have a big war because the Russians are making more bombs than us. If there is a war, i am afraid my pet goldfish, Gadget, will be boiled in his bowl.. Please help! Thanks, Ehel PS: I want to be a nuclear engineer when I grow up.
Professor Kahn Responds: Dear Ethel: In my father’s book,, “Winning the Unthinkable”, which I am sure is in your school library, he proved that our country would defeat any enemy that would dare attack us with nuclear devices. This was true in 1962 when the book was written and it is true today. Our freedom is protected by a doctrine called Mutual Assured Destruction which means that if there is a war, the whole world will be incinerated just like that hot dog your dad sometimes drops in the grill. This should be a comfort to you. Most important, our heroes in the defense industry, who are given unlimited funds thanks to our compassionate leaders, are dedicated to not only building more and better bombs due to superior American technology, but more accurate bombs that will fall on the right places. I guarantee you, if the Russians think they can destroy the world before we do, they have another thought coming! Ethel, just ignore the impending nuclear Armageddon like everyone else and put your faith in our trusted elected officials and people like me. You have my assurances that your goldfish, Gadget, will take its last swim in the toilet before you get roasted like an over-done pork chop. Study hard, Ethel, our country needs more nuclear engineers. As for your looks, keep in mind many famous nuclear scientists looked as hideous as you. Just ignore your classmates and also the adults who are hopefully too polite to comment on your appearance. I also suggest you report your father to the authorities. He is obviously a spy. Good Luck!
Ms Margaret Porcinello has been awarded the coveted “Sylvia Plath ‘ trophy for her poetry excellence in this year’s poetry contest. During her twenty years as a member of our community, Margaret has made great strides in overcoming her eating disorder characterized by a morbid fascination with kitchen utensils and raw meat.This is evidenced at mealtime where, despite the fine cuisine meticulously prepared by our resident chefs, she still leaves some of her tasty meal on the plate. She has also lost 150 pounds and as Margaret always says, “I don’t miss them one bit”. Congratulations, Margaret! I know you will treasure your award, a Miley Cyrus Designer Spoon generously donated by AstraZeneca. We hope you will not only enjoy her poem but that it will also inspire you to reach new heights in your practice of proper mental hygiene.
THE WHITE HOUSE
Margie went to her only friend’s house The one with the white door She did not knock But pulled the chrome handle looked inside and said hello To a jug of milk And a half-eaten hermit crab