"I'd command each thing, be it fish or fowl.
With a woof and a woof and a royal growl."
— "If I Were King," sung by the Cowardly Lion, The Wizard of Oz
A few years ago, I read an article positing that everyone has an "Inner King." The story explained that there's something in the human psyche, way down there close to the Id, that wants everything to go its way. It is capable of saying or doing pretty much anything, no matter how awful, to make sure that happens.
That story came to mind last week as we learned of a number of people showing off their overbearing, my-way-is-law Inner King. In Charlotte, Tim Newman — former CEO of the visitors' bureau, i.e., Uptown's own Good Time Charlie — was led around by a drunken Inner King. By obeying the besotted ruler of his soul, Newman was charged with DWI, hit-and-run and failure to give information about property damage.
Another would-be king, George Tierney of Greenville, S.C., became an Internet sensation last week when he tweeted obscenities to Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University feminist who was called a prostitute by Rush "The Walking Inner King" Limbaugh. Tierney had no idea that Fluke's 40,000 Twitter followers would see it, too, or that he would become the butt of a zillion insults via the web, or that he would end the week wearing his ass for a hat.
The big headliner of last week's Id-fest, however, had to be the Rev. Charles Worley, the Baptist preacher in Maiden, N.C., who caused a national stink when he channeled his Inner Hitler and told his congregation that gays and lesbians should be enclosed in wire fencing and left to die. Worley displayed full-blown Inner King Sydrome, despising his enemies so much that he reached into the vilest part of his imagination to wish a horrible calamity on them.
After all that, and in the interest of professional, localized, follow-up reporting, I walked around to some homes in Madison Park, my neighborhood. I explained the Inner King concept and asked folks if they'd share something about their own Inner Kings. Most declined, and one charming fellow said he didn't think of anyone as an enemy ("It's childish"). Some folks jumped right in.
On a nearby block, Mabel and Ruth — they've been together 25 years — were working in their humongous flowerbed. After the necessary explanations, Mabel smiled and said, "Well, I'd say I have an Inner Queen, and I'll tell you what she wants: every time Bill James starts to open his mouth to rant against gays, Latinos or blacks, someone would smack the living piss out of him. Every time." Mabel and Ruth were still chuckling as I clicked off my recorder and walked on.
A few houses down, I no sooner asked a ex-Texan homemaker named Giuliana to take part in the survey then she went on a tear.
"Yeah, there's one thing that's bugging me to death; my husband says I need to let it out or let go. The guy behind us has this damn little yappy dog that barks forever when I'm in the backyard — and we've been here two years! ... my Inner King wants to buy a gun — a big gun — and blow that little rat-faced piece of crap back to hell." I thanked Giuliana and walked away quickly.
Three houses down, a burly older man named Louis, who sported a great shock of white hair, readily agreed to talk.
"I'd say my Inner King probably wants to take that fraud in the White House and send him to wherever he's really from ... might as well be from Mars as far as I'm concerned."
I thanked Louis and left just as he seemed to be cranking up for a lengthy speech.
A couple of blocks away, I spoke to Jenelle, a CPA taking the day off. She liked the Inner King idea.
"I shouldn't say this, but I'm Catholic and I've had it up to here with the Church's attitudes toward women. Any random Catholic woman would be a better priest than most male ones these days — it's true ... first, my Inner King would castrate every priest caught abusing kids, and second, everybody working in the Vatican would be kicked out and put on the street so they can see what real life is all about. Seriously, those old guys ..." she trailed off, shaking her head. I thanked her and left.
That went pretty well, I thought, approaching home, when some little jerk in a Camaro with an old McCain/Palin sticker flew around the curve, nearly hitting me. Stick around, and maybe I'll tell you what my Inner King thought about that.