Someone stole my radio antenna perhaps to smoke drugs but the issue isn’t black and white

My truck radio antenna was stolen about a week ago. I was riding along, expecting to hear some noise on the radio and sure enough, noise is all I heard. A static-like hissing noise. I happened to look out the windshield and said: “Holy s**t, my antenna’s gone.”

Looking at where my antenna once stood I noticed that the base of the structure was gone. I looked closer and could see the little grooves where it appears the mast could be screwed in, or perhaps in this case, out.

I originally thought: “WTF?” I have an 11-year-old Toyota Tacoma. It’s not in the best of shape. Toyotas — This is the fifth Toyota I’ve owned over the past 37 years — have a habit of its engines outliving by years its interiors. The plastic on my steering wheel is all sun-rippled and has a crack I am patching with duct tape until I buy a cover for the wheel. I’m waiting for it to get cooler before I tackle a couple of maintenance issues. I don’t drive the truck very far these days as I have a car furnished for my part-time job. Money and heat are the two things holding me back with my vehicle issues. Like Pa Kettle used to say: “Yeah, I’m gonna fix that one of these days.”

The point is, what kind of low-life would steal a car antenna off a weathered automobile produced during the last century with more than 160,000 miles? Well, one answer that was suggested to me was meth heads.

I pulled up in the complex parking lot Monday and saw a black gentleman cooking on a little barbecue pit behind his behemoth pickup truck. We are not supposed to cook on outside grills, I suppose George Foreman’s grills inside are okay, where I live along with hundreds of other rules. And yes, it does matter in this case the race of the fellow who was surreptitiously barbecuing.

We exchanged greetings as I took another look at where my antenna once stood so proudly on the front fender of my sunfire red pearl Tacoma and exclaimed to no one in particular: “I don’t understand why someone would steal my damn antenna.”

The covert cook asked a couple of questions and then proclaimed: “Meth heads.”

He didn’t know so much about down here in Southeast Texas but back in Missouri, the secret chef said, “People steal car antennas to smoke meth or that stuff you can buy in the convenience stores.” I couldn’t imagine how exactly someone would use a car antenna to smoke drugs. I do remember in the 70s how, let’s just say people I knew, would find all kinds of inventive ways to smoke pot. A pipe from a beer can, for example. Or perhaps using a tennis ball can for a bong. Then there was Old Faithful — so I am told now! — using aluminum foil to fashion a pipe. But a car antenna to smoke meth? Well, I knew people who free-based cocaine and smoked various drugs from a pipe. This was years ago and if they could afford some of these drugs, cocaine for instance, they usually could afford a pipe.

People nowadays have all kinds of different ways of smoking different drugs. Some of these substances seem to warrant quite a bit of caution compared to the days of old, sitting around listening to Led Zepplin while puffing a peace pipe. Take this forum on “fent for example,” which actually exhorts its meth-addled readers to find an “old school” car radio antenna and “snatch that mother****** right off … ” Scumbag! Fent, short for Fentanyl, is a powerful pain killer supposedly “100 times stronger than morphine.”

I have no idea what, if anything, the person who stole my antenna was smoking. I was at the front desk here last week when our manager told a young guy he had to leave because he’d been seen smoking bath salts. “I didn’t know it was illegal,” was the guy’s answer. Yeah, well I kind of doubt he doubted it was against the law too.

Back to the black man who told me about what stolen antennas were used for, he had indicated that is what folks back in Missouri did with the antennas they stole. Here in Beaumont, Texas, he wasn’t for sure.

“Especially the black folks down here,” he said, twirling his index finger around next to his temple to indicate the well-known sign for the crazies. “Those people are strange.”

I found that a very odd statement although many of the rednecks who comment on the local newspaper’s Web site would agree. They would agree that all blacks are strange. And worse. Right now, we are on the verge of some serious racial problems in Beaumont. It’s a long story. Much of it has to do with the city having become majority black due to white flight to the suburbs. The most recent ignition point has been the local school superintendent, a black man who just recently retired who was the highest paid such school official in Texas. Instances of financial mismanagement was uncovered and the former superintendent and some of his supporters have been very arrogant, almost as if they were untouchable especially when the district’s electrician was given a lenient plea-bargain after his first trial for bilking the district out of more than $4 million ended in a hung jury.

The angriest whites spew their hate in the comment section of the local paper’s stories and a blog that seems to delight stirring the pot in true Hearst the paper’s owners — fashion.

So I don’t believe I was just whistlin’ Dixie when I told the black covert cook that, if indeed some of the black folks down in these parts seem a little crazy, he must have not seen many of the white folks.

In the meantime, looks like I am going to fashion a clothes hanger into an antenna if I want to hear my truck radio again. I hope no one, black or white, steals it.

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