I don’t claim to speak for John Q. Public but I can speak for myself and I get a little frosted when my ideas are stolen. Perhaps not plagiarized, but stolen nevertheless.
A good example would be the recent noise out of Texas that the Lone Star State is considering secession. Months before this news hit the wires, I had composed (in my head, unfortunately) a complete scenario that included the entire former confederacy excluding Virginia. The way I saw it, a win-win for most everybody concerned. There will be more on that in a later column, but, for right now, it’s the Boogaloo Boys I want to talk about.
Not only did they outright steal an expression — “boogaloo” — I’ve been using for years, they’ve also muscled their way into my customary getup for part of their “uniform.” Of all things, under their body armor they wear Hawaiian shirts. Anyone with whom I have even a passing acquaintance will testify that 11 months out of 12, Hawaiian shirts are my thing.
I have no idea of why the Boogaloos would take to draping their steroid-enhanced torsos with a garment that is all about fun, surfing, and 1951 Ford Woodies. Go figure.
This larceny pushed my nose so far out of joint that I am going the unmentionable mile. Form my own group. Not that I have an innate disdain for joining. After all, I am a member in good standing of two scrofulous bands of “ne’er do wells:” E Clampus Vitus (think California Gold Rush) and Vomito ergo sum (think poker).
Since neither of these affiliations qualify me as belonging to an organization with any visible structure, I feel free in forging ahead with a group to counter the Boogaloos.
Choosing a name was problematic. After all the Boogaloos have drawn under their wing “Proud Boy street thugs, Three Percent militias, retired cops turned Oath Keepers, white power fanatics (think Aryan Nations), hard-right Christian militants (think Patriot Prayer), Qanon crazies and MAGA meatheads with guns.” (to quote Christopher Ketcham)
Isn’t it always that way? The lunatics in their headline grabbing always get the really cool names.
Antifa? Come on. Aside from the fact there is no such formal organization, they are way too eager to take up the M.O. of the bullies on the other side. And the name antifa? “Anti-anything” (even fascism) lacks the panache of Proud Boys or Oath Keepers or even the Boogaloo Boys.
It gets worse. Word from Florida is Trump’s forming a new group: Patriot Party. If elections were my game, I would have to consider something like “Mom and Apple Pie Party.” But, since the Boogaloos aren’t about winning elections as much as they are overturning elections, I wanted something that resonates fun in the sun rather than anger, a name for true believers to rally around that totes boogie boards rather than assault rifles.
After sharing one too many Modelo Especials with Katherine and my friend Ed as we gazed across Puerto Vallarta’s rooftops, it came to me: The Ooga Booga Boys. As a writer takes inspiration from a title well-written, this name led directly to other ideas. Our official anthem could be Mungo Jerry’s “In the Summertime,” our uniforms could be patterned after Tom Selleck’s character in Magnum P.I. Hawaiian shirts, puka shell necklaces, shorts and white canvas sneakers with no socks.
The choice of an outfit popularized by Selleck is inspired by a desire to reach out across the aisle to right-winger Selleck and any of his tribe of fans who might be drawn in by the groovy Ooga Booga duds.
Since it is vital to differentiate the Ooga Boogas from the Boogaloos, it was necessary to bring as many women into our ranks as possible. No macho, testosterone-fueled “women’s place is in the home” misogyny for us. This is where my helpmate, Katherine, put the finishing touches on our plan to launch.
“I’ve got it! The Ooga Boogettes! And the outfit is unisex so we’re set to go!”
Unfortunately, any plans for mobilizing an army of Jimmy Buffett’s ex-Parrot heads into anything resembling a force to be reckoned with will have to wait until we return from our winter hideaway south of the border. Ole!
A lifelong activist, Steve McGehee settled here in 1973 and lives in Palouse with his wife Katherine. His work life has varied from bartender to university instructor to wrecking yard owner.