APRIL FOOL’S Gypsum man angry over ignored fatwas
GYPSUM – Longtime local Virgil Fleaflicker says he’s fed up the fatwas he’s issued over the years against various agencies and individuals have fallen largely on deaf ears. Fleaflicker, a 67-year-old retired air compressor salesman, has used the unusual technique to express his displeasure with everything from new roundabouts in town to the high school kids who egg his house every Labor Day to the popular Teletubbies children’s television program.His most recent fatwa, issued Thursday, was a joint declaration of war against Bono, of the rock band U2, and iPods. “Every time one’a them fellers what lives in’nuh Middle East announces a fatwa, it’s some big deal, it’s all over my TV,” Fleaflicker said. “But let a good ole’ American boy proclaim jihad, and nobody gives a crap. It’s discrimination, I tell ya.'”
Fleaflicker, a self-proclaimed “died-in-the-wool” Lutheran who’s chairman of his church’s picnic and bingo committees, said he first called for holy war in 1989. He was inspired by the fatwa Iran’s ruling fundamentalists issued against British author Salman Rushdie and his book “The Satanic Verses,” which criticized certain interpretations of the Islamic religion. What infuriated Fleaflicker was the local grocery store had stopped selling his favorite kind of elk jerky. “They still had the spicy kind, but I’ve always been a smooth teriyaki man,” Fleaflicker said.But neither the Associated Press nor Reuters, nor any of the network news programs, took notice when he posted his fatwa against the supermarket on the bulletin board at the local post office. “Not even the local paper’d do a dang story,” he said.
Throughout the early ’90s, Fleaflicker used the post office pegboard to announce fatwas against Mary Poppins, those “smarmy, sketched” mugshots in the Wall Street Journal, synchronized swimming and the Florida Keys. And when Osama bin Laden issued his first major fatwa against Americans in 1996, Fleaflicker was not far behind with a fatwa against Cheetos, which, he claimed, were putting 5 1/2 fewer snacks in each bag. But again, he couldn’t get any even a drivel of media attention, he said. The local paper rejected his entry for its “Around Town” section, and he also had to hang his proclamation at a feed store because the local postmaster had taken out a restraining order against him. “Shoot,” he said, “farmers ain’t got much time t’be wagin’ inner’national holy wars.”
As for the Teletubbies, whom he suspects are “takin’ the LSD,” he has accused the rolly-polly quartet of stalking him, bugging his coffee maker and more recently, of “stealing his thoughts.” It’s the reason, he said, he’s covered his windows with tinfoil and has begun wearing a hat made of heavy-duty bubble wrap 24 hours a day. About his prospects of ever getting any attention, Fleaflicker – who has been reduced to taping his sad proclamations to street lights – said he’s been carefully considering more drastic measures. “Got a fatwa against victims of the tsunami jus’ about ready,” he said. Vail, Colorado