2018-03-07 / Opinions & Letters


Midwest Memo
by Alan Shultz

Ergo is a little adverb of which I am quite fond. Ergo carries a big wallop. Its definition includes words with far less impact: hence, thus, therefore, accordingly. But ergo conveys an obviousness in its delivery. It has a rap on the head punch to it.

“He squandered the family fortune, ergo, they’re all broke.”

Maybe, because I like the word, I am tempted to employ ergo before I’ve considered all the possibilities, or at least considered the contrarian’s point of view. Last year’s Academy Awards bollixed climax ended with the announcement of the wrong film winning the Best Picture award. Since Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty were the presenters of the award, I thought we’d seen the last of that duo. And so I could have quite easily penned the following:

“Faye and Warren were front and center at the scene of the crime, ergo, we’ll not be seeing them again at the Academy Awards anytime soon.”

But I was wrong.

And how inspiring it was Sunday night to see Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty back at the presenters’ podium announcing the award for Best Picture to “The Shape of Water.”

Not only was I thrilled at “Shape” winning, I was inspired at the Dunaway-Beatty duo showing back up with grace and poise and good sportsmanship. The standing ovation “welcome back” the audience gave to the twosome was grand.

“Mistakes happen, ergo, second chances are born.”

Ergo works in the practical world as well as in Hollywood.

I park my car in a six-story cement bunker-like structure open to the wind and the elements, as well as the bad guys and the homeless. For years the facility has been sorely neglected, ergo, not a very pleasant place to park one’s car. Homeless folks found the heated elevator vestibules quite welcoming. Marijuana smoking teenagers liked the very isolated stairways. Litter everywhere was the norm, smells were the bi-product and broken car windows the final wake-up call.

The parkers, including yours truly, complained a lot.

Finally, management hired a nice young lady to wipe the vestibule down and sweep the litter. But I don’t think management ever counted on the seriousness with which this young lady would approach her job. She has single-handedly transformed the garage and become the defacto proprietor of the place.

The former janitor had a broom, a dust pan, a garbage bag and no time to spare. The new “proprietor” has a big four-wheel cart with brooms and buckets and cleaning supplies. She wears a bright yellow official looking vest as she makes her rounds - sometimes with her cart, sometimes without. She patrols the ramps, mops the floors, takes out the trash, mops the floors, sweeps the cement, mops the floors.

I come and go from the parking garage many times a day. The floors are in a constant state of clean - a near impossible status for a public garage.

Because our proprietor is omni-present, and the floors are usually wet, the homeless and the teens and the bad guys have drifted off to dirtier places. There’s a fussy new sheriff in a yellow vest at the parking garage, ergo, I’m a happy parker.


Have you ever lost your car keys? Oh, good, I’m not alone on this.

To cover my bases with car keys, I need multiple sets. I need a set to use, a set for Deb, a backup set at the farm, a backup set in Chicago. That’s the minimum.

I don’t imagine I’m alone when it comes to needing more than the two sets of keys that come with a new car.

But keys are simple, right, and making duplicate sets of keys should be no problem. Except that the auto industry has made keys complex and expensive and apparently forgotten the fact that folks lose keys all the time. Keys get stolen, thrown out in the trash, misplaced, left behind. One friend of mine dropped her keys into the storm sewer. Another sent his down a highrise trash chute.

My Buick keys cost $65 to replace. Our Toyota keys clock in right at $400 to duplicate. My friend Chezzi has a fancy Porsche - a really fine automobile. His keys are $1,000 a pop.

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