I hate when this happens
June 3, 2004 8:19 AM   Subscribe

Pardon? Posted on Thursday, May 27, 2004. From the transcript of a phone call made by Kevin B. Wyckoff to his parents, Charles and Martha Wyckoff, a few hours after they had attended his funeral on December 22. Kevin B. Wyckoff is an inmate at the Lexington Correctional Facility in Oklahoma, where he is serving a five-year sentence for offenses including kidnapping and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Originally from Harper's Magazine, March 2004.
posted by sunexplodes (18 comments total)
Hilarious, in a Brazilesque surreal kind of way (and thanks!).
posted by carter at 8:36 AM on June 3, 2004

This is classic :

"CHARLES: Well, just a minute. Let me go get your mom; she wants to talk to you.


KEVIN: Hey, Momma.

MARTHA: Kevin, I cannot believe this.

KEVIN: Wait. It’s not my fault.

MARTHA: We buried you today, boy.

KEVIN: I understand that. But that’s not my fault, though.

MARTHA: Whose fault is it?

KEVIN: It’s the people that work here!

MARTHA: Well, somebody’s in deep shit.

The mother from the black lagoon.
posted by troutfishing at 8:38 AM on June 3, 2004

That happened to me once. Only, my parents were much more upset.
posted by PigAlien at 8:51 AM on June 3, 2004

My God what a soulless, ice-cold family this appears to be.

Not judging, of course.
posted by luser at 9:01 AM on June 3, 2004

I guess dad had to retract his "I love my dead gay son" casketside speech? That'd make me a little cold, too, to be honest.
posted by WolfDaddy at 9:18 AM on June 3, 2004

Those things aren't cheap you know.
posted by biffa at 9:29 AM on June 3, 2004

This is Pardon?, a reading, originally from March 2004, published Thursday, May 27, 2004. It is part of Lifestyle, which is part of Readings, which is part of Harpers.org.

Has Theme

I was immediately struck by how much Harpers website reflects the organization structures of Ftrain. So I took a look at ftrain and noticed that Mr. Ford is an associate web editor at Harpers. Seems to work well for the nature of Harpers' content.
posted by TimTypeZed at 9:35 AM on June 3, 2004

My favorite part:

MARTHA: Okay, Kevin. I am glad you are alive. Keep in touch, okay?
posted by Fofer at 9:42 AM on June 3, 2004

Um, how did they get around the um, identification of the body?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:02 AM on June 3, 2004

Kirk, they only need to properly identify it as dead, apparently.
posted by dobbs at 10:34 AM on June 3, 2004

I might be able to see it if the prison does cremation and sends home the ashes.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:44 AM on June 3, 2004

As funny as this is, I just have to say that maybe it's not as weird as it seems. We're getting very little context here. The guy was in prison for some serious stuff. Maybe his parents already considered him dead anyway, and maybe they didn't think so highly of him to begin with? Maybe what we're reading is the latest in a long series of chaotic events that had come into their lives because of their son, and nothing surprises them anymore.
posted by bingo at 10:46 AM on June 3, 2004

I was wondering whether Mom and Dad routinely tape their phone calls, but according to CNN, apparently the OK corrections department tapes outgoing inmate calls.
From the Sequoyah County Times where this was at least the story of the week (triple byline and two photos of Kevin, both alive):

Betty Rohde of Paradise Hill who attended Wyckoff's funeral said Tuesday morning Wyckoff's mother knew it was not her son in the casket. Rohde said, "She said 'That is not Kevin.'"

Rohde said she and others attending the funeral all knew the man in the casket "was simply not Kevin Wyckoff."

Maybe that's why they didn't seem all that surprised when Kevin called home.

Anyway, Mom and Dad are suing.. (More here.) Maybe they should go after the funeral director, too:

Chuck Wyckoff said the family had doubts from the beginning that the man identified was indeed their son.

He said that his wife saw the body first and didn't think it was their son. They even took a picture to the funeral home and showed the funeral director.

One thing they won't have to sue for:

Wyckoff said the warden of the prison has assured the family that the state will cover the cost of the funeral service.
posted by beagle at 11:03 AM on June 3, 2004

I was immediately struck by how much Harpers website reflects the organization structures of Ftrain. So I took a look at ftrain and noticed that Mr. Ford is an associate web editor at Harpers. Seems to work well for the nature of Harpers' content.

I think the semantic hierarchy of Harpers.com is just maddening. The Harper's Readings section is some of the best magazine editing around. Its beauty comes from the interplay between the selections and the editors' masterful sense of comedic timing. But when the mental connections become literal links, it just loses something.

The same sort of hierarchy works on Ftrain because it shows something about how Paul Ford thinks, but it just seems too automatic on Harpers.com— kind of like reading Yahoo from A-Z.

Maybe I'm still bitter that I didn't get a via credit for pointing them to the "Education of Little Tree." Yo, Harper's, you never call, never write... What up?
posted by eatitlive at 11:12 AM on June 3, 2004

TimTypeZed: Mr. Ford used Ftrain as the prototype for the Harper's site, refining it during personal use, then translating it to Harper's once he felt it worked.
posted by o2b at 11:17 AM on June 3, 2004

Did anyone notice that the banner ad that's apparently hard-wired above both "Sequoyah County Times" articles is for the family lawyer's firm?

First, the story's definitely strange. Then I thought that the sister's name ("Rebel") was a little strange. Then I thought the lawyer's name ("Fourth Scoufos") was a little strange. Then I thought that name of the guy who mis-informed the family ("James Bond") was a little strange. Touting the lawyer's services right on the same page, though, just kind of takes things over the top. I mean, I believe the story, but it's just weird.
posted by LairBob at 12:16 PM on June 3, 2004

Marlene Tootle.
posted by carter at 12:34 PM on June 3, 2004

Yeah...I thought the whole thing was fictional...but I guess I could be wrong. It's awfully strange though, I tell you what.
posted by dejah420 at 9:04 AM on June 4, 2004

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