essays and articles by david g allen

What about Bob? He’ll need a job soon.


Treasurer John Perdue periodically advertises that his office might be holding money that belongs to us. It’s called "unclaimed property." To learn if your money is laying about in a file cabinet in Charleston, all you have to do is send a search request to Mr. Perdue’s staff and they will promptly take a look-see.

I recently did just that, and to my surprise, the Treasurer’s office informed me that they were holding money in my name. They promised a speedy remittance and the check arrived in the mail in timely fashion.

This is the honest to God truth—my windfall amounted to $3.75!

There has to be a cheaper, more efficient way to deliver checks written on the state’s bank account. Postage alone amounted to 30% of my claim. So I have been thinking, and thinking, and thinking. And here’s my recommendation.

Mankind has yet to invent a system as efficient for delivering government checks as our governor, Bob Wise. Give the man credit. The inside breast pocket of his suit coat has held thousands of checks written for all possible amounts and he has meticulously and perfectly dispensed said checks in a glorious fashion to every city, town, and community in the state. His clever prestidigitation once transformed a pocket-sized check into a replica the size of a sheet of plywood which he then presented to lottery winner Jack Whittaker during a live television broadcast. (Despite rumors to the contrary, no trick photography was involved.)

Why, then, doesn’t John Perdue offer the soon-to-be-unemployed Bob Wise the job of delivering checks? Checks could be delivered faster and cheaper than relying on the mail. This is a no-brainer!

Of course, there would have to be some gimmickry involved—steak just isn’t steak without the sizzle.

The Wise Fargo delivery concept would have Bob Wise, our ubiquitous teamster, drive a chuck wagon pulled by miniature horses. Or call it the Money Stampede. Regardless, what rural community wouldn’t love having its grant check delivered in a strongbox. If bandits are lurking in the hills and hollers, then Lynndie England could ride shotgun. She’d also be helpful in pointing at certain things along the way.

Or how about the FedEx concept? I got this idea after watching a FedEx truck float down Greenbrier Street during last year’s flood. Let’s paint a sternwheeler to look like a FedEx truck, but instead, call it State-Y’s. This would be a crafty way for Cap’n Bob to deliver checks to our riverfront towns.

There are times when blockbuster checks have to be delivered. The Cabela’s check comes to mind. The best way to deliver a check like Cabela’s is on a Porker Run. Let’s suit up Biker Bob in leather and studs and buy him a Harley. We’d all be in Hog Heaven when he roars into town!

Senator Byrd is always getting checks for our state. One derisive lobbying group calls these checks "Byrd Droppings." Despite that connotation, these checks have to be delivered. But sometimes, Sen. Byrd’s duties in the senate prevent him from coming home to hand them out. Couldn’t Bob Wise be of help? Why couldn’t he pilot Senator Byrd’s hot air balloon, the Guanosphere, and make these deliveries?

The state hands out millions of dollars for sewer grants every year. But the public never attends the ceremonies. Who wants to celebrate sewers? Well, the Rotoclogger routine could change attitudes. Bob Wise could come through the old sewer, pop open a manhole cover, and leap to the street where he’d clog his way to the grandstand and hand over the money. Not only does this routine have entertainment value but it also offers a subliminal message that the old sewer is unclogged.

And last but not least, the PROMISE scholarship fund keeps shrinking and eligibility standards will have to be further tightened. In just a few years, a student will need straight A’s to get one of these grants. Bob Wise likes to hand out PROMISE checks and what better way to emphasize the importance of earning straight A’s than by his wearing a Killer Bee costume?

John, thanks for sending me that check. I appreciate your finding my lost money. Now then, what about Bob?


David G. Allen, Clarksburg, WV

"What About Bob?" appeared in the September 17, 2004 issue of the WV State Jounal.




Copyright 1990-2005  David G. Allen