Osama bin Hidin' II

Week of April 3, 2002

Apr 3, 2002 at 4:00 am
It galls Dubya and the top brass, and it torques us, too -- enough for a second visit to this question: Does it bother you that we haven't gotten Osama bin Laden?

Randy Grim, founder of Stray Rescue of St. Louis and subject of an upcoming book by former RFT staffer Melinda Roth, says it bothers him, "but not my roommate's father. He lives for it, 24-7. Ever since Sept. 11, he's been obsessed by the whole thing. Each morning, first thing, he clicks on the 52-inch TV and turns to the bin Laden channel. He says stuff like 'Kill the bastard!' but I think that if they do capture bin Laden it'd be a sad day for him -- I mean, he wouldn't have anything to do. If bin Laden dies, O.J. better kill somebody quick!"

Trying to chill out after work, Diane Von Hof finds the topic disquieting, if not distasteful: "Yes, it bothers me! Why wouldn't it? I can't even imagine it wouldn't bother somebody that he's still out there. In fact, I'd almost rather not comment, really, because I don't want to be associated with anything having to do with that evil son of a bitch. He makes my skin crawl."

His surname sounds like the green vegetable. "Yes, it does bother me," says Ed Brauchle, a typewriter repairman with Martin Office Supply, "and I don't know why it hasn't happened. There's all kinds of bounties on his head, and he can't have that many followers that are that loyal ... so why isn't his head on a platter?"

Coordinated openings in Clayton bring out hordes of galleristas. On the prowl at the Caitlyn Gallery is Don Erickson, co-owner of the Crowe T. Brooks Gallery and self-proclaimed curator of Bulgarian mustard painting, which apparently requires a canvas of pumpernickel. "I'm afraid Osama bin Laden is much like Santa Claus," he says, "a mythic creature which may or may not exist. But just as Santa serves to please us with the joy of Christmas, Osama bin Laden serves to make us shiver with the fear and loathing of all that is not American."

"Are we going to get political here? That could ruin a good buzz," chides Aurora, a model for New York photographer Harold Glit, showing at the Caitlyn. With a bit of coaxing and surrounded by titillating photos of herself, Aurora finally makes her pronouncement: "Yes, it does bother me. We're so self-righteous and mighty, and yet we're going from cave to cave trying to find him. Something doesn't add up."


Carpe noctem -- "Seize the night" -- reads the sign in Steve Smith's office. It makes sense, seeing that the associate dean of the St. Louis University School of Law is in charge of night classes. "I guess I'd prefer having him," he says, "but I don't lie awake thinking about it. In some respects, getting him would make a martyr out of him, and we'd be in worse shape than before. But he's a multiheaded monster, and we're not going to get all the heads.