Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gerald Hege: Back in Black

Gerald K. Hege, Esquire 2Hey, I'm no stylist, but I did find Gerald Hege's new look arresting as he sauntered past me into the Davidson County Board of Elections building the other day. Black jeans, a matching Henley, all cinched together by a collared pair of shades and a high-waisted motorcycle jacket. Why, he looked fabulous enough to win back his jurisdiction and drop-kick Steven Segal all at the same time. But then, the former Sheriff of Davidson County has always had an eye for fashion: the broad horizontal stripes he made his chain-gangs wear, the sickly pick paint he slathered on jail cell walls, the sleek black 'Spider Car' he tooled around town in... Nope, no one ever accused this fallen lawmen of not having any style. But Hege saved the real savoir vivre for he and his men. High-laced combat boots, jet black fatigues, questionable epaulets. Hell, I once saw set up a roadblock on I-85 while wearing a camoflauge onesie, spats and a pith helmet! Okay, maybe I didn't - but with Hege's tastes, it's not outside the realm of possibility. He's always been that kind of pop icon with a paramilitary flair... You know - like Michael Jackson!

But unlike the King of Pop, Gerald K. Hege couldn't avoid prosecution. In 2003, authorities charged the self-styled crime fighter with 15 felonies and suspended him from office. Rumors of embezzlement, nepotism and all kinds of false pretense swirled around Hege until the man with a "No Deals" sign on his office door accepted a plea agreement, eventually pleading guilty to two felony counts of obstruction of justice. I was outside the courthouse that day and as a (somewhat) humbled Hege emerged from within, I knew it wouldn't be the last time we heard from this oh so controversial constable. At the time, I was just coming to terms my writing compulsion and in a way I hated to see him go. Six years later, my biggest literary regret is that I never gave this larger than life figure the Lenslinger treatment. Well, it looks like I'll get that chance after all...

'Cause Hege's Back (in black). Now a convicted felon who's no longer allowed to carry a weapon, the man who wallpapered his office lobby with self-congratulatory press clippings finally has the street cred to truly be the bad boy he always claimed to be. Since he left office in disgrace, the city of Lexington has gone back to being known for barbecue, a sedate replacement has rid the department of any inappropriate bling and all the TV stations have shuttered their Davidson County bureaus. As a fan of civil liberties and skeptic of all things hillbilly-ninja, I breathed a sigh of relief when Hege left office. But as a newsman and satirist, I wept openly. I've met some real doozies in my day: ghetto preachers, rock stars, shackled wackos... but I've never run across anyone like him. A master showman, cocksure politician and self-avowed enemy of the criminal element, Gerald K. Hege has the grapes of an ape and an ego to rival that other polarizing figure I've chased down a few hallways, Simon Cowell. Now that he's trying to get his old job back, all the Piedmont's a pundit. 'Surely the good people of Davidson County won't re-hire that felon!' I hear them say. Perhaps not, but I've eaten lunch in enough swine dives around Lexington to know his supporters are just as rabid as his detractors. Whether or not this latest move is his first step to redemption or merely a failed footnote to his tarnished legacy, you can believe one thing: Gerald K. Hege will plot his comeback with swagger, menace and panache...

I just hope he doesn't start rockin' that Smokey Bear hat again. That's a hard look for anyone to pull off...

1 comment:

turdpolisher said...

guys like him are never really out.

hell, here, former governor and convicted felon edwin edwards has been in the federal pen for more than 10 years, and if someone slapped an edwards '12 sticker on their bumper, there'd be a draft edwards movement in less than 24 hours. scary thing is, he'd win.