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For the next month, May addressed the issue whenever he had to promote a gig. “I thought I was a well-read, educated man,” he said. “I know nothing… I have learned so much… I want to learn more… I hope to be a conduit for things that we are not taught… and I apologize that I added to it… when I said, ‘Get over it.’ That’s so absurd to think you could get over something that is still happening.” May flew Chalepah to Los Angeles to play the Hollywood Improv alongside comedians Iliza Schlesinger, Jerrod Carmichael, and Margaret Cho. All proceeds went to the Bicona Foundation, a charity that provides assistance to the Natives of Pine Ridge. “Sometimes these life lessons are hard, but in the end we learned,” says Chalepah. “At the show in Los Angeles he said, ‘Thank you for releasing that audio clip, because I would have never otherwise known what I know now.’” Booked at the Santa Ana Star Casino outside Albuquerque, May hired Chalepah to open for him. He sat backstage between performances, reading a book on Indigenous history while taking large draws from an oxygen tank. “We made plans,” recalls Chalepah. “He said, ‘Let’s do this again.’ But I had a feeling that it wasn’t going to happen. He didn’t look well. I could tell it was serious.” “Look at my tour schedule,” May told her. “If you see something on there that you want to be a part of—let me know. I think it’s bullshit that a lot of Native casinos don’t even hire Native comedians. As long as I’m alive, I’m going to see that it changes.” Two weeks later Ralphie May’s heart gave out. He was dead at the age of forty-five. From WE HAD A LITTLE REAL ESTATE PROBLEM: The Unheralded Story of Native Americans & Comedy by Kliph Nesteroff. Copyright © 2021 by Kliph Nesteroff. Reprinted by permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc. FRANK TALK: The Crazy Old Guy With Cats Wicked Local Courier & Sentinel Editor Frank Mulligan can be reached at fmulligan@wickedlocal.Com (This is a humor column and any similarity portrayed to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events, is purely coincidental.) The crazy old guy with cats woke up from a nap on the couch. One of the crazy old guy with cats’ cats was seated on the arm of the couch at his feet. Jesus Lion Eyes Canvas
The other of the crazy old guy with cats’ cats was seated on a table directly behind the arm of the couch at his head. “Hello, cats,” the crazy old guy with cats said. Neither cat seemed to acknowledge the greeting. The crazy old guy with cats got up. He wanted to leave the room. But he knew this was a problem. That’s because the crazy old guy with cats’ cats were likely to renew their blood feud if left on their own. That’s because the younger, larger cat – named Trouble – was going to approach the older, smaller cat – named Mama Kitty. The crazy old guy with cats knew what would happen next. He knew because he had witnessed it several thousand times. Trouble would draw nearer and nearer to Mama Kitty, eliciting louder and louder yowls from her until he got close enough so that she would scamper away to be rid of him. This, of course, would delight him. And he would chase her until she reached one of her safe zones – atop the bookcase, behind the couch, or between the washing machine and dryer. From here she could continue to yowl until the crazy old guy with cats could stand it no longer – usually about 93 seconds. The crazy old guy with cats would then come rushing over to yell at Trouble. He would yell, “Trouble, I told you leave Mama Kitty alone! I swear I’m going to murder you, murder I tell you. I am not afraid to commit the crime of catricide.” The crazy old guy with cats would then turn to Mama Kitty and yell, Jesus Lion Eyes Canvas “Shut up! He’s your son!” The crazy old guy with cats would then nudge Trouble into another room with his foot. That was difficult because Trouble seemed to interpret this as an overture to play. He would unobligingly fall to his side and look up to see what the crazy old guy with cats would come up with next. Still, the crazy old guy with cats was … well … crazy, so he nonetheless left the room. He was clearly crazy if you subscribe to the notion that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Plus, he had to leave the damn room. There were other parts of the house he had to visit now and again. But before he left the room, the crazy old guy with cats tried something he had often attempted in the past.
The crazy old guy with cats attempted to reason with these two peanut-brained felines. This alone is added evidence that he was a crazy old guy with cats. First, he employed the “bad” crazy old guy with cats strategy. “Listen, you little expletives. Don’t push me. I am a loaded Rottweiler ready to go off. This is the last chance for you two and your nonsense. The last chance! Get it! Get it!” Then, though, he switched to the “good” crazy old guy with cats approach. “Look, kitties, I know you have your differences. Hey, in this crazy world of ours, we all have our differences. But we can settle them together – if we work together. I’m sure that you two can learn to get along and – yes – grow to cherish each other – with just a little effort. OK, sound good?” The two peanut-brained felines looked up and wondered what the crazy old guy with cats would come up with next. They soon understood the crazy old guy with cats meant that he was leaving the room, allowing them to renew their blood feud. Not wishing to disappoint him, Trouble approached Mama Kitty nearer and nearer, prompting her to yowl louder and louder until she made her accustomed break for it. She hightailed it to the back of the couch. Trouble then set up sentry duty at the couch’s arm so that she could continue to yowl at him. The commotion, of course, reached the crazy old guy with cats in his far off location in another part of the house. He burst into the room. He then yelled, “This is absolutely it. I promise. This is the big one. We’re talking catricide. This is the last time. I’m warning you.”