Good lord, it’s a long, weird drive to Henry County, out of Columbus on 33 northwest about forty miles, then that’s it for the highway. Two lane roads all the way, remote roadhouses with creepy names, gigantic, lizard-eyed birds watching you over dead stuff on the side of the road. Is this an episode of Supernatural or what? Feels like it, and that stinks because it just started and that means I’m the opening gruesome death. Or you. I mean you’re here, too.
Farther and farther out of the city, we start to vaguely remember when things were slower, and you had no idea what was going on anywhere in the world if you just went outside and sat on a chair too far away to hear the phone. Are we feeling creeped out or nostalgic? Well, we were kids in the seventies, so – both.
Check this out:
Are you wondering what’s down County Road X, my friend? Because I’m not. I would have to have a very good reason indeed to drive down County Road X while I’m this creeped out. Luckily, we don’t have to, we get to the Henry County Courthouse, hand things to people and smile at them while they stamp them.
Still feeling bizarrely Supernatural, like you know how Sam and Dean are always going to the library and helping themselves to a cardboard box of whatever obscure records they need from whatever time, to move the plot along? Check out the Henry County Auditor’s archiving system:
You’re probably wondering if there’s stuff in those compartments up there and if so, where’s the ladder? Well, you’re in luck because I ask them. Of course I do. And yes there’s stuff in it, and there’s a special Pole they use to get stuff out. Better get Charlie in here with the Pole, is what they say, I imagine, and I don’t like the image. Not Charlie, not the pole.
The Recorder’s Office is similar:
So in summary, Henry County is creepy, but good luck hacking their records. Let’s get the hell out of here.
We’re starving, so we’ll eat a horrific breakfast sandwich from McDonald’s which makes us cry and punch the roof of the car as we drive, and then we’re headed down to Mercer County, passing the County Road X again and feeling better as it slides away in our rearview mirror.
And by the time we get to the Mercer County Courthouse, we’re feeling like a million bucks, because holy shit – it’s the best courthouse in Ohio!
For example, come on up the front steps with me and look what they have just inside the main entrance – where most counties keep security guards and metal detectors:
Not saying I don’t appreciate it, it’s just what year is this again? I’m listening to the news all day in the car, and this place is the opposite of the news. It’s also clean as a whistle in here. I swear if I lived here in Celina, Ohio, I would haunt this place. They would be kicking me out all the time. Better go check the lounge, see if Tom’s in there in his underpants again.
All right, let’s quit screwing around and go upstairs, get some stuff stamped. Oh, the County Engineer has a question about the document I want her to stamp. The way we handle questions is we smile and shrug and defer to the question asker’s superior knowledge about documents and stamps, and nearly one hundred percent of the time, they figure it out for us. Again, ask yourself, what would a monkey with a sign around his neck do? But not literally, monkeys are gross.
On to the Auditor’s office. Holy crap, it’s the same woman from the County Engineer’s office, she just went through a door in the back while I went out to the hall and in a different door. I don’t comment, but somehow, vaguely, I’m not crazy about it. Let’s keep both stamps in that first room, or let’s have two people do the stamping. Is this a government office or a Monty Python skit? Cut it out.
Ah, well, she’s nice enough, nevermind. One more stop, and that would be the Mercer County Recorder, and they’re not going to stamp anything, they’re going to scan something and I’m going to give them a check. And I skid to a stop when I walk in the room, because the person behind the desk is none other than Actual Mercer County Recorder Angie King. I recognize her because last night I had to pull up the website for the address.
Most counties, the title of County Recorder is not so literal. Angie King shows up to work, and she records documents into official record. Rolls up her sleeves and does the job. Holy crap, I’d vote for her, if I lived in Mercer County, and if she was cool about letting me use the lounge.
Gotta hit the Men’s room now, and you can come along even if you’re not a dude – it’s not the kind of blog where I’m going to actually pee in it, dig? But there’s something in here you need to see.
Four urinals, but only one handle. A very special, center-mounted handle. One Handle – To Flush Them All.
Doesn’t seem very efficient does it? Flushing four toilets every time you use one? Well it’s apparently a little confusing too. Can you see those signs hung up on each side, above the fringe toilets? The toilets subservient to the One True Handle?
Here let me help you.
It’s a helpful picture of the handle just a few feet over, in case you’re really stumped. One of these signs on each side.
Now, typically when someone has to hang up a couple of signs, there’s been a real problem. This doesn’t strike me as Version One of the sign, either. Someone is making signs, and that person is getting impatient, but that person has to remain polite about it for some reason. I really wish I knew who that person was, so I could say, dude. Spring for a plumber. This is some of the craziest bullshit I’ve ever seen. Four toilets is too many. Pull yourself together.
But as I mentioned, I’m very busy and important, and we have to jump right back in the car and barrel back to Columbus, so we can review loan documents with people. On the way back, I spot a large chicken on the side of a country road, eating french fries out of a discarded Wendy’s container, and holy crap, the farm house is across the street. This chicken had to cross the road to get to the fries. I nearly crash my car, but there is unfortunately no time to take a picture of the chicken, but at least we know what happened, and why.
Here’s a picture of Foghorn Leghorn and Miss Prissy, instead. End transmission.