Mark and Patricia McCloskey, fingers on triggers, aiming at protesters

The Snowflakes

A new story and an old story

Alan Cooper
Curious
Published in
7 min readNov 10, 2020

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Mark and Patricia McCloskey, the couple who pointed a pistol and an assault weapon at peaceful protesters in St. Louis last June, have filed suit against a news photographer who snapped their rumpled likenesses. The picture went viral and they instantly became an internet meme.

I can only hope that the judge is not insane and summarily dismisses the case. But the plight of the McCloskeys reminded me of a similar — and similarly tragicomic — case from years ago.

One of my favorite books is The Egg and I, a bestselling memoir originally published in 1945. The author, Betty MacDonald, lived on a remote chicken ranch and her stories were sensitive, observant, and often hilarious, but there were also meta-stories about her tales, and the McCloskey story reminded me of the biggest Egg and I meta-story.

In the 1920s, MacDonald was newly married to a man she thought was a sedate Seattle office worker, when he announced that he had sold their house and bought a chicken farm in the distant wilds of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. MacDonald had grown up in the era of wives dutifully playing only a supporting role in their husband’s life, so she left her books and warm urban life to chop wood, carry water, and slop the chickens. The whole scheme, marriage included, collapsed after a few years but in that…

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Alan Cooper
Curious

Ancestry Thinker, Software Alchemist, Regenerative Rancher