Tyell Morton’s Brush with Hysteria

tyrell mortonSee that young fellow in the photos posted here? His name is Tyell Morton. He is an 18-year-old senior at the Consolidated High School in Rushville, Indiana. Handsome kid, huh? And by all accounts he’s a good kid. Just your typical free-spirited teenager from what could be any Midwestern town. And what a sense of humor! Seriously, this is a guy after my own funny bone. Get this: As a prank, he sneaked into the girls’ bathroom of his school and placed a life-sized, inflatable doll inside. Isn’t that funny? This kid is a laugh riot! A comedian waiting to happen!

Wait it get’s better!

This is one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard! A security camera caught him entering the bathroom with the package containing the uber dolly in hand, and exiting without it. HA! HA! HA! I CAN’T STAND IT!

Someone saw this scene transpiring on a video monitor and….and….AND CALLED THE SHERIFF’S OFFICE BOMB SQUAD!!! MY GUT IS BUSTING!!!


Isn’t that a scream??? HA! HA! I LOVE IT!!! But wait! Wait! I haven’t even gotten to the punch line! Are you ready for this??? Hold onto your sides:





Please excuse me while I take a deep breath. As a matter of fact, let’s all take a deep breath….

When I first learned of this barely believable story before the sun came up this morning, I could not help but notice that Tyell Morton is an African American. Yeah, yeah. I notice those kind of things. So sue me!

Now listen folks, I realize that the white power structure in this country has this perverted and insatiable need to incarcerate huge numbers of black people — but I’m not even taking issue with that here. Honest! It’s something I can learn to live with (I’m white. It’s easy). But what the heck, it would seem to me that this is taking matters to the….uh….”extreme” shall we say? Would we even be talking about this story at all if Tyell was named Rusty and was the red-headed, freckle-faced son of the mayor of Rushville? What the hell do you think the reaction would have been if that were the case?

“Ha! Ha! Ho! Well you know what they say! Ha! Ha! ‘Boys will be boys!’ Ho! Ho! Ha! Ha! Ho!

To be perfectly honest with you, this whole stupid affair makes me kind of ashamed of my Indiana roots (My mother is a native of South Bend). It is not what Tyell did that he is being punished for. It is because everyone involved embarrassed themselves silly by overreacting to what he did — in such an insanely comical manner. They need to save their clueless, egg-covered faces by throwing the book at this kid. And remember: that is exactly what he is – a kid – a young adult at childhood’s twilight. Let’s get a grip here.

The trials and tribulations of Tyell Morton have me thinking back to some of the pranks I pulled off as a precocious (and extremely lovable, I assure you) teenager. Truth be told, and with all due respect to him, as a prankster, Tyell is fairly low budget. The crowd I went around with took pranks to new plateaus never before dreamed of by the prankiest practitioners of pranksterism. Sticking an inflatable doll in the girls bathroom? HA! We used to do that sort of thing in our sleep!

There was this old, weathered bungalow on the outskirts of town where that old gang of mine used to gather at to hang out and party under the stars. Late one Autumn afternoon we decided to dismantle it. We literally just took the place apart, piece-by-piece. Why? Because we could. What the heck! No one was living there and it had been abandoned decades before. Besides, we probably saved the town the cost of removing it as they eventually would have had to do; a thought that never even entered our tender and twisted minds at the time – but one that does somewhat lessen the guilt all these decades later.

And how could I possibly leave out this memorable, late night frolic from the early winter of 1975, when me and my old partner-in-crime, Dan O’Brien, led the local police force on a high speed chase that went to the very edge of the village. They followed us straight onto a field that was covered with a foot of freshly-fallen snow. Because the vehicle Dan was driving had four-wheel drive, we were easily able to maneuver our way back to the road again. They got stuck. Hang your head in shame, Tyell Mortin. You think you’re so hot.

NOTE TO THE GOSHEN, NY POLICE DEPARTMENT: This was 36 years ago, guys. Chill.

And then there was the day John Harragin, Kevin Swanwick, and I blew up the local nursery school….I’m just kidding. We never did anything that weird, I promise.

“It was a senior prank. They’re blowing it out of proportion. I didn’t hurt anybody. I didn’t intend to embarrass anybody. What did I do wrong?” -Tyell Morton

What indeed. If Tyell Morton had a history of delinquent behavior, the severity of the reaction to his harmless prank would be bad enough, but this kid has never been in trouble a day in his life! Not only that, he’s a good student with a great future. One of his persecutors told reporters this sort of mischief can no longer be looked upon as a harmless, schoolboy prank; that we live in less innocent times, and that Tyell should have taken to heart the lessons of Columbine before he pulled off his wicked little stunt.

REALITY CHECK: The Columbine High School Massacre in Littleton. Colorado occurred on April 20, 1999 – twelve years ago. Tyell was six-years-old at the time. It is difficult to believe that he even remembers that tragedy let alone taken anything to heart from it.

tom deganWhen I heard about his plight, my immediate reaction was that he deserved to be suspended for two days – at best. Upon further reflection and two cups of extremely caffeinated coffee however, I came to the opinion that he didn’t even deserve that. This is not justice, folks. This is crass hysteria.

Tyell, if you’re reading this I have a message for you: In a twisted, convoluted sort of way, this horrible episode might very well turn out to be the best thing that ever happened to you. Your life is a reality series waiting to happen, pal. You need to hire yourself an agent pronto. I’m available.

Tom Degan


The friends of Tyell Morton have started a Facebook page in support of him. Go there and give him a pat on the back. He could use it. Here’s a link:


Eight years. Honestly, can you believe these chuckleheads?


Published by the LA Progressive on June 16, 2011
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About Tom Degan

Tom Degan is a fifty-four-year old video artist who in 2006 became so thoroughly disgusted at the state of America's national political dialogue, he decided to take time off to become a freaking civics teacher. He was born in Goshen, NY in 1958 and, after living all over the United States and Canada, moved back there in 1992. He is a high school dropout who in 1977 received an equivalency diploma (HEY, IT'S LEGAL!) He attended SUNY in Middletown, NY and in 1986 studied journalism at the New School in New York City. He is the recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and has worked as a truck driver, a radio DJ, and a metal worker... OK, he didn't ACTUALLY receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, but he DID get some kind of ribbon of sorts when he was in the Cub Scouts. He is the inventor of Cheez Whiz and lives off the royalties on the sales of that fine product. He loves children and little baby duckies. FULL DISCLOSURE: He didn't really invent Cheez Whiz. His address is: 2590 Rte 17M (PO BOX 611) Goshen, NY 10924 (845) 294-5714