[Setting: my office-building. Outside, 8:30pm. Of course, a storm--a torrential storm--has started to envelop us. I am looking at a huge flatbed truck pulled up out front, and the driver is apologizing for being dispatched out here to a parking garage with a maximum clearance of 6 feet, 6 inches. (NOTE: In real life, the guy couldn't have been nicer, and it wasn't his fault.) I walk back inside the building, take the elevator back upstairs to my office, and call Triple A back.]
Mabes: Yes, hi. I just spoke with someone there recently about dispatching a technician and perhaps a tow truck my way . . .
AAA phone jockey: Sir, are you in a safe place?
Mabes: Yes, yes. I'm fine. Anyway, we just spoke . . .
AAA: Sir, can I please have your member number?
Mabes: Uh, yes. It's ________________.
AAA: Okay, thank you, sir. And I see you just called us and a tow truck is on its way to you.
Mabes: That's right. It . . .
AAA: Has the two truck not arrived?
Mabes: I appreciate your thoroughness. No, it's here. I think that I might have mentioned it this last time, but I think I was fairly specific that I was at my office building, and that I was underground in a parking garage.
AAA: Hold on, please; let me pull up your notes . . .
Mabes: Well, it's okay now, but I said that because the ceilings are very low, and . . .
AAA: Oh, yes! We did put that down.
Mabes: Well, I'm sure I should have been clearer, maybe, but I believe I mentioned a flat-bed and how that may not work?
AAA: Well, we did not put that down, but we sure did note that you were in a low, underground parking deck.
Mabes: Oh. Okay. Well, there's a very large flat-bed tow-truck outside right then. And I mentioned specifically an electrical problem, right?
AAA: Yes, it appears that you did!
Mabes: Okay, well, because . . . you sent a flat-bed tow truck, but I don't think you sent a technician. I mean, I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that you were sending one.
AAA: Uh, let me check . . .
Mabes: Oh, you don't worry about it. The two-truck driver has already called his dispatcher and is requesting just a pickup truck with jumper cables, so that's okay. I just wanted to double-check that I did in fact specify that the ceiling was very low, that a flat-bed might not work, and that I was possibly having electrical system problems?
AAA: Yes, sir, actually . . .
Mabes: Okay, thanks. I just wanted to double-check! I will call you if I need any further help.
Why Colonel Sartoris?
Allow me to explain the puzzling title. Colonel Sartoris is William Faulkner's greatest character. He exemplifies those values that his society cherishes, namely tradition, patriarchy, courtliness, and courage. Though modernity's slow march tries to strip him of these things, Sartoris continues to live as he always has, knowing that "the past is never dead. It's not even past." He seeks order in the honorable folkways and mores of his forbears. Let us not forget his example.