(AP) Newark, New Jersey by staff writer Steven Jemerik:
Former Staff Sargent Oscar D. Grouch’s attorneys came forward last night just before the Camden Court House closed and filed a lawsuit accusing the Veterans Administration of impugning his good name and other imprecations that sully his former Sesame Street persona.
Sgt. Grouch served in Vietnam and was a survivor of the Khe Sanh siege in 1968, receiving the Purple Heart for numerous through and through gunshot wounds to the head. He suffered from PTSD for years until he was finally service connected in 1988. Unfortunately he was never able to overcome his early post-war habits and remained homeless and friendless.
Grouch finally landed a job at the Public Broadcasting Company with the help of President Jimmy Carter in late 1976. In spite of his mental aberrations and suffering from what would later be conclusively diagnosed with PTSD in 1982, he appeared to be headed to a great career in his signature role as his homeless self. He signed a permanent contract in 1980 cementing what appeared to be a solid income stream.
After a brief fling with Miss Piggy in 1989 -90, he again returned to homelessness and had been noticeably absent from Sesame Street productions. This week, when the news surfaced that his character was being used by the Veterans Administration to disparage all Veterans, he approached his fiduciary and indicated he’d had enough.
Terrance “Big Bird” Raven filed the papers on Mr. Grouch’s behalf and was accompanied to the courthouse by old friends Bert and Ernie who refused to divulge their last names citing a desire for anonymity.
The author was able to reach Kermit T. Frog, an old acquaintance who had this to say. “Oscar has always been a private man and carried a lot of guilt over things that happened over 40 years ago during his time in the Marines. Vietnam took a terrible toll on him and VA’s unconscionable attack on his character is uncalled for. In fact, it shows their indifference to the Veterans’ plight everywhere. Oscar served his country loyally and even to this day still prefers Army O.D. green -colored clothing. In spite of his homelessness, he is a role model for today’s youth. He has very high morals and would give his last dime to someone less fortunate.”
Mr. Raven held an impromptu press conference this evening and stated he has yet to hear VA venture an apology for their breach of good taste. “My client served honorably and was discharged honorably. I see no honor here. If this attack on my client’s character is what Veterans can expect from the Agency formed to look out for their best interests, I fear for what America is becoming. All Veterans should. Slander has no place in Veterans Affairs.”
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