At a $500-a-plate, black-tie fundraising event last night, local luminaries were stunned into silence when the long-rumored, but rarely seen feud between the Lighthouse and Tipple erupted at the gala meant to be a festive celebration of the local Community Fund’s successful fundraising efforts to cover the costs of the Lighthouse’s recent face-lift.
According to numerous eyewitness accounts, the Lighthouse snubbed the Coal Tipple in a receiving line prior to the evening’s dinner (of chicken or fish, with a side of asparagus and a slice of cherry pie for dessert). As the line moved on, the Lighthouse was overhead laughing with friends, and calling the Tipple “concrete-trash from the wrong side of the tracks, who can’t even keep his re-bar tucked in.”
After being told what the Lighthouse was saying, by friend and local artist Lee S. Brown, the Tipple stormed off, foregoing the lavish dinner for a position near the open bar. “I’m sorry now that I didn’t wait until after the party to tell the Tipple”, says Brown, “But we’re friends, and it felt like the right thing to do at the time.” Two hours later, as guests were finishing dinner and preparing for the evening’s speakers and awards presentation, a clearly intoxicated Tipple – known to be cantankerous and taciturn on the best of days – began screaming insults and obscenities at the Lighthouse. Calling the Lighthouse a “stuck-up red bitch”, amongst other, unprintably profane epithets, the tirade continued as Lee Brown and others attempted to guide the Tipple towards an exit. “I spent decades working 24/7, breaking my back on the railroad for this town, and nobody gives a s**t!”, roared the Tipple, “What’s that Lighthouse ever done but stand out there at the beach looking pretty and shining a flashlight into the fog?! What a tough job! But when that precious red paint starts to chip, all you people can’t get your checkbooks out fast enough, can you!?”
This morning, as video of the Tipple’s meltdown went viral on Facebook and Twitter, a subdued and hungover Tipple issued an apology “for rude and inexcusable behavior in front of good people who deserve much greater respect.” According to one confidential source, the Tipple has since been checked-in to a rehabilitation center to receive treatment for substance-abuse. As of this printing, the Lighthouse has refused to make any comment.