“Stupid” is Written All Over His Face

I just have to tell you the story of David Winkelman. The event that first brought him to my attention occurred in the year 2000, but it was when he sued over what he did that got him featured in This is True — in the 23 June 2002 issue. Here’s the story:

Do I Look Like I Have “Idiot” Tattooed On My Forehead?

David Winkelman heard a radio station offer to pay $150,000 to anyone who had the station’s logo permanently tattooed on their forehead. A station employee even paid for tattoos for Winkelman and his friend Richard Goddard Jr. Now Davenport, Iowa, station KORB and DJ Ben Stone say the offer was an obvious joke, so the two men are suing the station for breach of contract and fraud. Their lawsuit states Stone and the station “made the false promise as a practical joke, so that persons who responded to the announcement with the intention of receiving tattoos could be publicly scorned and ridiculed for their greed and lack of common good sense.” (Quad-City Times) …That’s strange — defense attorneys had planned to use that exact same argument.

There have been developments since then.

Wilkleman’s mug shot.

Winkelman, now 48, hit the news again — because he was arrested in Scott County, Iowa, on a misdemeanor charge of operating a motor vehicle without the owner’s consent, according to The Smoking Gun. And he had his mug shot taken …without the benefit of being able to hide his forehead with a hat.

Winkelman later dropped his lawsuit against the radio station. Goddard — who is now identified as Winkelman’s stepson (wow: are they sure they’re not related?!) — didn’t show up in court for a hearing, and so his claim was dismissed by the court.

Meanwhile, the radio station rebranded and changed its format, dropping its old callsign and slogans (“The Quad City Rocker” and “93 Rock” — as still seen on Winkelman’s forehead). It’s now KQCS, an “adult contemporary” station that promises “Today’s Best Variety!” It’s still heard at 93.5 in the “Quad Cities” area of Iowa.

Isn’t there a plastic surgeon in Iowa that can help this obliviot get his life back? Or, at least, (some of) his dignity?

But Wait, There’s More

What of Winkelman’s stepson, Richard Goddard Jr? He also made another appearance in True, in the 2 March 2003 issue:

Next Time Just Tattoo “Shut Up!” on the Back of His Hand

Trouble hasn’t abated for Richard Goddard Jr., 21. Last year, Goddard sued a radio station that didn’t pay him after he took them up on a joke offer to give $150,000 to anyone who tattooed the station’s logo on their forehead. He whined so much to his roommates, John and Mary Rushman of Colona, Ill., about how his life couldn’t be worse that the couple allegedly tied a noose around his neck and tried to hang him. When that failed, they allegedly beat him with a hammer. He survived, and the Rushmans have been arrested. Goddard’s grandmother notes that since the tattooing, “He hasn’t been able to get a job.” (Moline Dispatch) …Yes, the job market for guys with “Idiot Inside” billboards on their foreheads is a bit tight these days.

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25 Comments on ““Stupid” is Written All Over His Face

  1. I’m interested in the station employee who actually paid for the tattoos, thus providing [stupid] legitimacy to the lawsuit. I’m wondering what level employee it was.

    If it were the station janitor, then it just increases Windleman’s idiocy. For that, I have a surefire tool for removal, a .44 Mag hollowpoint. Not only removes the tattoo, but the stupid gene, too.

    I’m guessing it was a fairly high-ranking employee; if not an “on-air personality” then a program manager. That’s the only thing that really irks me about this one. If an idiot comes up to you and says “I wanna do something really stupid — would you loan me your gun?”, then I don’t think you should hand him your .44 mag, even if it was loaded with dum-dums. -rc

  2. I’m a bit surprised that you published the “Mike from Dallas” comment. It’s a great remark to make at a bar, or directly to friends, but advocating in a public forum (even in jest) murder or suicide as a solution to a problem seems irresponsible. I’m not anti-gun, and more than once I’ve said (in jest!) “somebody – please shoot me”, but I wouldn’t publish that invitation on my website. As you can see from Mr. Windleman’s face-value acceptance of an offer, someone might just take me up on it. I agree with Mike up through his last sentence, but I don’t think that should have been published.

    (Feel free to edit this – or to ignore it.)

    The idea of TRUE in general — which sets it apart from other “weird news” features and sites — is that it’s a platform for saying out loud what most people think already — the “LOL, I can’t believe you said that!” concept. Part of the function of this forum is to debate the topics I bring up. I do ignore (delete) comments that are not on-topic, but that one was. Is Mike’s suggestion extreme? Of course. Is it a common sentiment? Yep. It’s up to other commenters to debate it — as you just did (unedited!) -rc

  3. You wrote: “Isn’t there a plastic surgeon in Iowa that can help this obliviot get his life back? Or, at least, (some of) his dignity?”

    …presumably by removing the old logo and replacing it with the new one?

    Yeah, I can just see it: “I’m with stupid” — and an arrow pointing down…. -rc

  4. I’m not going to disagree with the notion that these two guys are stupid.

    But it’s not clear to me that the radio station doesn’t actually owe them some money.

    If they claim on the air to be willing to pay for such stupidity, and then if that someone at the station is actually someone of reasonable level, then it seems to me the station can’t weasel out with a ‘it was just a joke’ defense. Maybe it’s a stupid thing to do, but people get paid for much stupider things.

    I suppose a heck of a lot more context would be needed to determine if it was obviously a joke and that perhaps these guys were just trying to make a cheap buck, but right now it sounds like the station made an offer that they couldn’t keep.

    I do agree that the station is culpable to some extent — notice I didn’t say the lawsuit was unfounded. I’m not sure why neither of them followed through on the lawsuit: it would have been very interesting to read the judge’s opinion of the matter. -rc

  5. My first thought when seeing facial tatts is “gainful employment available?”

    It looks to me like this one’s had some jaw surgery and requires a trache to breathe, so maybe employment isn’t in the cards for him…or, maybe, the radio station could have paid him to walk around displaying the logo for them @ the mall. But, then the station changed their format and that would leave poor David in line @ the unemployment office again. Sometimes, ya just can’t win!

    Looking at him, it doesn’t strike me that he’s had any surgery. It’s certainly not mentioned in any of the stories I’ve read. But anything’s possible — and your last line seems to apply in any case! -rc

  6. eileeen in san jose, ca said it looked as though he had some sort of surgery that requires a trache to breathe and you said it didn’t strike you that he’s had any surgery.

    The jaw surgery part I agree with. I’ve had to get new false teeth as a result of “lost altitude” on my old teeth wherein the gums shrink up and the mandible must move closer to the maxilla in order to make contact for chewing. His jawline looks as if this may be a result of that problem rather than a surgical procedure.

    As to the trache part, the white “blob” on the front of his throat appears to be a mask for a trache with the little green things on the sides being the ties to hold it in place. My father-in-law had throat cancer and had to wear a similar device until they finally finished the job with a pseudo voicebox with a button for him to push in order to “talk”. The flesh-colored button is his “mask” now.

    I also think that if the radio station followed through on the first part of the “joke” and paid for the tattoo, they gave credence to the reality of that “joke” and should be held fully responsible, not just “to some extent”. A janitor would not have access to station funds or checks and to pay for it out of his own pocket as a joke of his own would seem to leave him legally responsible at that point and the lawsuit could be amended to include the individual (janitor, commentator or manager) as defendant.

    “To some extent” means more than zero, up to 100 percent of any costs, plus assessed punitive damages. -rc

  7. Trust me. Living in this area THIS is the norm.

    But it kind of reminds me about when that guy saved and brought Pepsi points to get the Harrier jet.

    Just proves Randy right.

    There are morons everywhere.

    John Leonard, who claimed — and in 1999 sued Pepsi in federal court over the claims rejection of — a supposed Harrier jet prize, was from the classic “weird” state, Florida. The case was heard by Kimba Wood, best known for sentencing “Junk Bond King” Michael Milken to prison. She tossed the suit out. I wrote about Leonard’s attempt in 1996. -rc

  8. Yeah! I’m surprised they didn’t finish pursuing the lawsuit. It seems like they have a strong case because of the station employee paying for the tattoos.

    What was that employee thinking? (I guess the answer is, “he/she WASN’T (thinking)”. 🙂

  9. I suspect they didn’t follow through with the lawsuit for the same reason they got the tattoos in the first place….

  10. To echo a beer commercial I’ve heard on the radio, in response to Randy’s comment about getting one’s dignity back – “dignity is overrated”. 🙂

  11. True, we here in Florida have a crazy state. Just had to share this with you all. Around 35 years ago, watching late night TV, we had car salesmen hawking their goods. One of these guys would stand there and others would move some old junker in front of him. One night, he advertised one of these and made the comment “All you need is 50 bananas. Sure enough, a guy comes in with 50 bananas and asked for the car. They laughed but this guy was not the moron. Small claims court awarded the car to him.

  12. Oh my, and he has the green complexion, too, oh dear.

    Actually, I agree, if the station paid for the tattoo, that implied their agreement, a contract – even more than a verbal contract or a handshake – so they’re liable for the whole payout. But our Martian here is not a rocket scientist, so he dropped the suit. I’m kind of surprised his atty LET hm drop it! He DID have an atty, didn’t he?

    (I missed the part in the article that said the station paid for the tatt, reading through a thick hedge of longhaired calico cattail – are you SURE it said that? and then they weaseled out? what weasels, taking advantage of clearly-non-rocket-scientist Martians like that. Pigs.)

    I pulled up the original story from 2002. They did have an attorney (Alicia Gieck). The story mentions the DJ, Ben Stone, but didn’t note his real name, Benjamin Stomberg. Winkelman called the station when he heard the offer (supposedly $30,000/year for 5 years) and talked to Stone, was assured the offer was legit, and that’s when they went to the station. Apparently, a station representative went with Winkelman and Goddard to the tattoo parlor — Scorpion’s Den — and not only paid for the tats, but took photos for the station’s web site. Winkelman’s boss fired him (big surprise), and both men have been “unable to get a job” (big surprise!) The lawsuit alleged breach of contract, fraud and negligence. I’m with them on the first charge, so-so on the second, and in disagreement with the third. -rc

  13. The radio station should have to pay for tattoo removal and restitution. Also surprised the Attorney let them drop the case(s).

  14. I too am surprised this case was dropped. Quite apart from all the other evidence of an actual contract, the verbal contract was *signed* in the form of the station’s logo on the idiot’s forehead.

    I see that the lawyer was fairly new at the time http://www.avvo.com/attorneys/52807-ia-alicia-gieck-1769997.html and it’s quite possible that the victimidiot didn’t have the money to front for the expenses of a lawsuit. It is a cruel reality that although our constitution guarantees some minimum representation in criminal cases, in civil cases you’re on your own. And, as has been hinted above, sometimes stupid people who have been injured make stupid decisions about their lawsuits.

  15. To “rewinn” – In most locations, it’s easy to find an attorney who will represent you (if your case is even somewhat legitimate) on a contingency basis, taking as their fee a portion of any money awarded. So, no one should have to be without counsel in a reasonable civil suit, which this appears to have been,

    A note for those who say “the lawyers get all the money”: No contingency lawyer, no suit, no award, no money for the victim. Sure, the attorney gets a big chunk, but the 50% my grandmother received from suing a negligent taxicab company paid her medical bills. Without the contingency attorney, she couldn’t have afforded to sue.

  16. At some point, the lives of these men will end. And even that will be little comfort for them as the eulogy could only consist of doggerel.

    Reminds me of the scene from the Clint Eastwood movie, “Any Which Way You Can,” where the sheriff can’t stop snickering. “You are a walking violation of the laws of nature, but we don’t enforce them laws!”

  17. I actually take issue with all of the insults directed at these people. I’ve never been that desperate for money. But 150K is a fair amount of money to some people. As far as the expectation to get paid. This is NOT the first time someone has been offered money for to wear a brand tatoo. I believe a read about a college student who paid for college by wearing tattoos (at least in part). While I don’t think 150k is enough for me to do this, it isn’t “stupid” for others to value that amount of money.

    As I said in an earlier comment, “I do agree that the station is culpable to some extent — notice I didn’t say the lawsuit was unfounded. I’m not sure why neither of them followed through on the lawsuit: it would have been very interesting to read the judge’s opinion of the matter.” Frankly, I think it’s stupid that they didn’t show up in court to press the suit, since I think they would have at least won the cost to have the tattoos removed, if not actual compensation. -rc

  18. Too bad you do not have a photo of Richard Goddard Jr. He should have a mugshot by now.

    He might consider trying to get a job in a coffee shop in Santa Cruz, CA. Qualifications require heavy tats and at least a pound of facial piercings (from personal observation).

  19. Randy, there’s something I don’t understand. In your response to “Mike from Dallas” (October 8, 2010), you wrote: “I don’t think you should hand him your .44 mag, even if it was loaded with dum-dums”, implying, it seems, that a “dum-dum” bullet might be somewhat inoffensive. But it’s actually, I think, more lethal than an ordinary bullet. “An expanding bullet is a bullet designed to expand on impact, increasing in diameter to limit penetration and/or produce a larger diameter wound. It is informally known as a Dum-dum or a dumdum bullet.” (Wikipedia)

    I once flew out of Dum-Dum airport near Kolkata (Calcutta), so when I heard that a bullet was named that, it piqued my interest.

    On the other hand, might “expanding on impact”, which I took to be more lethal (“a larger diameter wound”), actually be less lethal (“designed… to limit penetration”)? I always thought it was a nasty trick of the British to invent such an “inhuman” bullet. Were they actually being more “humane”? May you could clear this up.

    You’re wayyyyyyyyyy overthinking this. It’s a simple pun: this page is talking about a “dum(b)-dum(b)” person. -rc

  20. All those words about the poor feller. I think someone should start a fund so that he can have a skin transplant — some of his dumbass could be put on his forehead, and then someone else could do a dental fix on him.

    I really feel kind of sorry for the guy, cuz in one of the posts it says that two of the people from the station WENT WITH HIM AND PAID FOR THE TATT. Honestly, I, too, don’t understand why they dropped the case.

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