Turnabout

He’d always hated traveling, but sometimes it was unavoidable. He wasn’t quite certain how he’d managed to be headed away from home this time but chalked it up to getting older. His memory wasn’t quite what it had been–everything about him had diminished with age. Then again, it might have been that bottle of Jack Daniels he vaguely recalled consuming the night before.

Traveling in America was bad enough with the TSA security screening, but many other countries were worse. They did all of the TSA things, and then insisted on conducting interviews with each. and. every. traveler.

So here he was, standing in line, with some old guy (well, older than him, anyway) behind a podium, waiting to be interviewed. The line snaked forward until it was his turn. The old man looked down a list.

“Ah! Here we go. Would you please state your occupation?”

“Damned bureaucrats,” he thought, “always poking their nose into other people’s business.” Then he said, “I work for Homeland Defense, protecting America’s borders.”

“Ahhh,” commented the man behind the podium. “What’s your position on immigrants?”

“If they are legal, educated, employable, and speak English, I can tolerate them,” he replied, surprised that he was so blatantly candid.

“And if they’re seeking refuge from dangers?”

He looked for an ID card or at least a badge so he could complain about this jerk, but all he had was one of those stupid stick on “Hello my name is” labels with Rock written in sharpie. He realized that the man was waiting.

“If they don’t have a visa, they’re not allowed in. That’s the law.”

“What about natural born citizens?” the man behind the podium asked.

“No problem.” he replied, “If they have proof of citizenship, we let them right in.”

“But not the refugees?”

“Right. The law is the law.” He smiled inside, proud of himself for sticking to his values.

“Tell me,” the man behind the podium asked, “were you born here?”

“No,” he replied, irritated at Rock’s stupidity. “I was born in America.”

“So you’re not a natural-born citizen here” Rock replied.

“Of course not” he responded. This guy was a real idiot. The man behind the podium put his finger on a button that was visible on the top of the podium. “Since you are not a citizen here and since you have not completed the immigration process, I cannot let you enter.”

“Where am I going?”

“Some call it limbo, others call it purgatory. You can call it whatever you like.

“Once you complete your application and submit it through proper channels, we should get around to it in an eon or so. Next!” he pushed the button. A trap door opened and the man began to fall.

I Can’t Do It

I have kept my stylus to myself lately, because I just cannot deal with your so-called systems of government.

Some rulers are interesting, such as Genghis Khan or Alexander the Great who conquered everything in site before he died at age 32. Some are bizarre, such as Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus (who hated being called Caligula) or China’s Jin Hui Di. Others were just evil, like Stalin and Hitler. Even with all their faults (maybe because of them) these leaders were, at least, interesting.

On the other hand, the current cast of the play, “Modern Earth and It’s Leaders” is just plain bad theater. It’s boring and the characters are all one-dimensional. I’m not so fond of the script, either, and recommend it be completely rewritten.

Please, for the sake of posterity, either rewrite the tale and recast the entire troupe or close the show. Farce does not work with these players, all of whom take themselves far too seriously for comedy. For the record, I’m not fond of tragedies.

I cannot write about something if it is not at least minimally interesting.

 

The Border

Death–at least for me–has its privileges. Because I’m dead, I now have a ringside seat from which to observe humanity’s foibles.

I love watching so-called leaders. Actually I don’t but after a millennia or two one learns to laugh rather than cry. I’ve seen them all–every Caesar, Charlemagne, Genghis Khan, Napoleon, Hitler, and so on, etc., etc., etc.

Leaders come. Leaders go. Each leader has some grand plan. They always offer a simplistic fix to a complex problem that sounds great but never works.

I’m used to lying, stealing, cheating, bribery, graft, and corruption. They haven’t caught my attention for centuries. However, in your world, the idea of some poor schmuck and their family crossing the border into your so-called “civilized” countries is something else. This throws supposedly modern, 21st century, educated people into a phenomenal panic!

Remember the last sabbath you celebrated? The God you worshipped then also left you with these:

Exodus 22:21 “Do not mistreat or oppress a foreigner, for you were foreigners in Egypt.”

Deuteronomy 10:19 “And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt.”

 

Everything I Tell You Is a Lie

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Star Trek, “I, Mudd”

Living for millennia, it’s easy to get bored (or is it boored?). In your era, give or take a couple of hundred years, such things as television and streaming data are easier for me to assimilate than printed material. I confess I love music, but it’s difficult to convert it from your plane of existence to mine. However, I do, somehow, manage (if you’ve got eternity on your side, it makes more sense). For what it’s worth, I particularly like Mozart and The Beatles.

On your television, in the original Star Trek television series there was an episode on a planet, controlled by artificial intelligence. Kirk introduces the android who is the hub for all the others to the concept of lying. Kirk tells him that everything Harry Mudd says [Gotta love the character!] is a lie.

Mudd then calmly tells him, “I’m lying.”

The android gets caught in a do-loop and self destructs.

Based on your television of half a century ago, I have to wonder if you reached that point before you got starships.

 

Mueller Report

Being several thousand years old (I forget my exact birthday) I can sometimes have difficulty telling the difference between true reporting and satire. Therefore, without deciding which this is, I share it with you.

New Attorney General William Barr is at risk of losing three stars and being demoted to Attorney Brigadier General after a flurry of lawsuits have been filed in response to his handling of the Mueller Report. While there were protests over Barr’s four page synopsis to a document that is reported to contain over 400 pages, no one foresaw recent developments.

Readers’ Digest filed suit against Barr for copying, without permission, their popular Condensed Books style that was first published in the early 1950s. Many people used Readers’ Digest Condensed Books to experience popular literature without the need to spend inordinate amounts of time actually reading. No sooner had the Justice Department been served with a cease and desist order (and President Trump had tweeted, “Totally exonerated! No confefe! WHICH HAUNT!”) than the second of three shoes dropped.

Cliff’s Notes, a popular study guide, that has been published in the United States since the late 1950s argued that the truncation and radical editing performed by Barr was more like their system than Readers’ Digest’s. “Every student,” they protested at a frantically scheduled press conference, “knows that they can turn to Cliff’s Notes as a concise, terse, minimalist synopsis of traditionally assigned readings.” When asked if Donald Trump ever used their product, the press conference was abruptly halted.

An industry insider anonymously provided additional information . “With Readers’ Digest Condensed Books, it is still necessary for the customer to read dozens—if not hundreds–of actual printed pages. Cliff’s Notes, on the other hand presents lengthy classics in a format that can be read–cover to  during a single visit to the bathroom!”

In the meantime, the same industry source tells us that Classics Illustrated is in negotiations with the US Government Printing Office to reproduce the Barr version of the Mueller Report in four-color comic book format. Classics Illustrated hasn’t published in years, but is prepared to print this special edition because it appeals to those who prefer to never read real books.

Neither Cliff’s Notes nor Classics Illustrated would provide specifics as to the length of their proposed publications, except to say that they would be “more than four pages, but less than 400.”

Have something to say? Add a comment.

 

Politics Explained

I swear, I never get any peace and quiet. It had been a long day, walking through town with my lamp lit, telling anyone foolish enough to ask why that, “I’m searching for an honest man.” What a load of rubbish–but they continue to buy it.

Eventually, I made my way home to my sewer, crawled in, tuned out the cockroaches and rats, and closed my eyes. Immediately, some ignoramus (assuming that he was in fact, ignorant, rather than stupid) shook me and demanded an answer to his question.

“What is politics?” he asked.

I stared at him with the best malevolent look I could muster. He was undeterred. When I realized that my scowl would not get rid of him, I figured that the next best way was to give him some cryptic answer. Perhaps then he’d leave.

“Do you believe politics is more like chess or poker?” I asked him. He stammered and admitted that he did not know.

“It’s like both,” I told him. “It’s a long range game, but a long range game in which bluffing and cheating are not only allowed, but encouraged.”

He looked more puzzled as he walked away than he had when he had approached.

He’ll never understand politics.

I understand politics, so I went back to sleep.