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May 9, 2009
Saturday Tales From 57 States: The Great Distraction
As His Obamaness herded the Clan of Donkeys into the deepest trough in the history of the Realm of 57 States’ budgets, there was much to distract the people’s attention.
Lo, in the time of The Great Distraction, while the Lords and Ladies of The Hill, upon which sat the Congressional Temple, labored mightily over their abacuses to add up the next budget, many things distracted the eyes of the people, thanks to the Guild of Town Criers. So many things, in fact, that while the Temple filled with the sound of sliding abacuses’ beads, few in the Realm attended to the noise.
Instead, the Criers told how His Obamaness was, indeed, a man of his word. For, during the last great race for POTUS, He had proclaimed,
“We should want our children to have more skills. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s a good thing. I know, because I don’t speak a foreign language. It’s embarrassing.”Such was the depth of His humility that, on a holiday of the people south of the Realm’s border, Cinco de Mayo, He announced the day as Cinco de Cuatro, bringing polite laughter to all who spoke the language He only attempted to speak, proving to the Criers that He was, indeed, true to His word about not speaking a foreign language.
Meanwhile, the widespread goodwill of the Criers toward His Obamaness continued, even though His Obamaness announced “sadly” and “with concern” that He could not give them any coins of the Realm to buy oil for their Crier lamps or sandals for the Crier feet as they walked the Realm. For, alas, the people of the land were learning how to tell time from those other than the Guild of Town Criers, who many no longer trusted.
The Criers who had gathered on Cinco de Cuatro wondered to themselves, “Such common errors by His Obamaness show that He is, truly, a mere mortal after all, but still not the cretin that (they felt) was Bush the Younger.”
The Criers did not, of course, laugh at His Obamaness’ commonness for He was not to be laughed upon. No, no, no.
In these days even the Court Jesters would not permit themselves to laugh at His Obamaness. Of one such jester, David the Man of Letters, it was written,
"David…was scathing in his mockery of [Bush the Younger]… But on his show recently, he scolded those who would mock the new president's reliance on the teleprompter [a word used to refer to the two former circus performers, Small Change and No Hope, of diminutive stature who held up the royal tablets for His Obamaness to read while He addressed the people] for ‘political nitpicking,’ saying Mr. Obama is ‘at least out there trying’ to cope with ‘impossible’ political challenges.”
Such was David’s great deference toward His Obamaness that he, David, would not ply his jester trade when it came to making fun of Him. So it came to pass that David became himself the brunt of jokes. (One was: “What do you call a jester who refuses to jest? A self-neutered tomcat.”)
Now it also came to pass in this time of The Great Distraction that the Criers paid heed to the voice of Colin the Centurion.
Colin was a political Centurion, who, though trained in the art of battlefield maneuvers, was most skilled in the art of Palace maneuvers where he was careful to never be wounded. For many years, Colin had been among the chief counselors to both Bush the Elder and Bush the Younger while they were POTUS. But when the great POTUS race fell to the Donkey Clan, Colin changed herds, or maybe not.
Behold, for many years it had been uncertain whether Colin was truly a pachyderm, for he had the body of an Elephant, but the head of a Donkey. These were the days when a word was made to refer to those who were such configured: Moderates. (This name was chosen in lieu of Elekey or Donephant.)
Now, in almost all its uses, “Moderate” referred to pachyderms that grazed with the Elephant Clan but had some feature in common with Donkeys. So, a Moderate could have a pachyderm body but a jackass head, like Colin. Or an elephant head and body, but a donkey tail. Or, an elephant head, body and tail, but burro legs – making for a creature strange in appearance, indeed.
Seldom in the Realm was there talk of a Moderate Donkey. For you see, it was the Town Criers Guild that assigned the word “Moderate” to whomever they wished. And most of them hid their own folded Donkey ears under their Walter Winchell press hats.
Anyway, Colin the Centurion announced, as the Donkey abacus beads were sliding with reckless abandon inside the Temple, that Elephants must become more like Donkeys if they wish to wander the plains of the Realm, grazing at will. So much did he care about the Elephants, or perhaps not.
While he had the attention of the Town Criers, Colin also said that His Obamaness’ plan to create a new Abacuses Security Brigade to protect the Realm’s secrets was a plan that troubled him deeply, for it would add yet another fiefdom to a land replete with silos. But His Obamaness demurely said,
“My own view is to take it slow, make sure you get it right.”
Upon hearing these words, some among the people of the land chuckled to themselves thinking, “What a kidder His Obamaness is. Did we not see Him move His first three moons as POTUS at warp speed?”
But no one laughed aloud. No, no, no.
[For an explanation of the title of this series see this video.]