Taking Tiny Tim’s turkey

December 1st, 2010

How Charles Dickens would have relished today’s GOP!  It is barely possible to imagine the refinements of scorn and sarcasm he would have lavished upon a party that declares itself prepared, when jobs are at their scarcest in decades, to terminate support for the unemployed at Christmastime (!) unless it can be continued without adding to the government’s debt, while at the same time the same party adamantly demands extending tax cuts for the richest 2% of taxpayers, which would increase the government’s deficit by $700 billion over the next decade.  It’s like taking away Tiny Tim’s turkey in order to give it to Frank Purdue.  What makes it especially delicious is that they justify the extended tax cuts for the rich as a way of creating jobs for the unemployed, as if the present, historically high levels of wealth were not enough motivation but more wealth will do the trick.

I am reminded of a joke that was current when I was working on the first draft of To Join the Lost.  I wanted to work it into the book, but couldn’t find a way.  I think Dante would have liked it.  Back in the day, the protagonist was President Dubya, but let’s update it:

John Boehner enters the tanning machine one time too many, turning a lethal shade of orange that kills him the first time he looks in a mirror.  Following his demise, he finds himself in what looks to be a hotel lobby with two elevators.  He approaches the desk and asks where he is.  The clerk says, “This is the afterlife, sir.  The elevator on the left goes to heaven, and the one on the right goes to hell.  We do things a little differently than you may have heard.  You get to spend up to a week in each place, after which you choose the one you want to stay in for eternity.  First, you take the elevator on the right.”

Boehner says, “I can come back as soon as I want?  I don’t have to stay a whole week, do I?”

“Oh no, sir, you may come back any time.”

But when the elevator stops and Boehner steps out, he is pleasantly surprised to see what looks like the nicest country club in the world, full of prosperous, well-fed, attractive white people playing golf, sipping martinis, nibbling on hors-d’ouevres, and watching the Dallas Cowboys on television.  Beautiful women are everywhere, and all the men are tall, athletic, and handsome.  There’s a small group of people waiting to welcome him.  Boehner recognizes old friends who had gone on before.  One of them hands him a beverage and a cigar, another claps him on the back, and they lead him away to a week of camaraderie and pleasure.

At the end of the week, Boehner says to himself, well, if this is so good, what must heaven be like, and he takes the elevator back up.  The same clerk is in the lobby, and wishes him well.

Heaven turns out to be alright.  The climate’s good, the food is great.  But there are all these different sorts of people there, even a bunch of men with turbans and women wearing veils, not a lot of his former friends, and after a while all the “no, you first” and earnest sharing of feelings kind of gets to him.  So Boehner humorously says to himself, what the hell, and rides the elevator back down to the lobby, where he announces his choice to the clerk and is shown to the elevator on the right for the second and last time.

Only this time when he steps off the elevator it is different.  Under a leaden sky, semi-naked, emaciated chain gangs haul huge cartloads of rubble across a barren, burning landscape, constantly whipped and cursed by grinning demons.  Worse, the place stinks like a combination of rotting garbage and diesel fumes.  The welcoming committee is reduced to a single red gentleman with a pointy beard, short, sharp horns, and a pitchfork.  “Wait a second!” Boehner exclaims.  “It wasn’t like this before!”

“Ah, but we were campaigning then,” says the devil.  “Now you’ve voted.”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, December 1st, 2010 at 11:49 pm and is filed under Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.