“The Sanity Clause”
By Jeremy Kaplan & Flo Dog
READ Books of Eagle Rock
I’ll tell you what. When that gangly whippersnapper took to laughing at the political perspective of yours truly, it took all the self-control I could muster not to brain the giggling punk with one a my crutches. I’ll tell you what else. I got no use for self-control. They expect me to be jolly. They look at my size, the long white beard, and they think I’m gonna’ hand ‘em a damn Christmas gift or something. If my crutches had been long enough to reach across that damn counter, I’d a given that chuckling bastard a gift alright. Nearly forgot why I’d walked in there the first place.
Well yuh don’t see many bookstores nowadays. People don’t read anymore. It’s part of this god-damn global conspiracy to dumb us down, all these internet sons-a-bitches and what have you taking over the market, and I didn’t mind telling him so at the get go. Him being the aforementioned gangly whippersnapper whose bookstore I’d just entered. Sure, he agreed, our economy’s designed for corporate takeovers. His words. Damn straight, said I. Gettin’ to the point where the government’s takin’ all the jobs away from the little guy. Leave the rest of us with nothing but a pair of pee-stained undies and a car to sleep in. My words.
“Income inequality’s pretty fucked up,” he said. “Problem is that a lot of people running our government are intent on giving the government away to corporations & billionaires that pay for their campaigns.”
“Fucked-up don’t even begin…” I almost poked a whole in his ceiling with my crutch. “I’m living in mah damn car!”
“That sucks,” he said, taking a peek-a-boo at his ceiling above me. “Anyhow. Makes for an interesting election year, huh?”
“Time for a damn revolution, young fella,” I began. “That’s why…”
“… my man is Donald Trump!” That’s what he shouted I shit you not, all the while abusing my ceiling with his unwieldy crutch.
I’m not sure that I actually laughed aloud, but I couldn’t restrain the silly grin that took over the southern hemisphere of my face. I mean here I got this three-hundred-pound self-professed hobo looking like St. Nick forty years after a dozen harrowing tours of duty in Vietnam, he’s griping righteously about The Man and Revolution god bless him, and this is what he comes up with? Donald? Maybe I, like, guffawed.
“What’s so damn funny? Trump’s gonna take on all those damn bastards. Got a problem with that?”
“Trump is all those damn bastards.”
I was glad that he didn’t have longer arms— or a monkey in his pocket— because that crutch he was aiming at me was maybe ten inches short of a sloppy embalmment, and this guy who’d entered the store a few minutes ago looking for a book to read was now talking like Popeye moments before clouting Bluto. “Wipe that grin off yur face I will. Man says what a man says and he don’t say no more. Ar.”
I wanted to talk to him. How could we both see the same rigged system yet come to such antithetical conclusions? Must be some kind of misapprehension of facts and whatnot.
“So why would a billionaire with a history of scamming people have any interest in altering an economic system that favors him?”
“Well he doesn’t need any of our money for one thing. He’s got enough of his own damn it! And he’s gonna kick out the Mexicans! And stick it to the Chinese! Tell ‘um where they can take their stinkin’ debt! The Chinese damn it! Over in China!”
He waved a crutch to and fro, told me I’m a nice guy but a “gangly whippersnapper” nonetheless, and groused about the damn Mexican kid that screwed up his order at Burger King last week. So I was about done discussing. No misapprehending here. Where I saw well-endowed people affecting policy to further enhance their multi-billion endowments, he saw a swarthy teenager fucking up his whopper and making $10 bucks an hour to boot. Thankfully, before he had the chance to describe any depravity he’d been exposed to at the bronzed hands of Panda Express, Florence interceded.
Believe you me there’s not a dilemma in this world that cannot be solved by sniffing a biped’s butt. Take this giant biped for instance with his jolly facial hair and un-jolly disposition, all set on flaying my biped with the succor of his long, metallic arms whilst my biped sat dumbly contemplating said giant with an unaccountably entertained grin plastered on his relatively hairless countenance.
“What is so amusing about being flayed?” I wanted to bark at him.
But I’m a problem solver, not a philosopher, and thus engaged myself immediately in the pragmatic defusing of a tense situation.
The hairy white giant peered over his immense shoulder. “Hey. What’s… what are you doing down there? What’s… you a boy or a girl?”
Subsequent to a long, contemplative pause, my biped ventured: “Girl?”
“Hmm. Good girl,” muttered the crazy biped, stroking my back with the rubbery end of his arm. “What kinda dog is she?”
My biped shrugged. “A girl one? I actually know her name… gimme a second… Florence!”
“Well Florence,” crooned the somewhat mollified biped. “Aren’t you a good girl?” I am? He leaned forward on his freakishly long arms and continued: “You want Donald Trump to be America’s leader, donchoo girl?” I do? “You don’t want to have to habla espanol every time you order a Whopper, now do you?” I don’t? Then he fixed my biped with a most defiant countenance and shouted: “In America, everybody gets to vote!”
“To paraphrase that great American political philosopher, Chico Marx,” nodded my biped in agreement, “when it comes to voting, there ain’t no Sanity Clause.”