The story I heard goes like this: Tom DeLay lights up a stogie in a restaurant, and a waiter comes over and says, “I’m sorry, sir, but this is a government building, and no smoking is permitted.” To which Mr. DeLay, House majority leader extraordinaire, if I may resort to Freedom English in honor of Tom’s until now secret admiration of Gustave Flaubert, barks, “I am the government.”
That got me thinking. It’s interesting to learn that Tom DeLay is the government. I didn’t know that. So I looked in the Constitution and didn’t find any mention of him. It must be an outdated edition. All it talked about was a government of we, the people.
Now some say the Constitution has always been sort of sly about what it means by “people.” Used to be “people” meant no women, coloreds, or white guys without property need apply. But people has always been, as far as I can tell, you know, plural? So I looked that up too, and the dictionary said “people” still means no less than two persons. Like I said, it must be an old edition I’m using.
But then, I’m always mixing up kinds of words. For instance, take when people say life is unfair. Usually they say that when they want to explain why the deal they got is so much better than somebody else’s. “Can I have some?” “No.” “How come?” “Because.” “But that’s not fair?” “Who said life is fair?” Or sometimes it’s because it just looks like too much work to do anything about it, especially when the guys with the remote have guns or worse, like Fox News. It’s hard to argue with that.
Now when I hear “life’s unfair,” I get a funny look on my face, like I don’t understand, but it’s not because I disagree. Yeah, life’s unfair, yessir, I’m with you on that. But I get that look because the way I see it, so what? Life’s about adverbs, not adjectives. (Footnote: For those of you who sleeped through English, “unfair” is an adjective. I know that because I looked it up. But then, maybe the book I used was an outdated edition.) Okay, so life’s unfair. How unfair is it? That’s where adverbs come in. It’s not about what kind; it’s about how much.
So since I’m people, as far as I know, I can see why Tom DeLay might think fair is he gets everything, because legally, as the only guy mentioned in the Constitution, he’s entitled to it, and everybody else gets secondhand smoke. That’s only fair. It’s democratic too. After all, as the entire government, he does represent a majority. Since democracy’s what makes us free, it’s our civic duty to uphold it against foes foreign and domestic by letting old Tom flick his cigar ash in our ears.
We’ve just got to trust him to do the right thing. When he came to this job of being the whole government and all he brought along years of on-the-job experience as a pest control technician to help with his work. What that taught him is the most reliable way to exterminate is to burn the house down. It’s simple: no house, no problem. That’s the sort of common sense Tom brings to Washington.
And now he’s taking it to Iraq too. Take looting. That’s how a country ought to run. You blow up and burn down and strip away what other folks took decades and centuries to build up and take it home with ya, first come, first served. That’s what makes people productive. They’ve gotta be, because there’s nothing left. Once they’ve got their values set right, they can come by and friends of Tom’s can sell them back the stuff they took from them. That’s free enterprise, which I thought must be in the Constitution, the way Tom’s friends talk about it so highly, but I couldn’t find it there. But again, it must be that old edition of mine.
Looks like I’m gonna have to invest in some up-to-date reading material, which I will do, once I find a job again. I’d borrow what I need from the library except it closed. The city hasn’t got any money, so it asked the state, but the state has no money, so it asked Tom DeLay, but he’s got no money either. He gave it all back to the taxpayers, he said. But since I’m not making any money I got none back. So I asked if maybe he could lend me some on account, but he said no, it’s against his principles to support loafers, and besides, he’s already borrowed all he can to pay his friends to bring democracy to Iraq, so how could I be so selfish to ask for some for myself?
I felt pretty bad about that, but he said that’s okay. Just have faith in Jesus and everything’ll work out fine. He sounded kind of choked up when he said that, because I could hear a sort of snorting every couple of words, and I would’ve asked him if he was all right if he hadn’t hung up so quick. He is the government, after all, so I wouldn’t want to cause him any troubles. He’s depending on us to give him our support by minding our own business. So maybe I won’t need to put out for that new Constitution anyway. Since it’s about Tom DeLay, it’s not really any of my business.
JON BROWN can be reached at: email@example.com