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We had another one of those terror alert thingies just the other day. A small airplane flew very close to the capitol buildings where they used to run the US government. 35,000 human beings, plus the entire legislature, were evacuated from the area. The government was shut down and America’s #1 librarian was hustled down into the secret war bunkers underneath the undisclosed location. Fighter jets chased after the small airplane. To read the news accounts, the guys flying the small airplane must have been pretty foggy on events of the last few years, because they were buzzing along closer and closer to the pretty round-topped building with all the columns in front until they noticed all the planes with missiles around them.
I regret missing the fun, but I was terribly busy working and didn’t hear about it until it was all over. This puts me in the company of only one other guy: the president. Yes, kiddies, gather round Uncle’s knee and I’ll tell you a tale. The president, which is what we call George W. Bush for lack of a spicier vilification, was riding his bicycle through a pleasant wooded area while the United States capitol was being evacuated. This may not seem like a big deal to you, but for George it’s a very big deal indeed, because this was a bicycle with two wheels and no training wheels at all. A great big grown-up bike just like the one he fell off and skinned his face last year. He’s very brave to get back on a bicycle after that, don’t you think?
Around and around the path he rode, and meanwhile tens of thousands of terrified federal workers were evacuating in all directions only a few miles away. Around and around. Now George doesn’t ride his bicycle alone, because that would be very dangerous (if you’re him). He has lots and lots of bodyguards with special devices inserted in their ears that allow them to communicate with other people far away, just like George wore during the debates. People in the capitol told them all about how the small airplane was flying closer and closer to George’s place of employment (when you think about it, a terrorist would have to be really stupid to attack George’s office, because the odds of George being there are so slim. Ever noticed how whenever anything happens, George is interrupted during a vacation at his ranch in Joan Crawford, Texas? That’s because he’s always on vacation. I think people might start catching on, if they’re ever so clever like you are, children.)
The Secret Service, which is what George’s bodyguards are called on account of it sounds cool, all knew about the situation at the capitol right away. But for another three-quarters of an hour, nobody told George. He just rode around and around. When I was very small, people said the president should be in charge of things. Certainly this is the impression I got from movies and things. The president is the man that comes into the room and bangs his fist on the desk and yells, “Stalemate? Like hell it is, we’re going in there!” and sends the fighter jets laden with Rambo to go blow up the bad guys. George has even cultivated this image himself. Remember when he landed on that aircraft carrier wearing that butch S&M harness? But there wasn’t really anything going on at the time. Now we have a real emergency! George could ride his bike all the way back to the office, jog up the steps, and shoot down the wayward airplane all by himself with the flak guns on the roof of the White House. Can do! Right stuff! But he didn’t. The Secret Service let him ride his bicycle in peace.
Here’s what I’m getting at, gang. It’s okay if I don’t know what’s going on in Washington. I’m even busier than the president, after all, and I need to concentrate pretty hard in the late mornings to get anything done. I’ve told my people, “Nobody bother me with federal emergencies, I’m working.” And that’s okay, because I’m not running the country. But it really bothers me that George W. Bush, who is ostensibly in charge of country-running activities, has clearly told his people something similar. Except what he told them was, “Nobody bother me with federal emergencies, I’m riding my bicycle.” I think it’s time somebody told our pal George that he’s not running the parks & recreation department, he’s running the entire nation. It’s enough to make a fellow evacuate.
BEN TRIPP is an independent filmmaker and all-around swine.
His book, Square In The Nuts, may be purchased here, with other outlets to follow: http://www.lulu.com/Squareinthenuts . Swag is available as always from http://www.cafeshops/tarantulabros . And Mr. Tripp may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.