Thursday, August 17, 2006


There are some headlines on news stories that tell you what the story is about. That’s good. There are some that merely confuse you. That’s bad. And then there are those that suggest something more grand; a novel perhaps. They’re the best of all.

One such headline appeared on my Internet home page the other day. It read:

“Four penguins perish in truck accident. Octopus uninjured.”

Wow. Is that a headline or what?

If you click on the headline the story comes up and you can read it, but I didn’t click. I knew that the mundane facts of the case could never match the novel it suggested. (I’m a great deal like George Bush in that regard. When facts interfere with a narrative, I ignore them.) So…

Once upon a time, an octopus was driving his pickup truck on a main street, carrying a cargo of four penguins to their new home at the zoo. He had two of his pus on the wheel, another resting on the sill of the open window, another changing channels on his CD player, two more working the brake and gas pedals and one holding a cell phone to his earhole while he talked to his girlfriend.

When the penguins, being penguins, got into an argument over who had the coolest tuxedo, the octopus reached around with his remaining pus to swat them into silence. At that moment a utility pole darted in front of the truck and the he hit it.

The octopus dropped everything he was doing and wrapped all of his tentacles around every available anchor, so he was all right.

The penguins, however, being penguins, were not wearing seat belts and went tumbling into the street like so many formally attired bowling pins. Alas, they did not survive the crash.

That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Columnists are not the only media people who deal in fantasy, however. There are political analysts.

For example, many of them are sadly bemoaning Joe Lieberman’s loss in Connecticut’s Democratic Senate primary. He lost to a relatively unknown rich guy who attacked the three-term senator for his support of the Iraq war.

“Poor Joe,” the pundits are saying, “he voted his conscience and the nasty Democratic voters of Connecticut punished him for it. What is to become of compromise and moderation---hallmarks of Lieberman’s tenure---in this poisonous atmosphere?”

Excuse me, but I thought his job was to represent the people of Connecticut, not merely his immaculate conscience. He not only voted for the war, he’s continued to parrot the administration’s rosy scenario long after it became apparent that it was a fiction.

Besides, compromise in Congress is dead. George Bush killed it. Anyone who doesn’t know that is a fool.

Lieberman’s got a conscience? Fine. So do the Democrats of Connecticut and they voted it.

Lieberman has said that he’ll run as an independent in the fall and they say he’s got a chance of winning, although he may just siphon off enough votes to put the Republican candidate, a virtual nonentity, in office.

I have a friend George who thinks that would not be a bad result. He thinks the Democrats would be wise to let the Republicans keep control of Congress.

“We’re going to have to pull out of Iraq and sooner rather than later,” he said. “The American people won’t stand for keeping our troops in the middle of a civil war which, if eyewitness accounts are to be believed, Iraq has become.

“If the Democrats are in power when it happens the Republicans will say ‘See! We told you so. The Democrats are weak on national security. They lost Iraq.’ Already that little weasel Bill Kristol is saying that Lieberman was defeated by people who hate America.

“Better to let the Republicans stay in office and take the fall when the mess they’ve created reaches our eyeballs.”

That George, he’s such a cynic. Still, he could be right.

"Distributed by"

No comments: