Columns » Bob Lancaster

Patriotic puff

by and


With the president giving us media types a hard time of it last week for our high treason, I thought I’d devote the Fourth of July holiday period to becoming more patriotic.

The best way to go about that, I understand, is to wrap yourself in the flag, and I tried that but couldn’t tell that much self-improvement came of it. Maybe it did, maybe flag-wrapping works quietly over time like vitamins or antibiotics, but I felt pretty much the same amount of love of country before and after.

One problem here was that trying to wrap this old meat in a flag was about the same as trying to wrap a hippopotamus in one. I couldn’t use a regular-size flag, much less one of these miniatures on a stick that the political candidates are handing out; no, I had to shinny up the pole of one of these famous car dealerships and make off with a flag the size of a football field.

It was big enough to get the job done, but there was so much excess that one of my co-conspirators wanted to cut the flag in half, or just take the blue starfield, which would have been plenty sufficient, but I had to tell him, “C’mon, Floyd Ray, if we desecrate the flag like that, it defeats the whole point.”

He said, “How about if we rubberize it then, and blow it up as a hot-air balloon with you drifting along under it as a kind of giant jumbo gondola?”

Floyd Ray is a moron and I told him so, and reminded him of the president’s stern words against exactly this type of unpatriotic behavior.

The other problem with wrapping myself in the flag was that I just don’t look good in primary colors. Especially in a 5,000-square yard bolt of them.

Continuing the quest, I consulted some of the celebrated local combat vets of the Greatest Generation but struck out there too. They know patriotism better than these blowhards ever will who do all the talking about it, because they embody it. But they just don’t give much of a damn about what somebody else’s patriotism quotient is — yours or mine or Cindy Sheehan’s or George W.’s. They did their part, and now would be obliged if you’d vamoose.

About the best thing that any one of them told me was to read Chapter 13 of First Corinthians and substitute “patriotism” for “charity.” The fourth verse in particular when read that way warns you away from patriotism that vaunteth itself, and goeth around all puffed up. Amen to that, I thought, remembering all too well those yesteryear courtsquare leather lungs who could harp on patriotic themes until the cooked multitude had long since stopped wondering and come to know as an absolute certainty that they were going to just die, and in short order, if the old brayer didn’t cork the remainder extremely soon and bestow upon all the blessed dispensation to visit Uncle Whizz.

Pee at last, pee at last, thank God Almighty I can pee at last.

Turned out there was a House of Dominoes reunion over the weekend and I asked around there too. Tips on how one could become more patriotic? — sure, they had lots of ‘em.

• Shoot some old lawyer in the face the next time you go bird-hunting. Then blame him.

• Go jogging as the president did with a vet who has artificial legs. Pretend you’re having trouble keeping up. Make a comedy bit out of it, helping to lighten everybody’s load.

• Out a spook. If it’s one of ours, that’s OK too.

• Support the troops, except the rotten apples, who seem to be getting more numerous, and rottener.

• Join the Border Guard volunteers and stop somebody from coming who’d probably get your job.

• Help Sen. Holt unmask pre-school as a Communist plot.

• Kneecap a protester. Or a gay. Or a scientist. Or a Democrat.

• Make sure your holiday fireworks were Made in China and not in some enemy country like North Korea or France.

• Follow up on Ann Coulter’s patriotic suggestions to poison liberal judges and blow up crowded liberal newspaper offices.

• Remember the Alamo. There’s not much to remember, really, but it sounds good.

Such foolishness got the moonmeisters thinking about what the best Fourth of July songs are, and there was one of these that I hadn’t heard of, “I’d rather you burnt up my Momma than my flag.” Was this Kinky Friedman? Somebody said Kenny Rogers, but I know Kenny Rogers and this wasn’t Kenny Rogers. The closest Kenny Rogers got to patriotic was the whiny gimp who got deyanged in Nam and now had to beg his girl Ruby not to take her love to town.

When I left they’d got around to making up slogans for the Iraq War, one of which was “Just another trillion $$$ should git-r-done.” I liked that, but it was more or less irrelevant to my holiday purpose. Somehow, everything that ever came out of the House of Dominoes was irrelevant to whatever my purpose was at the time, and to might near everything else.

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