Columns » Bob Lancaster

Qs for the A

by and


More reader inquiries for Swami Assmunch.

Greetings, Assmuch: A question for you. I keep seeing the term “cut and run” used to describe the most obvious exit strategy in the Iraq War. What does it mean, exactly? — Pvt. S.

How’s it going, Pvt.?

The operative term used to be “turn tail and run,” which might’ve had something to do with rabbits, and there was “hightailing it outa there,” which perhaps found coinage in the deer-hunting fraternity.

“Cut and run” is a metaphor — nothing is literally cut, and nobody literally runs — and metaphors are often best explained or understood by using another metaphor.

Let’s say you see a hornets’ nest hanging on a limb. It’s shaped like a football, and that gets you thinking of knocking it down with a rock or a stick and using it to practice your punting, passing, long snapping and end-zone celebratory spiking.

So you knock it down, pick it up, and start your drills — fading back for an NGL, assuming the center position over the “ball” for a snap, and so forth. And meantime the hornets are popping you as only angry hornets can, and you are suffering horrible agony, emitting so many bloodcurdling yelps that they blend into one long hideous shriek.

Now, cut-and-run in this situation would consist of abandoning your football fantasies and removing yourself forthwith from the immediate vicinity of the hornets’ nest and hoping there might be a stockpond nearby that you could jump into.

The alternative to “cut and run” in this analogy would be the “stay the course” strategy. Staying the course would demand that you complete your drills and continue to think football, never mind the hornets. Staying the course is the only way to justify having knocked down that hornets’ nest in the first place. To do otherwise now would be cowardly and unpatriotic. We must show the world — and ourselves — and them hornets — that we aren’t ones who can be chased off the gridiron of life by a few lethal hornet stings. Or by 2,350 of them.

And counting.

Yo, Assmunch: Have you heard that they’re using the old Tucker Telephone to torture terrorists (pardon the alliteration) down at Guantanamo Bay? I heard this from an old boy who heard it from another old boy who heard it from another old boy who heard it from somebody that was allegedly involved in hooking the terrorist up. That’s why the president has to spend so much of his time listening in on people’s phone calls — to see who it is that’s spreading stories like this. How did that thing work, anyway? — Jim B.

You don’t really want to know how the Tucker Telephone worked, James. I saw a demonstration of it one time in a court case and in about half a second it zapped an Oscar Mayer wiener into one of those fried pork rinds like the elder George Bush used to snack on. I’ve heard that too many fried pork rinds is why he threw up on all those Japanese dignitaries that time.

That raises another point, which is how somebody with a history of throwing up on his audience could set his speaking fee at a million dollars and find takers. I couldn’t get somebody to pay me $7.50 to make them a speech, and I don’t even have a wife who tells hurricane refugees who’ve lost everything how lucky they are. Is this some kind of violation of the Fairness Doctrine? Is there somebody I can call about this?

Tell me something, Bro. Assmunch: Do the different sects of Islam such as the Sunnis and Shiites think of each other as lost souls and heathens and heretics, or are they like the Missionary Baptists and the Southern Baptists who might allow that all Baptists are going to Heaven but each branch will have its own ghetto there, separated off by strands of golden barbed wire? — Deke.

Short answer, Deke: you’re barking up the wrong tree. And I’m not sure that it’s a good idea at this late point in the pilgrimage for me to go poking around in zealotry’s roadside luridities. Never know what’s going to jump up out of there. All I know about Heaven is that Billy Graham says you can take your dog. Or your favorite old dog will be there waiting for you, like Odysseus’. Don’t know if that’s true of cats. Might depend on whether you tithe.

Assmunch, I wanted to ask you about your marketing plan to bag up some of this overabundance of pollen and sell it to healthfood stores at a giant markup. Do people eat this stuff or inject it? Does it have calories or an RDA? I’ve heard you can cure some of the horribler STDs with it. Is that true? — Tris S.

Well, Tris, I’m not a doctor and haven’t ever played one on TV. I presumed to portray Dr. Livingstone once in a school production, but it was mostly about Henry Morton Stanley and I only had one line of dialogue: “Yes, that’s right, Mr. Stanley, I am he. Now what can I do you for?”

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