Columns » Bob Lancaster

Who or what, how or why

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With Assmunch on the rubber chicken and at the Town Halls:

Q. I just graduated last month, and wonder what my chances are of landing a decent job.

A. Not good, unless you aspire to one that'll have you wearing a paper hat for about 50 years.

Q. You could hire me?

A. To do what?

Q. I don't know. Personal security?

A. Against who?

Q. The weasels.

A. You can't defend against the weasels. They're like the plague or tribbles or the Antichrist or sweetgum balls.

Q. I'd make a good member of your posse.

A. One of my goons? My gorillas?

Q. Yes, sir.

A. Barking up the wrong tree, son. Public-print scribes don't have posses.

Q. I've heard Tucker Carlson started out as a posse member of a newspaper guy named Mr. G.

A. In the trade that's what they call a cautionary tale.

Q. Well ...

A. Here's something you might look into. A position for newbies called "intern." Best thing about it, no withholding.

Q. Any tips for what to put on my resume?

A. In the space where you're asked what you hope to be doing five years from now, don't write in: "Sticking it to the Man."

Q. Has there ever been anybody that understood the big mess they call "the economy" and how it can go as haywire as it has?

A. The last one who mastered it completely, knew it like the back of his hand, was Wilbur Mills. Seems like only yesterday. And he did it without the help of a computer. Not one Google available to him when he was ciphering out Medicare. But it finally whipped him too, like it does everybody. Drove him to drink, and worse.

Q. Call me a pessimist, Bubba, but I think it's all fixing to come crashing down, the whole nine yards, and we're all just royally screwed. 

A. I think so too. And sooner rather than later.  Even now I'm restocking my Homeland Security bunker, knowing how foolish, how futile, that is. Comes the time when an ounce of turnip is worth more than a brick of gold, y'all'll be coming after my stash with pitchforks and flambeaux, I know that. I want to think I'll go down fighting but I probably won't.

Q. Who — or what — is behind all this craziness?

A. It's them weasels. Only a handful of them at first, darting about furtively as is the weasel wont. It was even semi-amusing.  Then more and more of them. And they were about as amusing as piranhas or zombies. Now they're all over you like green flies or dog-peter gnats. Out of the woodwork, out from under rocks. They're going to tear it all down because that's what they do. Better people, public-spirited people, built it up, and broadened it to an unprecedented inclusiveness, and maintained it through generations; and all the contemporary weasels can think of is drowning it in the bathtub.

Q. What's your favorite Bible verse?

A. First Corinthians 13:11.

Q. How about John 11:35?

A. Impressive for its conciseness. But lachrymose.

Q. You don't remember how or why we got into this Afghanistan war, do you? Nobody else I've asked does.

A. Wasn't it something about letting little girls go to school? A trillion dollars ago; mighty fuzzy at this distance.

Q. You know down at the lick log that this Yarnell's going-out-of-business business was somehow or other President [N-word]'s fault. What's the back-story there?

A. You need to talk to your congressman about that. Doesn't matter which one. All six members of the Arkansas congressional delegation are the same guy, working from the same script. He'll fix you right up. Ask for the brochure. It has all the relevant talking points.

Q. What are talking points, exactly?

A. It's yap disguised as discourse. It's the voluntary giving over of your brain to a collective to give a prepared answer in your voice when a question is asked of you. It's like a Xanax or automatic pilot. But if you get too dependent on it, your mind can absquatulate to a permanent vacation on Gilligan's Isle when you're least expecting it — when you're announcing your presidential candidacy, say. When that happens, you suddenly might not know the difference between John Wayne and John Wayne Gacy. It can make you appear almost as dumb as you actually are.

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