Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Aesop's Modern Fables

     Aesop, the ancient Greek slave and storyteller, created numerous character-based fables, each ending with a moral. If he were alive today, he might be telling the following tales:
The Peacock, Twitter and the Fox
     A vain Peacock once announced that he wanted to become President. Everyone laughed and said it was a joke and that he could never win.
     But the Peacock enlisted his avian friend Twitter to help him and began insulting all his opponents and eliminating them one by one. He made all kinds of crazy promises and said he would “Make America Great Again.”
     The Peacock then engaged the Fox and his news network to help him in his quest and the Fox demonized and vilified his final opponent and helped him win the presidency to the surprise of almost everyone including himself.
MORAL:  Never underestimate the gullibility of the American electorate.
The Donkey and the Elephant
     One early winter’s day, the Donkey was moping around worrying about the sad state of things and how he would possibly be able to feed his family over the winter months. He spotted the Elephant and thought it would be wise to ask his advice since the Elephant had always preached the gospel of frugality and fiscal responsibility and surely would know what to do.
     When the Donkey explained his dire situation, the Elephant simply laughed and started dancing. “There’s nothing to worry about,” said the Elephant. “All I have to do is pass a bill with a huge tax cut for me and my friends and we’ll be set for life.”
     “Thank you Mr. Elephant,” said the Donkey. “I feel so much better knowing that we all will be fine this winter.”
     “Not so fast,” said the Elephant. “Those tax cuts aren’t for you although I’m sure that some benefit will eventually trickle down.”
MORAL:  Don’t worry about balancing the books so long as you have majorities in both houses of Congress.
The Orange Tortoise and the Hare
     The Hare was boasting of her electoral prowess, especially against Elephants.
     “I’ve seldom been beaten,” said she. “I am very skilled and I challenge anyone to a presidential race.”
     The Orange Tortoise called her “Crooked Hare” and took on her challenge notwithstanding he had never held elective office.
     A course was set and the race began. The Hare ran almost out of sight but soon stopped and, to show her contempt for the Orange Tortoise, lay down for a nap and chose not to campaign in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
     The Orange Tortoise plodded on and by the time the Hare awoke and realized her mistake, it was too late and she lost the race although not the popular vote.
MORAL:  Plodding and plotting win the race. A popular vote victory is meaningless if you don’t win the Electoral College.
The Russian Fox and the American Crow
     A Russian Fox once made friends with an American Crow and made sure he obtained some kompromat on his new ally. To show he was the Crow’s friend, he did everything he could to help him win the White House.
     Once the Crow had the presidency in his beak, the Fox congratulated him and flattered him.
     “You are an amazing politician and your skills surpass those of all others,” said the Fox. “And since you are so smart, I know you will lift any sanctions against me.”
     The Crow lifted up his head, cawed in victory and in the process dropped the sanctions and was eventually impeached.
MORAL:  Do not trust flatterers even if they provide you with favors be they financial, political or sexual.
The Pig and the Chick
     One day, a famous Pig was tired of dealing with his third wife and her new baby so he ventured out to satisfy his needs. He soon ran into an attractive Chick and asked her if she would like to recreate some of her video roles with him.
     The Pig and the Chick engaged in various relations although apparently only of the textbook generic variety. The Pig thought little of the affair until years later he found himself running for President and afraid that the story would harm his chances.
     A lawyer was engaged to discuss the matter with the Chick who agreed to take $130,000 in return for signing a non-disclosure agreement. Unfortunately, the Pig forgot to sign the agreement which led to much litigation and possible impeachment.
MORAL: Don’t engage in extramarital affairs but, if you must, ensure that you get an ironclad, enforceable NDA at the time of the breakup to avoid later complications. 

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Stranger Than Fiction

December 15, 2014

TO:        Bob Smith, literary agent

FROM:  Dave Martin, aspiring novelist
     As promised, I’m sending you a brief plot outline for my new novel The Clown Who Would Be King. Hope you like it.
     Ronald Rumpf is a failed New York City real estate developer who manages to survive multiple bankruptcies by marketing his name as a lucrative brand. He then stars in a successful business-themed reality TV series and becomes a celebrity and a household name.
     Rumpf then decides to run for president and takes on a dozen Republicans in a contest for the Party’s nomination. To everyone’s amazement, he wins and goes on to run against the Democratic nominee Shirley Winsome. In the biggest political upset of all time, Rumpf wins the election and becomes America’s 45th president.  

January 12, 2015
TO:        Dave Martin

FROM:  Bob Smith
     Dave, I read your brief outline and I had to ask myself what combination of drugs are you on? Failed developer turned reality TV star takes on the Republican field and wins the nomination? That’s simply not believable.
     I know you like to push the fictional envelope but you’ve really outdone yourself here. And to top it off, you have this crazy guy actually winning the presidential election.
     I suggest a complete rewrite.

February 22, 2015
TO:        Bob Smith

FROM:  Dave Martin
     I’ve taken your criticism to heart and cut back significantly on my drug intake, particularly the peyote buttons. Hoping the following rewrite works:
     Failed developer/successful marketer/ reality TV show host Ronald Rumpf announces his candidacy for the Republican nomination. He survives the first debate only to be eliminated from the race due to several egregious blunders.
     Jag Brush goes on to win the nomination only to lose to the Democratic nominee Shirley Winsome who becomes America’s first female president.

March 23, 2015
TO:        Dave Martin

FROM:  Bob Smith
     Better, Dave, but it still stretches the bounds of credibility. How about turfing the Rumpf  character altogether and just concentrate on the Brush-Winsome race? Maybe you could add some intriguing backstories like Brush being the son and brother of former presidents and Winsome being married to an ex-president. Just a thought.
     Plus maybe you want to reconsider that crazy notion of a woman president.

May 1, 2015
TO:        Bob Smith

FROM:  Dave Martin
     Sounds good. I’ll see what I can come up with. How about Brush wins nomination and beats Winsome to become third Brush president of all time?

June 12, 2015
TO:        Dave Martin

FROM:  Bob Smith
     Just got the word that some guy named Donald Trump announced his nomination. Let’s sit on your proposed novel for a year or so and see how things play out.

December 1, 2016
TO:        Dave Martin

FROM:  Bob Smith
     Sorry for the delay, Dave, but I think you know where this is going. Ironically, your first outline was not crazy enough and your final one is nothing but wishful thinking. Better luck next time.
     Have you considered a novel about a narcissistic blowhard who breaks every presidential norm, hires his family and gets impeached for money laundering and collusion with the Russians? Oh wait; never mind.