Sunday, October 5, 2014

220. Simplicity

He burst into the room as if the house was on fire. “I’ve got it,” he said. “I need your help.”

My goodness but he was excited. He had assumed his Reggie the Young Conservative shape and was wearing a silk shirt, bowtie, and chinos, set off by white buck lace-ups and argyle socks.

“Calm down,” I said. “What’s up?”

“What’s up?” he said. “Political campaigns, that’s what's up. We can’t lose.”

Oh no. We had been through this before. He is constantly thinking up new ways for politicians to be elected. It fascinates him that we elect leaders the way we do. He calls it “institutionalized trickery.”

“So,” I said. “What is it this time?”

“Controlled Response and Simple Solutions,” he said. “How’s that as the name of my new consulting firm?”

Sounds crass,” I said. “How does it work?”

“I got the idea from one of your people who is a holder of or a candidate for an elected office.”

“They aren’t my ‘politicians,’ by any stretch of the imagination,” I said. “but go ahead.”

“Your species loves simple solutions to complex problems,” he said. “It is a symptom of undeveloped cognitive systems.”

“You mean we’re stupid?”

“No,” he said, “you just act stupid. But don’t let’s change the subject.”

“Let us not,” I said. He was beginning to annoy me.

“A person on parole from one of your penal institutions commits a crime,” he said.

“Yes, and?”

“One of your politicians offers a solution. Just eliminate parole.”

“Seems I heard that. I don’t think he has thought that through completely.”

“Of course not,” he said.”That’s the combination of qualities, such as shape, color, or form, that pleases the aesthetic senses, especially the sight, of my method.”

“The ‘beauty’ of your method is cynical,” I said.

“Exactly. Now name a major problem facing your species.”


“Now, here’s what we will do. Put all the poor people in your country to work making pizzas.”


“That’s it. No more poor people and everyone has all the pizza they want.”

“How about the resulting obesity problem?”

“Free motorized wheelchairs.”

“What about other health problems?”

“More churches. The state will build them.”

“More churches?”

“Sure, lack of faith is the cause of illness. We don’t need health care. Just more churches.”

It was useless. Still, I was intrigued so I played along. “What about the growing army of terrorists lined up against us?”

“Haven’t you heard?” he said. “We kill them all.”

“Uh,” I said. “We’ve been trying that for 14 years.”


“It doesn’t seem to be working.”

“We’ll arm our drones with ‘mini-nukes’ and watch them scatter like cockroaches while we show them our love.” He smiled. “Similes and metaphors come free with my consulting.”

If your species really believed the world was complex,
you would only elect smart people to office. - C.W.
I rose to leave. “I’ve got things to do,” I said. “They are predicting a vicious winter on account of global climate change.”

“Cute kittens,” he said. “Your species is crazy about cute kittens.”

“I don’t get it.”

“How can you worry about approaching climatic catastrophes while you are videoing cute kittens?”

I thought I heard it thunder somewhere far away.
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- C.W.

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