“I need you to notarize some reports,” he said early this morning, throwing a pile of papers on the kitchen table beside my coffee. He was nattily dressed as, hmm, let me see, oh, he was trying for the Paul Krugman look, complete with a well-trimmed beard and expensive wire-rimmed glasses.
“The ones I have to send in.” He stopped, looked around, and bent over to speak to me privately. “I actually sent them in already but some were returned with a demand for human verification.” He looked around to make sure nobody else was in the room. “That’s where you come in.”
“Who is demanding verification?”
“The Falloonian Elders. They doubt my power of conveying or perceiving truth or accuracy.”
“Ah,” I said, “your old veracity problem.”
“It’s not that. This time I am accurate. They are charging Luniadicity.”
“They’re charging what?”
“It’s a Falloonian expression.”
He studied me. “It doesn’t have an exact English translation.”
“A rough one then.”
He pursed his lips and stared at the ceiling. “Rough?”
“Roughly … ‘nobody is that goddam stupid’ and that is a little on the gentle side.”
“Let’s see those reports,” I said, picking up the one on top. It was labeled “Economic Theories – The Supply Side Joke.”
“C.W.,” I said, “what is this?”
“A report on the idiotic reasoning of some of your leaders that a governmental unit can increase its supply of revenue by cutting its supply of revenue.”
He had me there. “Also known as the ‘What’s the Matter With Kansas?’ problem,” I said.
“It’s making your country the laughing stock of the Galaxy,” he said.
“Guess I’ll have to sign off on that one. I laid it aside and looked at the next one. It read, “War as Treatment.” I looked at him and he read my confusion.
“The wars you wage on nouns,” he said, “instead of solving problems.”
“Example?” I said.
“How about the problem of addiction syndrome?”
“It is apparent to everyone who has been reading my reports that your species—some units more than others—has a genetic disposition toward addiction. Our scientists believe it is a remnant from the times when gorging was effi.. effa … effic…”
“Efficacious, because of the unpredictability of food supplies.”
“The modern result is the addictive personality. That is your societal problem.”
“I’m told that the entire membership of the Elders Conference fell out of their chairs laughing when I reported the solution that your species had devised.”
“They laughed at us?”
“Sure. They know the obvious solution to the problem of addiction is treatment and not your silly solution, if I may be uncompromisingly forthright as resembling a worn-down edge.”
“Go ahead and be blunt. How did you describe our solution?”
“The creation of a so-called war on the noun describing the source of addiction, followed by the creation of an international and illegal black market on the source, addressed by a massive inflow of resources to fund police action designed to keep amateur participants out of the business of distributing the source, and finally a refusal to spend resources on treatment due to a lack of funds.”
“Oh,” I said.
“You can see why they laughed.”
“Right,” I said. ‘What’s next?” I picked up the following report. It was labeled simply, “Gungdoitus.”
|When I reported that this man was elected to office|
by promising that a small revenue stream would
produce a large revenue stream, the Falloonina Elders
almost brought me home. - C.W.
I stared. “What the …?”
“Another Falloonian phrase.”
He thought. “Meaning the condition of having the cure but making it difficult or illegal to use it.”
Now I had him. “Surely you can’t suggest that we do that?”
He looked at me as if I had just said that winds were caused by the fairies fanning themselves.
“Have you ever heard,” he said, and his eyes bored right into mine, “of birth control?”
I slumped and said nothing.
“I hope you have some time,” he said. “We’ve quite a few of these to go.” He picked up one labeled “Transportation.” He grimaced, “No way they’re ever going to believe this one.”
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- Your Pal in Truth: C.W.