C.W. is worrying the hell out of me. That’s not unusual, but
this time he has assumed his shape of the teenager he calls Ronald Chadsworth,
the National Merit Scholar. He appears as a youngster of color with piercing
eyes, curly hair, countless questions, and a voice that would remove wallpaper.
He always tests my patience.
The first question he asked illustrates my point. “Mr. Big Dope,” he began—when he is polite, I shudder, “why do the media report on what people ‘tweet?’ Isn’t that a bit like reporting on what one sees written on a bathroom wall in a truck stop?”
“Who knows,” I said. “Doesn’t it seem easier than actually going out and digging up news?”
“Why wouldn’t they want to go out and dig up news? It couldn’t be that difficult.”
“Have you ever tried it?”
He thought. “No, but all you would have to do us exchange text messages with the right person. Isn’t that right?”
“What if the right person didn’t text back?”
That stumped him, so he altered course. “Speaking of the right person,” he said, “when you were my age, did they print the ramblings of a sl … uh … a … a … what you called a ‘loose woman’ as news?”
“Only if she were arrested standing over a dead body with a smoking gun in her hand.”
“So bad girls with very little education weren’t considered experts?”
“Well maybe,” I said, “in certain fields, but they certainly didn’t discuss those things in the media.” I stopped. “Why so you ask?”
He didn’t respond, just opened a binder he was holding to a picture of Bristol Palin.
“Why don’t you go read Shakespeare?” I said.
“Can I ask you another question?”
“May I ask you another question,” I said, “and the answer is no.”
“What’s with the lady in England that wears all the funny hats?”
“What do you mean?”
“Why is that newsworthy? Wouldn’t it be more interesting to find a turtle that could do the ‘two-step’ and report on that?”
“Find one and we’ll see,” I said.
“Or a group of cats that have formed a Mariachi band?” He stopped. “Oh wait,” he said. “I did see that in the news.”
“In the news?”
“On Visage Page.”
|As I understand it, the marriage|
contract says she must look silly
at all times. Weird. - C.W.
“What’s on Facebook is not news,” I said.
“Back to the lady with the hats,” he said, “why do they report on what she does?”
“She’s the wife of a prince.”
“So he buys her the hats?”
“With his allowance, yes.”
“With his allowance, yes.”
“Oh,” he said, “and what does one do to be born a prince?”
“Be the son of a prince.”
“Is that the only way?”
“Or,” I said, “he could be the son of queen.”
He employed one of his sudden shifts in attention. “What does it mean to ‘pull yourself up by your own boot straps?’ I see it in the news all the time? Wouldn’t that defy the Law of Gravity? And,” he said, “your species is quite concerned with observing the law, I understand.”
“It’s a metaphorical saying,” I said, ignoring his sarcasm, “indicating the social desirability of taking responsibility for your own success in life.”
“Like the lady with the hats?”
I thought. “Yeah,” I said, “like the lady with the hats.”
“I thought so,” he said. “Now …”
I interrupted him. “Have you mastered matrix algebra yet?”
“Oh,” he said, “that was easy compared to understanding your species.”
He had me there. “Well what about so-called ‘String Theory.’ Couldn’t you go work on that?”
“I knew all there is to know about that before I came to your planet,” he said. “Now tell me about birth control.”
Oh hell. “Some people don’t like it,” I said.
“So what do they do?”
“They try to get rid of it.”
“So there will be more babies born?”
“Some to women who can’t care for them?”
“Who cares for them?”
“We don’t worry about that, as long as it isn’t the taxpayers.”
“Why is that?”
“I don’t know. Saves money I suppose.”
“Oh,” said, nodding his head. “I understand. Now,” he said.
“Aren’t you supposed to be exploring the writings of Kant?”
He ignored me. “Tell me,” he said, “about the high cost your country pays for incarcerating prisoners.”
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