Sunday, May 8, 2016

320. Explanations

“You want to try and explain it?”

“Well no,” I said. “I haven’t the slightest idea.” I was talking to C.W. of course, who was sitting in my favorite chair in a perfect image of the TV character Archie Bunker. He had just looked up from his newspaper.

“Want me to?”

“Sure,” I said, “That’s what I was hoping for this morning when I made coffee: an alien from a planet 50 light-years away explaining American politics to me.” I sat, with my coffee, on a less comfortable chair, facing him. “Lay it on me,” I said.

Lay what on you?”

“It’s just an expression,” I said.

“Like when Mrs. Big Dope threatens to ‘lay one on you’ when she’s mad?”

“Uh, not exactly. But go ahead.”

“That word ‘lay’ is a confusing one for aliens,” he said. “Hens lay eggs, after the weather lays. How do we know what to think?”

“Context,” I said. “Context. “And entertainers lay bombs, so you be careful.”

“Sometimes it causes your species to smile,” he said. “like when you talk about getting …”

I interrupted him. “Why don’t you get back to explaining things?”

“Well,” he said, “remember when your people used to laugh at me and make all sorts of fun?”

“Laugh at you? When?”

“Back in the 1970s”

“You weren’t here then.”

“My character, you meathead.”

“Oh … Archie,” I said.

“The very one. Now, do you know the problem?”

“No. Tell me.”

“Lots of folks weren’t laughing.”


“No. Lots of folks were saying, ‘Gee, I wish I were free to talk like that.”

“But your character was a bigoted, uneducated, bully.”

He dropped his chin, looked over his reading glassed, and said, “Do I have to draw you a visual representation or image drawn on a flat surface?”

“You don’t have to draw me a picture,” I said. “I get your drift.”

“You what?”

“I understand.”

“I thought maybe you would,” he said. “Now, second point: your species currently has a great deal of trouble telling the difference between the ‘promiseable’ and the ‘doable.’ Do you get my continuous slow movement from one place to another, as you say?”

“I think you need to work on your grammar,” I said, “but yes. I understand.

“Your species likes it when someone puts things in colorful language that is easy to understand. Whether it is reality-based matters very little to them.”

He had a point.

“And,” he said, “that’s another part of the problem.”

“How so?”

“Your species hates complexity.”

“As in …”

“How about the genetic structure of a living organism?”

“Well now,” I said. “That is complex.”
Not all actors can be president.
But all presidents must be actors.  - C.W

“Yes,” he said, “we don’t teach it until Year Two on Falloonia.”

“Well it baffles us,” I said, “A lot of people don’t fully understand the concept, and some don’t understand it at all.”

“Favoring instead,” he said, “a ‘bronze-age’ mythology of a gray-haired spirit in the sky who snapped his fingers and it all appeared?”

“Now you best be careful saying things like that.”

“Why? I’m not running for president.”

“Why not? Because you are an alien?”

“Get serious,” he said. “Your country has had several aliens who have served as president.”

That floored me, but I decided to play along. “Then what would stop you from running?”

“I have no theatrical skills at all.”

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