Burt Prelutsky / March 20, 2017

The Lunacy Persists

As you may have noticed, in spite of my increased efforts, the amount of insanity in our society continues to expand at an alarming rate. For instance, just the other day, March 8th, America experienced something called “A Day Without A Woman,” as part of the International Day of Women, an event invented about a hundred years ago, by the Russians. (There is a reason, you see, why women were encouraged to wear the color red.)

As you may have noticed, in spite of my increased efforts, the amount of insanity in our society continues to expand at an alarming rate.

For instance, just the other day, March 8th, America experienced something called “A Day Without A Woman,” as part of the International Day of Women, an event invented about a hundred years ago, by the Russians. (There is a reason, you see, why women were encouraged to wear the color red.)

The fact is I was a feminist before feminism was even cool. That’s because I found women more interesting than men. I’m not merely referring to sex, either. I just found their minds more fascinating. I guess that’s partly because they don’t talk about golf, at least the ones I’ve met, and they prefer discussing people more than things. Okay, have it your own way…. I like to gossip.

But at least I never embarrass feminism the way some people do. And, yes, I am referring to aging hippy, Gloria Steinem. When she got wind that President Trump wanted to quit subsidizing Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio, she urged her acolytes to withhold that portion of their income taxes that would otherwise go to fund those two items in the federal budget and send the money directly to them.

Even if we forget for a moment that it would probably take a team of CPAs a hundred years to determine those particular percentages, she sounded exactly like those half-baked crackpots in the 90s who were always promoting schemes by which people would be freed of the burden of paying their income taxes.

As Ms. Steinem put it, “If enough of us did it, they couldn’t do anything about it. We could just tell ‘em to come and get us.”

I, for one, would be willing to pay a few extra dollars in taxes for the sheer joy of watching federal marshals carting Ms. Steinem off to Leavenworth.

Sometimes, I manage to tune out radio commercials in the car. Only rarely do I find myself actually listening to the words. I had no idea what I was missing. During the first commercial I listened to this afternoon, I heard a guy brag that his was one of the top 100 financial advisory outfits in America. When someone says he’s one of the top hundred, he might as well come right out and admit there are 99 others that are better, but he’ll still have to charge more because he’s the schmuck advertising on the radio.

The very next commercial was for a dentist. His spokeswoman naturally lied and said that even if we went in with rotting molars, the entire process would be painless. It’s never entirely painless. Even if they merely need to take X-rays, the sharp edges on the little negatives cut into your soft palette and it hurts like hell. And of course, she let us know that in the end, our teeth would be so beguiling that we wouldn’t be able to resist smiling, presumably even while attending the funeral of a loved one.

But the clincher came at the close when she gave the phone number and said, “Don’t be surprised if (name of the dentist) answers the phone.”

What?! He answers the phone? And that’s supposed to be an incentive? It tells me that either the commercial is one last desperate attempt to keep his doors open, or that he’s so cheap, he won’t hire a receptionist. Which would lead me to wonder where else he cuts corners: “Forget the Novocain, just bite on this rag.”

The political scene is no better. The Trump administration keeps insisting the travel delay isn’t a ban on Muslims. Of course, it’s not a Muslim ban. There are more than two dozen Muslim nations on earth, and the latest presidential edict only targets six of them. That’s the trouble. One of the main reasons I voted for Trump was because I thought he was serious about banning all Muslims.

Yes, I understand that sounds bigoted. So be it. I just heard that over 200 million Muslim women in the world have been the victims of physical mutilation. To the rest of us, cliterectomies is just a long word; to those 200 million women, it’s a hellish reality based on the teachings of their not so holy book.

And yet the Muslim women who were behind “A Day Without A Woman” never talk about that or about the honor killings that occur, on average, every 90 minutes, or the fact that in most Muslim nations, men can buy pre-pubescent brides, and women are not allowed to attend school, drive cars, wear normal clothing or go out in public unaccompanied by men. But Gloria Steinem can’t sleep nights because she’s so concerned that she and her rich chums in Beverly Hills and New York City might be forced to pick up the financial slack for an abortion mill and a pansy radio network.

I don’t care for the American Health Plan. I was all for repealing ObamaCare, and merely tweaking what we had before by allowing people to purchase their medical insurance across state borders and encourage the insurance companies to create a pool to cover catastrophic events.

As it is, Medicaid, which was created as a safety net for the elderly, the truly impoverished and the infirm, is a grab-all that is used by druggies, illegal aliens and anyone else who feels entitled to have his medical bills paid by other people.

The problem is that as wrong-headed as ObamaCare was, it is regarded as an entitlement by X-number of Americans. And when it comes to entitlements, it’s easier to take candy from a baby with an attitude and a truly awesome sweet tooth.

God forbid that politicians ever treat Americans like adults. Once that happened and the world didn’t stop spinning, they might get serious about downsizing Social Security until at some point in the future, the federalized Ponzi scheme simply vanished, and Americans got back to planning for their own financial futures.

For the life of me, I don’t know why Trump decided to keep James Comey around. I would have thought he’d want to get rid of the guy if only because when they stand next to each other, Comey makes Trump look like he’s standing in a hole.

Comey, the last I heard, claimed that Barack Obama did not ask that the Trump campaign headquarters be wiretapped. Well, duh. Did King Henry VIII actually have to say in so many words that he wanted Thomas More beheaded? Did Lucky Luciano, Al Capone or Frank Costello, have to write out an executive order to have their business rivals knocked off? Did Barack Obama have to pick up the phone and order Lois Lerner and her busy little IRS beavers to target conservatives?

Sometimes, it’s enough that the big cheese, the big enchilada, the big cheese enchilada, indicates he’d like to see certain things happen, all while retaining that all-important deniability. Oh, and hold the hot sauce.

Conservative parents keep sending their impressionable youngsters off to college, where the resident Marxists will indoctrinate them for at least four years and where their classmates will soon have them conforming to fascistic beliefs and behavior.

We wouldn’t think of sending the kids off to places where their bodies would surely be maimed, but we pay good money to pack them off to well-maintained swamps where their hearts and minds will be poisoned.

One of my erudite readers recently informed me that certain elite colleges aren’t called Ivy League because of the creepy green stuff crawling all over their walls. Instead, it’s because the original league included only four schools, and therefore went by the Roman Numeral IV.

How lucky they were that there weren’t three or five in the group. Ivy sounds so much classier than Three I or V. No wonder they get to charge so much money for turning bright young things into the sort of zombie-like clones who wind up working for the U.S. State Department or Goodman Sachs.

When I recently mentioned that I tend to spot the punchlines to jokes from a mile away, I hope nobody thought I was boasting. I did refer to it as a curse, and I wasn’t being modest. It means that for a good many years, I have had to try to muster a chuckle or a smile that probably resembled a grimace when someone would corner me and insist on telling what he promised would be a real knee-slapper.

But I have tried to analyze why I have this useless ability. I suspect it’s because a joke has a logical progression. It’s like building a house. First you have to lay the foundation of the joke, then erect the framework and build on it, brick by brick, as if working off a blueprint.

So, one, I am extremely logical. Two, I have been a professional writer, specializing in humor, since 1959. In much the same way, I suspect that once they hear the opening bars of a new song, most composers sense the inevitable direction the music will take. Perhaps it’s the same with an architect who views a new building going up.

In my case, especially once I sense if the joke is heading to the bedroom or the bathroom, I can generally get there first because I know the shortcut.

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