Garrison Keillor is an author and radio personality.
Summer weather leads toward cranial relaxation and you know it and I know it. You walk out your front door into the heat and an 800-pound anvil falls out of the oak tree on your head and flattens you like a pancake. It’s the anvil you bought because it cost $150, which is a good deal for an anvil that size. You put the anvil up in the tree because you didn’t want your wife to know. You already had two anvils, and it’d be hard to explain why a man requires three. And you walk under the tree and see the chain hanging down and you’re like “What’s this?” and you yank on it and your last thought on this earth is “Oh, for dumb.” This is what 90 degrees can lead to. You go to the bus stop and a man in a yellow plaid sport coat sells you a house in Mexico for $6,000. A stucco house with a red tile roof: He shows you a picture. He swipes your credit card on his iPad and you board the bus and realize there’s no address on the deed. And it’s dated Aug. 10, 2106. And the taxidermy business he sold you along with the house, turning deceased pets into bronzed statues, how is that going to work if you can’t find the house?
And so a large contingent of people who sat way in back in high school history class and now need to blame foreigners for their lack of progress in the world have nominated a bloated megalomaniac for president, running on a platform of contempt and fantasy. It seems to make them happy, judging from the crowds who attend the gentleman’s performances.
So my friends in Copenhagen are asking, “What’s going on in America that you got so crazy so suddenly?” Danes take an interest in us because their country is flat and if our emissions melt Greenland, they’ll have to move to Norway, where the vowels are different and the beer tastes fishy.
I tell them: The Big Snapper is the result of a long-standing American dread of meetings. Liberals adore meetings and whenever there is uncertainty in the air — salmon or salad for dinner? The Woody Allen movie or the documentary on income inequality? — they plop down with their lattes and everyone has her or his say, which takes hours and results in a report that leads to a task force and then a two-year study. The Snapper is not big on meetings. Short attention span and superior intelligence: Let’s go. Get her done. Move on.
The second reason for his nomination is The Fascination of the Unthinkable: When the rational fails to satisfy, then why not the counterintuitive? If your car won’t start and you don’t know why, push it over a cliff and watch it blow up. If you’re tired of the same old same old in Washington, why not elect Bob Barker, former host of “The Price Is Right”? It’s like having a walrus in church Sunday morning. The minister tries to explain the parable of the vineyard and the walrus says, “BLEAUGHHHHHH.” Which one do you remember for weeks afterward?
Long ago in Minnesota, a state somewhat like Denmark, a man ran for governor who had bleached hair, enormous pectorals and a penchant for hitting other men with folding chairs. I am not making this up. It was unthinkable that a state of sober Scandinavians and Germans would elect a man like that. And so we did. His term in office was not a happy time, and he didn’t run for reelection. Not many Minnesotans miss him. The Snapper is not campaigning in Minnesota that anyone is aware of. We’ve been there, done that. Talk to one of us if you need more information.
What will defeat the Snapper in the end is plain wrongness. When the surgeon comes in to say hello before he opens up your skull, if he’s wearing a baseball cap backward and listening to Metallica on headphones, you climb off the table. And when you board the plane and glance into the cockpit and see Moe and Curly doing eye pokes, you disembark. The Big Snapper is not a president of the United States. He isn’t even of mayoral quality, unless maybe in Toronto. He’s a joke. Nice try. No cigar.
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