“TAKING THE PULSE OF THE NATION”

by OPOVV, ©2015

(Sep. 12, 2015) — “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, Roving Reporter providing the information and entertainment you’ve come to expect. As you can see, we’re back on the street waylaying unsuspecting passersby in order to take the pulse of the nation.

“Here comes a young lady. Hello, lady, Roving Reporter with…”

“I know who you are and I know your question. Perry could’ve stood up and spoken the truth instead of hiding behind someone’s skirts. If anyone should know about illegal immigrants, and Muslims, for that matter, it should have been Perry. Instead he opened his mouth and all we heard was some feeble meaningless whine. Like Romney: another ‘could’ve’ hitting the dust, or is it ‘biting the dust?’ No matter: he’s O-U-T and history. Good riddance. Bye.”

“Bye. And thanks. Here comes another one, an elderly gentleman.

“Excuse me, sir, but can you spare a minute? Couple of questions, if you don’t mind. Here, can you turn a little to your left so your face isn’t in shadow for the camera. There. Thank you.”

“I’ve a train to catch, young man, and if I’m late I won’t get my usual seat in the library, the most desirable one, I’ll have you know, and end up near the entrance in the draft, catch a cold, and die in an iron lung. Who knows? Nobody can tell the future, at least nobody since Jesus, who foretold his own, well, you know the story.

“Now what’s your question? Let’s get this show on the road. Just because I’m retired doesn’t mean I don’t have important work to do, that my life is over and I can no longer contribute to the betterment of society. We old folks have a lot of knowledge, you know, and just because we drive the speed limit doesn’t mean we don’t have appointments to keep.

“Why, just the other day, I think sometime last week. What month is this? Last month, then, not that long ago.”

“Look, I don’t mean to sound rude or impatient, but other people on this planet have lives to live, too, you know. Answer this for us, will you?”

“You’re the problem, or at least part of it. Why, if I was as impatient as you, I’d never have accomplished the great things I’ve done. Why, you don’t even know who you’re talking too, do you? Then allow me to introduce myself: Professor Antony Marcus Nix, world-renowned researcher and author of the definitive book of crocodile tears, ‘Tear Theft: It’s Immoral but Legal.’ You should learn to respect your elders, sonny-boy.

“What started me on the road to greatness was my wife’s sister. See, she was after this rich guy, a real jerk, at least I thought so, but rich. So he broke up with her, but she gushed these tears, and I know they were fake because it happened during one of our dinner parties, right there at the table, between the asparagus and the last offering of the prime rib. Crying, but I knew better, and so did my wife, who looked at me and winked. So I lost the bet. Hundred bucks.

“And that’s what started me on the research of my book. Took me 20 years, and then on the 21st year the government grant was denied, imagine that? And so I published my paper and it’s been required reading for every Psychology 101 course ever since. And I update it every year so last year’s textbook is automatically outdated so the students have to buy new textbooks in order to take the course, which is required, naturally. Pretty neat, don’t you think? So my retirement check is very good, which allows the wife to play Bingo and I get to spend my days in the library at the university chatting with old friends.

“Lately I’ve been noticing more and more crocodile tears on television. In the business we call them ‘tearlians,’ combining the words  ‘tears’ and ‘crocodilians.’ Some people cry for real, and I feel sorry for them, but my long-time assistant, after we were so rudely denied another year of a government handout, started his own business, that of coaching people who needed tears on demand.

“And that’s what his business is called, ‘Cry on Demand: money-back guarantee.’ His phones are ringing off the hook. He’s booked until December of next year. That’s right, until December because no matter who wins, somebody has to cry for the camera while they give their concession speech. And you know what? He uses that country-western song by David Allen Cole, ‘You Never Even Call Me by My Name,’ in his radio commercials. Making money hand over fist, he is. I’m sure you’ve heard it.

“Look, the last train is about to leave. Nice talking to you.”

“Thank you, Professor Nix. It was a lot more than I or any of our viewers expected. I didn’t know there was a business just to teach people how to cry on demand and make it look real. It just goes to show that you can’t believe anything you see on television these days.

“I see we ran a little over tonight, but it was worth it. Hope you enjoyed the show. ‘Tearlians’: got to love it. This is Roving saying goodnight. Goodnight.”

“Hey, guys, great show. That professor was a trip. School for politicians to learn how to cry for the camera. I could think of some things to cry about, but they’d be for real: a dog, a girl I met at a dance hall called the Cinnamon Cinder and my misspent youth. No matter.  Let’s grab a burger, my treat.”

Semper Fi

OPOVV

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