by OPOVV, ©2015

(Dec. 17, 2015) — “Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. By popular demand, our boss sent us back out on the streets to waylay people in a hurry. I actually don’t mind it; after all, it’s how I got to be a household name in our city, along with a much-needed pay raise. Plus our expense account allows for ‘Meal; One; Standard fare. Receipt required for reimbursement. Must be paid by cash. Serial numbers of all bills over a $20 required.’ Remind me not to volunteer to be an accountant in my next life.

“How about this rain? Little bit colder we’d be snowed-in for sure. We’re out in the ‘burb, at the train station — naturally – to ask people the question of the day that, by the way, the boss gave us: Since Obama, have you noticed any aspect of inflation?’”

“I heard that.”

“Oh, sorry, didn’t see you there, hiding behind me.”

“I wasn’t ‘hiding’, as you say. I’m standing here under the awning out of the rain just as you are, so there’s no ‘hiding’ involved. And I heard all you said and all I can say is I’m glad your boss isn’t my boss. What a dumb question. Of course we’re aware of inflation; all you got to do is go to the grocery store to figure that one out. Same size package for the same price, but it’s four ounces short, and they think they’re fooling us.

“The price of gas goes down and they immediately want to increase the taxes on it. And what do the politicians do with the money? Spend it, that’s what. Never think of saving, just spend, spend, and spend. I tell you, if they ran their household accounts like they run the government they’d be in sad shape. Come to think of it, that’s probably what they do: spending more than they earn so they think it’s justified to take bribes. And they all do it, don’t they? Only they don’t use the word ‘bribe’ anymore. No, they say to the jury, ‘Get over it. It was just a perk’, and they walk.

“And then they have the audacity to lecture us that we need ‘experienced career politicians’. Are they serious? Have they no shame? Nineteen TRILLION in debt, and we’re supposed to elect more of the same? Endorsed by the Party? Fat chance. Tar and feather the lot of them. Wanted: ‘Politician experienced in how to run a committee’. Why, if any of them ran a business like they run the government they’d be broke within the month.

“The only way this government is afloat is because they’re the ones who’s printing the play money. Fiat money. Only worth the paper it’s printed on, maybe 1/100 of a penny, if that. And that’s why the politicians don’t fire the Federal Reserve Bank; you know that, don’t you? They used to have a ‘Sunshine Law’; did you know that? An audit of the Fed would be fun to watch, but every time it’s suggested some school shooting or something else magically appears and everyone forgets that the Fed is taking us to the cleaners; you too, Mr. Roving.

“Trust politicians? Why? Look, there was a time when trust meant something. Long ago, when humans roamed the land looking for food, there came to be a person who was in charge of the fire. His or her job was to protect the flame when moving, even while on the run, being chased by whatever used to chase our ancestors. Maybe Sabre-Toothed Tigers, who knows?

“The beginnings of the ruling class were the ‘Keepers of the Light’, as they were called. People trusted the fire-keepers. Ever wonder why a church is designed the way it is? The hearthstone used to be the altar, the furthest point from the entry: to protect against drafts. At first the altar wasn’t any higher from the rest of the floor, but it did have a wall of stones two to four feet high protecting the fire even more from drafts. When fire-starting technology became so advanced as not to require an eternal flame, the fire pit was retained, which evolved into what we have today: the back of the church is raised from wall to wall. Long story, but you get the point.

“Sorry about getting sidetracked there; we were talking about trust and politicians, an oxymoron if there ever was one. Okay, maybe not individually, but collectively they ran up the National Debt, weakened our military and are directly responsible for the chaos and unrest in our country today. I rest my case.”

“Very interesting. May I ask who you are and what you do?”

“My name is Doctor Kneert, pronounced ‘knee-hurt’, by the way. You interviewed my stepdaughter the other day at the rehab center. And I just got transferred there from my old job with the government. I ran the evaluation on ‘Government Productivity’, which was a 20-year study of the work habits of the average government employee.”

“Twenty-year study? I mean, it took you 20 years to arrive at a conclusion?”

“No, I’m sorry, I didn’t make myself clear. The study lasted but a year but I always arrived at the same conclusion, so after 20 years they transferred me to be the director of the rehab center.”

“Let me see if I’ve got this right. You were, a what, statistician, yes? You’ve a Ph.D. in math? And then what, they didn’t like your conclusions so they transferred you; is that what I’m hearing?”

“Yes, and to anticipate your next question, my conclusion was that your normal government employee spends 80% of his time talking about his pension, 10% talking about other employees and 10% of his time actually working on whatever he was hired for. There are exceptions, of course: air traffic controllers, firemen, police and crossing guards at schools.  And for that I got transferred, but I keep myself occupied in determining why such a high percentage of our returning soldiers commit suicide.”

“No kidding? Suicides?”

“It’s not something one should kid about.”

“No, no, you got me wrong, sorry. It’s just that service men and women doing away with themselves is a topic everyone is interested in because we want to stop this epidemic of 22+ a day, am I right?”

“Yes, and I think I’ve found the key, or at least an important aspect of it, but I don’t want to talk about it standing under an awning in the rain. I’m on my way to the rehab center and you’re welcome to continue this discussion there. Would that be okay?”

“Yes, of course. Let’s all hop in the van and we’ll drive you on over. Your stepdaughter showed us a great burger place; maybe she could join us after we’re through.”


“Roving here in the doctor’s office at the rehab center. Now, doctor, before we drove on over you were saying something about having a ‘key’ to these suicides by our service people. What’s that all about?”

“I’m glad you put it that way, Roving. You said ‘service people’ and not just returning armed forces men and women. You see, these people who do themselves in could be any one of us, really, but these people stand apart because a lot of the blame can be laid on the system itself. You see, if the system lets them down, as it did with our Vietnam Veterans, and then when something else comes along and does the same thing, it’s a double whammy, and that’s when they do themselves in.”

“You said ‘double whammy’. Is that a scientific term, and what does it mean?”

“Yes, it is a scientific term, and it means exactly what it says. Take our service people: they took an Oath to defend the Constitution even ’til death, and you can’t go any farther than that. They honored their half of the bargain, or contract, but the government didn’t honor its half, which was to win the damn war. And it’s the same way today in the Middle East. You got to be brain-dead to know that Muslims will never accept Democracy over Sharia Law. It’s just not going to happen. The slogan ‘Win hearts and minds’ is meaningless, and our troops know it.

“That’s strike one. Strike two is that they get married and the wife cheats on them, another taken-to-the-heart contract rendered null and void. One most of us can take; two is just one too many. Trust destroyed, and it’s not something that therapy can cure, but there is a substitute.”

“Okay, let me guess: a dog.”

“One hundred percent correct, Roving. Why, you’re a lot smarter than they say you are.”

“Thanks, I get that a lot.”

“The hardest problem with Vets that need help is that 99% of them think that everything is okay, even while their lives are coming apart at the seams: drinking and drugs, which causes problems, so they drink more, which causes even more problems until they reach the bottom and blow themselves away.

“All we need is one one-hundredth of the VA’s advertising budget to reach those who need help. How the dog is chosen is that we just send the person in to the dog pound and let the dog and patient decide together. Can’t make it any easier than that.

“But we can’t just give any old dog to just anyone. A dog requires food and medical services – shots and all the other stuff — that go along with being a responsible owner. You can’t just like say, ‘Here’s a dog’ and walk away. We help with the dog expenses, at least at first. I mean the shots and the neutering fee. It’s not the cure, but it helps, and what little help we can do — as a society — for those who were willing to give their lives for us is well worth it. So we devised a follow-up program that’s run by other Vets – all volunteers, mind you — who have dogs, too. They’re not designated ‘Service Dogs’ legally, but they are, nevertheless, if you get my meaning.

“We would use some of that VA advertisement money to help every city and town have dog parks, someplace where dogs can act like dogs and people can sit on benches and relax. And yes, I’m talking about Veterans meeting other Veterans. There’s no other group of people so anti-crowd and anti-people than war-torn Vets, and these dog parks across America are a good thing, even if you’re not a Vet.

“Listen, I’ve received some negative feedback from the rural areas. People from Iowa say that they live on a farm and their dog runs free. Okay, and the point is what? My point is that every town, hamlet, city, whatever you call it, should have a place where our Veterans — who need our help – have a place to go and be treated like human beings and not like someone who has something wrong with him or her, get pointed at or whispered about; well, we just ought to do our best, is all I can say.

“I only deal with shell-shocked, or traumatized, men, while others at the rehab deal with the women folk. Most of the men never remarry, become reclusive, because of the trust that was broken by their adulteress wives, but with our dog program our suicide rate has been cut almost 100%.

“That a phenomenal success rate.”

“Yes, it is, which we’re very proud of, by the way. And should be. Take two patients with the exact same symptoms. One goes to the VA hospital and walks out with a plastic bag full of mind-numbing drugs, while the other goes to the animal shelter and walks out with a friend for life, someone who won’t lie or cheat on him. After ten years, the success rate is that there’s a 60% chance of the pill-popper killing himself while, as long as the dog remains healthy and alive, the dog owner’s chances of still being with us is 100%.”

“Imagine, a cure as easy as saving a dog from being killed at the pound can save a man’s life. Doctor, let me shake your hand. We’ve done a lot of shows, but this one is one of the best.

“Well, ladies and gentlemen of our viewing audience, it seems that we don’t have to pump our service people full of drugs after all. Think of the money we’ll be saving and, most importantly, the lives we’ll be saving with an official dog adoption policy. The VA has many problems, and to think that they couldn’t figure this one out 40+ years after Vietnam makes one wonder what all that VA money was spent on. This is Roving and crew from the rehab center saying goodnight: Goodnight.”

‘Hey, Doctor, mind calling your daughter-in-law up and invite her to join us for burgers? My treat.”

Semper Fi


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