I’ve always thought picking on an easy target was in poor taste, and this is because as a child I was dumpy, uncoordinated, prone to crying fits, and had a predilection for knickerbockers and hole-ridden sweatpants (sometimes worn in concert). I would come home from school crying and my mother would feed me a bunch of well-intentioned communitarian 60s bullshit like, “Next time J.J. picks on you, you ask her why she doesn’t have anything better to do.” Why don’t parents remember that one of the cardinal rules of childhood and adolescence is that no kid has anything better to do than pick on another kid, ever? And the easier the target, the better.
Meathead children with disproportionate amounts of power and buried kernels of low self-esteem do not enjoy a challenge. And, contrary to what my mother always said, some kids never grow out of this phase — they grow up to be Republicans. They grow up to be i-bankers on the Upper East Side who play Quarters well into their thirties and brag about not owning a book. They grow up to be CEOs of the energy conglomerates. They grow up to be President. So the question arises: in that one time every decade when they hit a run of bad luck (and face it, we are too stupid or powerless to have had any marked effect on the Bush administration’s spectacular implosion or the Lay/Skilling convictions, so bad luck it is), what can we, the limp-wristed, feelings-sharing, Pansycrat wusses, do now that the tables are turning? Do we bathe in the healing aroma-therapeutic mineral salts of Schadenfreude?
We are above such poor taste. And so I have an idea. Listen, I think we should help them. They’re always going on about the Bible, and I’m pretty sure that book has fellow-man-helping stuff in it, so let’s take a page out of it! Literally! And make that page into a paper airplane, and sail it off the Brooklyn Bridge and go, “Ooh, you down-and-out conservatives, look how pretty! There’s First Corinthians, fluttering above the boats! Now buck up, you’ve got Karl Rove cooking up something evil even as we speak. And do we have a Karl Rove? We do not.” And when they realize the paper airplane isn’t going to buy them a yacht and they go back to blubbering about their dust-gathering Hummers they can’t afford to fill up, we can give them some pointers on how to un-alienate their base. The current sovereign bodies in all our branches of government have been so busy inciting anti-fer’ner rioting with all this immigration reform that they haven’t had time to cover up the bad press from the Enron conviction or the gas prices or the war our great-great-great-grandchildren will probably have to fight in (if they can ride their bicycles all the way across the ocean). There are only so many pretty white girls that can get kidnapped by ethnic minorities, after all. And gay people are still having sex all over this great country of ours, but when nobody can afford to drive to their thrice-weekly megachurch pyrotechnic X-treme Worship, they have a hard time whipping up enough righteous indignation to power the great Republican Codified Bigotry Machine (which I envision as kind of a cross between the Goodyear Blimp and a spider).
Oh, now, look what I did. I didn’t help anyone; I just kicked some grown-up meatheads when they were down and didn’t even offer to buy them a hooker. It was really fun at the time, but it was the hollow, shameful kind of fun that comes from eating a tub of Red Vines or punching the homeless. It just makes you feel dirty in the end (especially the hand you just used to punch the homeless). Dirty, debased and constantly vulnerable — much like Ken Lay will be in prison. (Whoops.)