The Audacity of Despair.
BY Teddy Wayne
Critics have accused me of running a presidential campaign based solely on a vague message of hope. They call me a Pangloss redux, a Pollyanna without substance, a sunny neophyte blithely ignorant of the dangers threatening our country who’s reminiscent of some other classic fictional character with a P name.
Well, if it’s sunny, that’s because it’s late evening in America, and our star is not rising over the horizon but setting. And, after it sets, it’ll be exploding in a supernova that obliterates the entire solar system.
Metaphorically and literally dark days lie ahead, my soon-to-be-former friends, and so I ask for your vote this pre-apocalyptic Election Day, unless you’re feeling too lethargic from chronic-fatigue syndrome, which will be my excuse.
I’ve been traveling around our vast, decaying nation on the Self-Pity Express, shaking the hands of countless citizens whose names I instantly forgot, then immediately Purelling because I’m not so much a “people person.” There was Janet Somethingfrenchsounding, a mother of four with acute psoriasis. Who will be the one to tell her she’s not covered by her health insurance? I’d love for it to be me.
When I was a little boy in my hometown of Hopeless, Arkansas, my daddy once said to me, “If you ever feel like giving up, remember that it’s the easy way out, and, in the majority of instances, makes the most rational sense on a strictly cost-benefit basis.” His words echo in my mind whenever I encounter a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, such as a rack with six consonants to kick off a game of Scrabulous. I’ve since committed them to a poster that hangs over the crib of my son, Eeyore, although, given the state of education and the hegemony of visual media, he’ll probably never learn to read sentences with clauses.
The next president faces a host of critical challenges; he must listen to all viewpoints, carefully weigh his choices, then decisively curl into a fetal position once he realizes that eventually we all die alone anyway, so what’s the point?
We’re all tired of reading about the violence in Iraq over our morning cocktail of an increasingly-ineffective-SSRI-and-vodka. I have formulated the only sensible approach: stop writing about the violence in Iraq. You thought I was going to propose a nuanced, multi-pronged military and diplomatic strategy carefully implemented over a number of years? Nope. That sounds impossible, or at least sort of hard, which are two sides of the same rapidly devaluing coin.
Which reminds me: The economy is entering its worst recession since the 1930s. Yet look at all the great socially conscious literature from that era! That’s pretty much all we have to look forward to from the coming irrevocable decade. Except it will be on blogs. And focus on unflattering celebrity pictures and reality-show analysis. In a text-message-cum-emoticon patois written by my functionally illiterate son.
Global warming is a shame, isn’t it? Well, you know what they’ll say about New York in 2013: If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere, because you obviously have access to a seafaring boat, several hundred pounds of canned food, and a constantly refreshing Google map of newly formed water highways.
Ask not what your country can do for you, because it will fail, and a solution from the private sector will just bilk you of your 401(k).
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself, plus terrorism, that supercollider thingy, 3 a.m. phone calls, a major motion-picture version of The Hills, the contagiousness of acute psoriasis, and 167 other things I listed last night when I couldn’t fall asleep at 3 a.m.
Read my lips: Please hold me.
Americans have an unbreakable spirit, and many indomitable souls ask me, “Don’t you think that, as we did in the Revolutionary War, during the Great Depression, and after Wham! broke up, we can come together as a people and rise once again?”
And I always respond with my new campaign slogan:
No, we can’t.
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