1.23.2016

The Bern

"Daddy, what's wrong with that man?" my daughter Caitlin asked as we made our way down the frozen food aisle of our neighborhood Safeway.

I looked where she was pointing. At the far end of the aisle, an overweight, middle aged man had opened the door of the cooler that held frozen pizzas and was attempting to climb into it. I had seen this before, though not while Caitlin had been with me.

A snap parenting decision had to be made. Did I turn around and lead Caitlin away, or was this a teachable moment? Ignorance was bliss, but I couldn't protect her from reality forever. I opted for the latter.

"It's nothing to be afraid of," I reassured my daughter. "You know how on a really hot summer day Mommy gives you ice cold lemonade to cool off, even though we don't usually drink sugary drinks?"

"Uh huh," Caitlin affirmed.

"Well, sometimes grownups get really hot summer days on the inside, and that man is trying to cool himself down by bathing in frozen pizzas." I knew how ridiculous it sounded.

"How come he's hot on the inside?" Caitlin, always inquisitive, asked.

The man was now grabbing the frozen discs of processed food and jamming them up under his t-shirt, which had an American flag on the front.

"Well, you remember who the President is, right?" I asked her.

"President Bernie," she answered.

"Right," I replied. "Well, when he got elected President, some people who didn't like him..."

A couple of teenage employees of the grocery store appeared at the far end of the aisle with mops and a large plastic tub.

"...started getting sick." I didn't know how else to explain it, since science hadn't yet been able to. "Their insides just started heating up out of control."

"How come?" Caitlin pushed. Dammit, I thought, this is the tough part.

"How do you feel when you have a tough math problem at school and no matter what you can't figure it out?" I asked her.

"Mad," she said. Close enough, I thought.

"Well that's how some people feel about President Bernie and it makes their brains overheat," I said. "Only they can't solve this problem, so they get madder and madder and hotter and hotter, until...well, just watch."

The man was now clutching two extra large frozen pizzas to either side of his head, which was jerking violently from side to side. The pizzas he had tried to stuff under his shirt were spilling out onto the floor and one of them rolled down the aisle toward us. I kicked it away.

The two employees ducked out of sight and I put my hand on Caitlin's shoulder to guide her a couple of steps back, though I thought we were a safe distance away.

The man dropped the pizzas jammed against his head and leaned into the pizza cooler. His gaze turned toward us and he had the most serene look on his face like he had had found absolute joy. Then with the telltale sound of a cartoon bubble bursting, his head simply imploded, his face appearing to pinch inward from the tip of his nose and then his entire head collapsing and vanishing. As it shrank to a point in space about 5 inches above his neck, it separated from his torso and the headless body fell to the floor, scattering pizzas everywhere. There was no blood. Forensic scientists couldn't explain that either. The head implosions of Trump supporters, and it was only Trump supporters as it turned out, seemed to seal up the skin around the neck, like the way the lava in a lava lamp breaks up.

The store employees moved in, picking up discarded pizzas and putting them into the plastic tub. Caitlin and I continued up the aisle toward the frozen vegetables.

As we passed the kids, I commented to them, "That doesn't happen much anymore..."

"I know right?" one of them responded. "We totally thought it was a Cruzer."

"Ah, that explains the mops," I said.

"I woulda never cleaned this up before Uncle Bernie made the minimum wage $15," the other kid said.

After we passed by the kids and headless corpse, Caitlin asked, "What's a Cruzer, Daddy?"

"That's what they call people who voted for Ted Cruz, the guy who almost ran for President against President Bernie instead of Donald Trump," I replied.

"Politics are dumb," Caitlin said. I smiled and patted her on the head.

"They sure are, Princess...they sure are."

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