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Wednesday, September 17, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 8/10/2003

Tempering the ways and meanstreak

BY KENDALL DOWNS

Let's take a peek at the schoolyard shenanigans of those rival gangs of post-adolescents we call members of the House of Representatives.

As our curtain rises on a recent Friday, we find the GOPs and Dems jockeying for control of the Ways and Means Committee.

It seems that little Billy Thomas (he's GOP lieutenant) wanted to push ahead with some changes he'd made to an agreement on sharing lunch money, or allowances, or some such thing.

“No fair,” hollered Chuckie Rangel, Numero Uno among the Dems on the committee, “You're changing da rules. Just for dat, I'm gonna make you read de whole ting out loud and me and my boys are gonna take our ball and go home. We don't gotta play with cheaters!”

“Hold up,” said Petey Stark. “Maybe I better stay and keep an eye on dese guys, in case dey try ta pull a fast one.”

“OK,” Chuckie said. “We'll be right in da library if you need us.”

Now, Petey - his real name is Fortney, which is why he's called Petey - he's a little older than most of the guys, and he knows some really good swear words that I can't repeat but which he started to teach to little Billy.

“Shaddup,” screamed Scotty McInnis, putting his hands over his ears because he'd never heard such a potty-mouth before.

“You think you are big enough to make me, you little wimp?” Petey reportedly taunted. “Come on. Come over here and make me. I dare you. You little fruitcake. You little fruitcake. I said you are a fruitcake.”

He had to repeat it because of Scotty's ears being covered up.

This was too much for little Billy, who apparently liked fruitcake, so he called “Tag” and “No tagging back” and smashed his hammer down before Petey could open his mouth, ending the reading of the bill.

“Now,” Billy said, “I'm gonna calls da cops on your pals in da library.”

Well, the cops came, led by Officer Krupke, but they didn't want to get in the middle of a turf war and so they decided that this was just a case of boys being boys. (“Oh, you know the sort of hijinks they get into, but it's harmless and they're good lads all the same,” Krupke was heard to say, beating a hasty retreat.)

Things seemed to calm down for a while, but the problem came to a head again when the boys got home and began telling their parents what happened.

Mama Sue Pelosi immediately complained to Daddy Dennis Hastert - and anyone else who'd listen - about what a bully little Billy was, while members of the GOP claimed they only called the cops because they thought Petey was going to beat up Scotty.

Daddy Dennis was fit to be tied.

The rest of the GOPs, afraid that Daddy Dennis might ground them or take away their pork, begged little Billy to apologize, but Billy dug in his heels and refused even to show his face when they all got together after the weekend.

That was too much for Daddy Dennis, who took little Billy to the woodshed the next day for a “little talk.”

Daddy Dennis and Cousin Tom DeLay then met with all the GOPs and told them that they were going to have to make up with the Dems.

“Don't y'all worry,” Cousin Tom said, “you can afford to be fair but firm 'cause you've got the votes to beat them any ol' time you like.”

Daddy Dennis and Cousin Tom also met separately with all the GOP lieutenants and told them not to pay any attention to Mama Sue, who was just trying to get their goat with all her talk about “police-state tactics.”

Several asked when they had traded the elephant for a goat, and no one seemed to know why Mama Sue wanted it when she already had a donkey, but whatever Daddy Dennis and Cousin Tom said was OK with them.

On Wednesday, little Billy, looking like he didn't want to sit down, apologized to the GOPs and Dems.

I learned a very painful lesson,” Billy said, casting a sidelong glance at Daddy Dennis. “But I'm not sorry about getting Petey in trouble.”

Mama Sue glared at little Billy from her seat in the audience and said later that she appreciated little Billy's apology but still wanted him sent to bed without dessert for bending her record.

“I don't think the record has been set straight yet,” she said.

As the curtain falls on our little play, we are reminded of the advice of two sage political philosophers.

First, we should remember the words of the venerable Wizard of Oz, who told us to “pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.”

And Will Rogers spoke for all of us when he said, “I don't know jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.”



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