Whatever is supposed to be normal
That was a lovely spot of weather we had at the start of the week. One of the many pleasures attendant upon Easter Sunday this year was to wake up and realize that the only thing tweeting was the birds I could hear.
This impression was reinforced Monday when I picked up a dog-eared copy of the Portland Squirrel, a daily newspaper rumored to be published quite often in a community south of here, and read a front-page story that (if you read between the lines) basically informed us Lord President Trumpleton has been advised by his advisers to shut up for a little while and let them do the talking.
Innocently, I called my dear pal at the White House to see what he thinks about being ever-so-politely gagged and advised to go and spend the weekend playing golf.
“Lord Prez,” I said. “What’s all this with letting your people do the talking while you play golf?
“Well,” he replied. “First of all, I want you to know that I am really good at golf. Believe me, I know how good I am.”
He then explained that he might have unintentionally said a few things to irritate the president of North Korea, unwittingly helping bring the possibility of a nuclear war between the U.S. and the mad boy of Pong-Ping ever such a teeny bit closer, but that it was not entirely his fault.
“How so?” I inquired cautiously, starting to wonder if I should have really called at such a sensitive point during his administration.
It turns out that the dear Lord Prez was originally under the impression that the Korea everyone has been going on about at such great length was a small town Downeast on the Maine Coast. This reminded me of the time he thought that building a wall along the border with Mexico would involve simply walling off the town up near Rumford.
“Nobody told me Mexico was a whole friggin’ country south of the border with Texaco,” he observed candidly. Likewise, he told me he had temporarily confused the People’s Republic of North Korea with the small coastal town of Corea, Maine (population 14 and at least one sturdy-looking cat), located south of Gouldsboro and just a few miles east of Prospect Harbor.
As you and I know well, Corea is an inoffensive little place whose major claim to fame is that the modernist American painter Marsden Hartley, who was born in Lewiston Jan. 4, 1887, died in Corea Sept. 2, 1943. I admit it doesn’t sound like much of a life, but these were just the bookends. He actually went to Paris (the French one in France) and to the real Mexico, too. Not to mention Cincinnati.
I am sure none of Corea’s few sins justify the threat of nuclear annihilation, or even a very large bomb filled with presidential golf balls, and I told him so.
“I suppose if I were to pick a fight with the Danes, you’d tell me that Denmark is actually in Maine, too,” he continued in a more sarcastic tone.
“Well, actually, yes,” I said, starting to feel ever-so-slightly nervous.
Okay, what if we we invade Sweden?” he shot back angrily. “I hear those crazy Swedes just reintroduced conscription to add another 20,000 troops to their army. Obviously, they’re up to something no good.”
“Actually, Sweden is a Maine town west of Auburn” I said, feeling less happy every moment. “Not far from Norway, Maine.
“Okay, what else have you people got up there? I feel perhaps I ought to be told.” Lord President Trumpleton was starting to sound a little bit exasperated. “I mean, it sounds like you’ve got just about every place in the world up there, for pity’s sake. Why don’t you just clue me in now and get it over with, huh?”
So I took a deep breath and explained about Wales, Maine; Poland, Maine; China, Maine; Peru, Maine; Mexico, Maine, (he said he already knew about that one) and then, just in case, I mentioned all the Maine towns named after foreign towns and cities, too. I began to feel I was wearing out my welcome with my presidential pal. Maybe this was my Sean Spicer moment?
“So, I thought I had it figured that Korea was a little burg in Maine, so how come all those other places got by me?” he asked, sounding almost thoughtful.
“I dunno, Lord Prez. Maybe you just ought to ask more questions, now and then?”
“Screw you, now you’re starting to sound like Pence,” he shot back angrily. “He’s a real clever guy, so he tells me. Anyway, that’s how I got to play golf all last weekend. Figured I’d let the smart guys handle things for a while,” he said bitterly. “See how smart they really are.”
I told him this was probably a pretty good idea, and quickly hung up.
* * * * *
So much for life with the Lord Prez at the helm. We all trust and pray things will work out in the end, but meanwhile you might want to increase the proportion of praying to trusting you do each day. He’s not a bad guy, really.
Meanwhile, here in Rockland, I heard the first lawnmower on Sunday, possibly while the troops were maneuvering near the border of the real Korea and while the Prez was teeing off at the ninth hole. And last Wednesday evening I heard the first spring peepers of the season, merrily chirping (rather than tweeting) behind South School.
The embarrassing news that the state and city had failed to talk to each other about their hopes and dreams for South Main Street makes me wonder if there is not something utterly lacking in all levels of government administration at the moment. The city was planning to replace the sewers under the road, or something, but not before the state was planning to lay down a brand-new road surface there.
Neither part of government had actually asked the other what its plans night possibly be, so we nearly had a new road that would have had to be torn up immediately to put in new plumbing. It’s almost a cartoon version of government come to life before our astonished eyes.
Who exactly is in charge here? Why, if only Rockland had a city manager, he suggested sarcastically. Someone whose job is to look out for little details like this. What a help that would be!
The truth is, it seems that the City Council will be about as swift to find and hire a new manger as the Senate was to find another Supreme Court justice. Generations of Rockland kids could be born and graduated from whatever the high school is now called, before things get back to whatever is supposed to be normal.