A Tale of Skippy
You know, I said to myself, I said, “I am not going to deal with this whole political thing anymore. Nope. I can’t. I have my own problems like depression, anxiety, disease of the week, parasites, laundry, etc. So I am just going to Let it Go. Yeah, staying out of it. I mean, sure, he’s an idiot, but you know – how much could he really do?”
I’m a snarky, sarcastic cynic who likes to brag about her dark soul, and yet somewhere, deep inside, there is this stupid thing called . . . optimism? There is. It’s there. My counselor told me about it. She said, “Alice, you are a cynic, but you still hope!” And she’s right. I do! Even though I absolutely know that people are awful, I, for some reason I’m still not sure of, continue to think people are basically decent humans. I just . . . assume this in spite of increasing evidence to the contrary. I’ll give you an example.
For roughly the length of the 2016 political race, I was working on an exhibit about the presidents of the university for which I work. Yes, more presidents. Most of them were okay. But we did have a Trump. His name was even the same as an insect. No one could get rid of him, though, because he had Congress and the Senate, er, the board of regents on his side. Even though just about every faculty member hated him, and voted to have him removed, he stayed. For SIX YEARS that luckily I was not at that university, he stayed. Yes, it’s true. I got to write about him, too, but because one member of that board of regents is still active politically around here and because it’s considered uncouth and embarrassing to admit that this guy effectively shut down academic freedom at our university, and heck, freedom of speech, I had to spin doctor this biography. I mentioned that he caused “controversy”, which made my boss cough out a snicker, but that hey, there were some things he did that didn’t destroy the fabric of education. Yeah. I felt kind of slimy after that.
But anyway, while working on this exhibit, I had the aid of a student worker. I’ll call him “Skippy” cause that’s what I actually did call him when he wasn’t there, and that was before I realized just what a little twerp he was. He just looked like a Skippy. Right, so we’d had plenty of student workers before, and I’d never had a problem with any that worked in library archives with me. In fact, I actually told one, jokingly but not, to please lower his standards cause he was making me look bad. This kid actually chose to go back to China instead of stay with us. So we got Skippy, and Skippy was different. He addressed my boss and me by “Mrs.” and last name. We told him just call us by first names. So I got to be “Miss Alice”. I felt like either a Sunday school teacher or a plantation owner.
That was just the beginning. He also didn’t know how to do anything himself and would constantly ask what to do next. Who does that? If I have nothing to do, I’m going to find something, and it’s going to be something that looks workish. But not this kid. So we gave him plenty to do. And it was so easy. I found pictures in old yearbooks, and sticky noted them, and handed them to him. Scan this. Easy. Did he scan them? No. Or he did, and somehow he did a horrible job of it. He did like to read the old newspapers, which rarely had much in them of use, but he tired me out so much it was like, yeah, you do that. But we did warn him, and my boss and I were very, very explicit in this – write on the back where you found the picture or article, the date, and what it is about. So he – did not. So we told him again, to please look these things back up and write them down. He did. He wrote useful things like “Dr. Polk giving a speech.” Well, thanks, Skippy, I knew that was Dr. Polk, and I know he’s giving a speech cause he’s standing at a podium. But what is the speech about? When was the speech? Where was the speech? Where is your source? Skippy didn’t know.
We told him to do it again. Meanwhile, I am working on biographies of the presidents that weren’t insects.
Skippy finally, finally labels the pictures and information he has collected. Hallelujah. Skippy then leaves, as it was a summer internship. We were so happy to see him go. I start putting his pictures in with the ones I collected. And everything is going well. And then I, for some reason, needed to check something in the yearbook. And I discovered that – and for some reason, this surprised me – Skippy made a bunch of crap up. His labels were WRONG. He guessed, and guessed badly, where these people were, when these things took place, etc etc etc. Wow. So, basically, I had to go backwards and dig up where all this research, some of which, remember, I handed right to him, came from. He actually made my job harder.
I don’t like Skippy much. If he shows up and says “Hi, Miss Alice,” I’m really not responsible for hurling a 1925 yearbook at his stupid little head.
But back to what I wrote out way up there, about our country’s insect, Donald Trump. I was going to stay out of politics, since I had my own troubles. Yet – I look up – and wow, that bad. Less than two weeks and – that bad. He is like Skippy, who at least has the excuse of being 20 years old. Trump, or Cheeto as I like to call him, screws up, he screws up massively, and then he lies about it. And we – are surprised. Because for some reason, that little bit of optimism just won’t die already.
He can’t even do awful stuff right either. Even if you think that the statue of Liberty with her give us your cold, weary, yearning to breathe free crap should be melted down for scrap for the pipeline those Native Americans totally need, you don’t just issue an executive order effective immediately. At least have some organization to your bigotry. Instead, he messes stuff up on a global scale. People are stranded at airports. American citizens are detained, including a five-year-old who is handcuffed. And his people defend him. And I – am amazed. Twenty executive orders in ten days. This from the party who complained that Obama had too many, even though Bush had already surpassed him.
I actually want George W. Bush back. We’ve gone that far. Already.
So people are protesting. But don’t worry, cause Republicans across the country are working at getting that whole pesky protesting stuff shut down too by writing new laws into the books! Cause freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of decency, yeah, none of those are needed. Yet people voted for this guy. They voted for him. Or they just stayed home and did nothing, effectively still voting for him. Just – just thank God we don’t have to worry about Hillary’s emails. Skippy supporters, you did the right thing!
I’m lying. No you didn’t. My sixteen-year-old shouted at the television “You are the president! Presidents don’t call people “dude”! Is he ten?” I think that’s too mature. Let’s not forget he also mentioned “bad dudes” in a tweet. A presidential tweet. This is really happening.
I guess all this idiocy did one thing. It brought me out of cave of self indulgent misery, into the world of misery. Yay. But good news, because I found some great Cheeto merchandise we can all use. Like a voodoo doll. I might even create a contest for people to WIN one. If I can think of one. Thing Two suggested political Haiku. Thing One said “No, those will be awful.” Which is sort of the point, but maybe we’ll think of something.
Got any ideas? Let me know in the comment section. It’s down there. If you skipped reading this post, just make up a response. I will probably believe it. Darn that optimism.