That’s Life

I remember when a guy could keep up with the news.

Tony Bender


You could watch 30 minutes of Walter Cronkite and another half-hour local newscast, and you knew everything there was to know. If you wanted all the pesky details, you could read the newspaper or a magazine, but it was manageable.

Then came 24-hour news and sports channels, which forced people to make more news and sports. At first, conventional thinking suggested this information explosion would conclude once the 24 hours were filled. Wrong. They simply created more 24-hour news and sports channels, which explains why Hutterite Women’s Hockey has been getting coverage. I wish I was kidding. I cant seem toi wrap my mind around the concept of a Hutterite hockey goon in a polka dot skirt and no front teeth.

So many weird things are happening, I feel like I’m in a Tim Burton movie. Last week, the leading Democratic presidential candidate was barking on the stump. Maybe she needs to go out.

And while we’re on the subject of gratuitous barking, why does every other television commercial has a doorbell sound effect? Gus the Wonder Pug totally freaks out every time, running and barking a warning that we’re all going to die. The end may be near.

Or at least Hell might be icing up. Last week, Donald Trump argued with the Pope about the definition of Christian behavior. Curiously, the Republican front runner got support from ministers Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr., who said the Pope ought to butt out of politics. Alrighty, then.

I’m still trying to get a handle on evangelical politics. I’m not sure if they are basing their ethics on The Bible or “Atlas Shrugged”. Last year, many of them were angry when the Pope said it was our duty to feed, shelter and heal the poor, because you know, socialism. Now, they’re backing a candidate who wants to build a wall to keep out poor people, which I guess does sort of solve the problem. Like it says in 2 Corinthians, “Out of sight, out of mind.”

Far be it from me to suggest that Donald Trump is not the equal of the Pope when it comes to theology, but as I recall, biblical heroes were more inclined to tear down walls. Gabriel brought down the walls of Jericho with a trumpet. Like it says in 3 Corinthians, “He huffed and he puffed and he blew that wall down.”

In weirdness closer to home, the South Dakota legislature was busy last week creating solutions to curb an onslaught of rogue bathroom behaviour. If the governor signs this bill into law, it will require transgender students to use bathrooms that correspond to their gender at birth. You know, separate but equal facilities, because that’s always served us so well.

I don’t want to say South Dakota lawmakers are slow on the uptake, but “Rocky Horror Picture Show” came out in 1975, and they’re just now getting around to overreacting to it. Last session, they banned Hootanannys.

The impetus for this new law is the fear that the federal government (the Department of Bathrooms?) is going to shove a bunch of equality and fairness nonsense down the throats of the good people of South Dakota, who know nonsense when they elect it.

Next up is a law designating whether the toilet paper should roll off from the top or the bottom and whether one ply is enough in state buildings.

Meanwhile in North Dakota, Republicans, who threw around money like the Wolf of Wall Street, are trying to figure out a way to pin a billion dollar budget shortfall on Democrats. Finding Democrats to blame is getting exceedingly difficult in North Dakota as most seem to be either in the witness protection program or were the first ones taken in the Rapture. So it falls to the current budget masterminds to polish the cow pie.

Already, GOP apologists are telling us how good we’ve got it. The economy isn’t growing, but their noses sure are. After successfully steering into the iceberg, Captain Jack Dalrymple is abandoning ship, heading back to Casselton where all there is to worry about is exploding oil trains.

Fear not, said navigator Al Carlsen, the problem could be solved by finding “efficiencies” in state government. That might suggest to the politically astute, a species more endangered than North Dakota Democrats, that the Good Ole Boy Gummit has not been running all that efficiently as of late. If that is the case, I suggest bathroom legislation to distract the masses. And if I you work for state government, I hate to say it, but one ply is in your future.

© Tony Bender, 2016