Tuesday, September 13, 2005

The Unknown Louisianan


The President finally stood up and took responsibility for all the stuff his government didn’t do, and/or didn’t do right, during the Katrina smackdown. I’m going to have to guess how the questions from the Press would have gone after the speech, because they didn’t allow any:

“Mr President, I’m one of the 45 dead bodies they found in Memorial Medical Center yesterday. Do you take responsibility for me, too?”

“You look like hell, you know what I’m saying? Why didn’t you get a shower and a fresh change of clothes before coming over here?”

“Your people flew me straight over here from New Orleans, sir. There was no shower or change of clothes on the plane….”

“Well hell, what kind of plane was that? I got a real nice shower and loads o’ clothes on Air Force One. ….You shoulda flown Air Force One.”

“Are you trying to be funny, sir?”

“Maybe. Do YOU think I’m funny?”

“I’m not in much of a laughing mood since I died. I’m the wrong person to ask.”

“Well let me ask you something else.”

“Yes sir?”

“Did anybody photograph you? …Because the press is not supposed to take pictures of you dead folk. That would be disrespectful to you.”

“I don’t know. Since I died, I don’t hear or see so well any more. Maybe somebody snapped a picture and maybe somebody didn’t.”

“Well let me make this perfectly clear: We’re going to seek out anybody that snaps pictures of the Katrina dead and smoke ‘em out of their holes and bring ‘em back dead or alive. Snapping pictures of the dead is just plain un-American. Don’t you agree?”

“Beggin’ your pardon, Mr. President, but I think they OUGHT to snap pictures of me. I want the whole world to know what happened to me. I want them to know I would have lived if help had gotten to me fast enough but instead I’m dead and I look and smell godawful and the skin’s sloughing off me so I can’t even be identified and my brain’s so dead even I can’t remember who I am. But I do know I’d be alive today, and so would the other 45 bodies at Memorial Medical Center, if your government had moved into New Orleans in a timely fashion.”

“You’re forgetting who you’re talking to.”

“Sorry, but ever since my brain died along with the rest of me I’ve forgotten most everything.”

“Well I don’t mind reminding you that I am the President of the United States and this is the White House and you should show a little respect. Why were you hanging around that hospital during a hurricane in the first place? Are you dim?”

“I was sick. That’s why I was in the hospital. I was all hooked up to gizmos that were helping to keep me alive. It wasn’t so easy to unhook me and swoop me outta there.”

“How do you remember that? I thought you were brain dead.”

“I am. But I have occasional moments of lucidity. Anyhow, some of electric wires and IV tubes are still trailing out of my cadaver, so obviously I was hooked up to some stuff. Of course, once the power shut down in the hospital I was in a world of trouble.”

“So you were double dead. You were probably already dying in that hospital before Katrina hit, plus you probably died as soon as the power shut down, plus you didn’t have the sense to get the hell outta town while the getting was good. Now that I think about it, I’m not inclined to take responsibility for your death. Sounds to me like it was all your fault. No wonder I don’t want you photographed! Hell, the lefties would take a picture of you, looking all ugly like you do, and plaster it all over the newspapers and TV screens and pretend that your death is somehow MY fault. And that wouldn’t be right, would it?”

“I’m not sure, Mr. President. I’m not much of a debater ever since my brain, and the rest of me, died.”

“What color are you, anyway?”

“I’m grayish green.”

“I mean, before you died. Were you white, black, brown, red, or yellow?”

“I don’t know. Does it matter any more?”

“Well were you real old? Because if you were real old you weren’t that much of a loss, anyhow. Social Security is in a crisis, you know. So’s Medicare. We can’t afford the real old unless they’re already rich, like my mummy and pater.”

“I don’t know how old I was, Mr. President. I might have been old, I might have been young, I might have been middleaged.”

“I’m guessing you looked like hell even BEFORE you died. I don’t think even 10 days soaking in New Orleans heat and swamp water could make a pretty person as ugly as you look now.”

“Sorry, Mr. President. I didn’t realize the sight of me was so unsightly. No wonder it’s illegal to snap my picture.”

“No wonder, indeed.”

“May I ask just one last question, Mr. President?”

“Fire away, but this is absolutely the last. I’m late for my workout.”

“Would you build a Tomb to the Unknown New Orleanian in Arlington Cemetery? Because a lot of us corpses have rotted so bad that we can’t even be identified.”

“You’ve got your dental records, don’t you?”

“It seems a lot of us don’t. Maybe we couldn’t afford dentists or maybe the dentists’ records got soaked. Anyhow, we’re pretty anonymous.”

“Well maybe that’s a good thing, you ever think about that? Why would anyone want to know that a thing that looks and smells as bad as you was once a father, a mother, a son, a daughter, a loved one? You’re better off nameless. And I don’t think it’s such a good idea to give you a memorial in Arlington, either. We already have a Tomb of the Unknown Soldier there. Do you want to steal that poor man’s thunder?”

“No sir. Sorry, Mr. President. How about a Tomb of the Unknown Citizen somewhere down in New Orleans?”

“That’s just the kinda idea I’d expect to hear outta of a braindead brain. First of all, New Orleans is so soaked that all the graves are above ground. So we couldn’t even BURY you. How would THAT look? Bad, that’s how. Second, the tomb would probably get washed away the next time a hurricane hits, so why bother building it in the first place?”

“You got me there, Mr. President. I guess the old wheels”…..he taps his head… “got pretty rusty in the storm.”

“They were pretty rusty to begin with or you woulda got your rusty butt OUTTA there before Katrina hit!”

“Yes sir, Mr. President. And thanks again, Mr. President, for having the guts to take responsibility for all your government’s screwups.”

“Somebody has to, Mr. Unknown Louisianan. It’s in the job description.” The President turns to his flunkies. “ …Now would somebody PLEASE get this stiff outta here? He’s stinking up the joint. I don’t know if we’re EVER going to be able to get this smell out of the Press Room.” The flunkies try to clean up the cadaver.

“OK,” says the President, “NOW what’s the hold up?”

“He’s falling all to pieces, Mr. President. This’ll take a while!”

“Somebody get a hefty bag!” says the President. “Is THAT so hard to find? And a bucket, a mop, and some Lysol. For crissakes! Do I have to do EVERYthing around here?”