It was the summer of 1989. Nelson Mandela had just died, George H. W. Bush's historic appeal to Mikhail Gorbachev (who's wine colored birthmark looked
amazingly like New Zealand off the west coast of Australia) to 'tear down that fence' was fresh in everyone's minds and we were all Fighting the
with Vanilla Ice and the rest of the boys from Public Enemy.
The world was still a somewhat simpler place. Donald Trump was busy ruling over his Taco Bell/Chipotle empire instead of trying to claw his way into a
second term as President versus a tough adversary in Debbie Wasserman Schultz who's brilliant campaign strategy was to capitalize on her Native
American heritage and pledge to turn the United States 'into one big reservation with cheap ciggies and gambling for everyone!'. We were still a few
years off from the O.J. trial and his subsequent journey into California's gas chamber as punishment for the heinous murder of Joan Benet Ramsey.
Iraq, and their world-respected leader Saddam Hussein, had yet to stave off a surprise invasion by the Saudis. Called the 'Step Mother of All Battles'
it was only the assistance of the United States a month later which enabled him to press the attack on the invaders and flip the tables. Riyadh fell
in two weeks and the chants of 'we only went there for the sand!' were still years off. But I digress.
I recall that spectacular summer in vivid detail as I prepared for high school, where you really could get high since marijuana was legal for over 10
years at that point. The days were pleasant and mild and would be one of the few good summers left before Global Cooling really kicked in and Canada
froze solid. We took in many refugees when that happened, they were hard to understand ('aboot?') but very polite and thrilled we did not have
mosquitos the size of 747's. I was enjoying reruns of one of my favorite shows, Cheers
, and laughing at the crazy patrons at a bar where
'everybody knows where your child is because it's 10 o'clock'.
I would spend lazy afternoons with my friends Jimmy and Andy riding bikes, chasing girls (it was still legal to chase and tackle them) and playing our
Nintendo Game Guys, our favorite game being Super Mario Brothers where they get to shoot Harambe Kong. It was one of those afternoons, biking a local
path, when the three of us, out doing what boys do when they are not horse collar-tackling girls or shooting viscious, infant-mauling gorillas, when
we pedaled up to Doug, a boy a year older to us and already in high school.
"Hey, you three Clintons!", he called, using a popular insult at the time as President Bush's opponent, Hillary Clinton, had the 'cigar incident' when
one forgotten stogie embarrassingly fell out on stage in the middle of a debate, "Come over here".
"What's up, Picard?", I retorted using an even more vile insult because nobody liked that big sissy-lala since he did not ever fire his phasers or get
it on with sexy green alien chicks in Star Trek the Next Iteration
. Although people, particularly the ladies, came to like him a bit more when
he starred as Professor X-Rated in the Se-X Men
"Did you guys see the new movie Weekend at Bernie's
?" he inquired referring to the over the top political comedy where this guy from Vermont
invites people over to his house for fun weekend getaways but instead takes all their stuff and gives it to his neighbors using the catch phrase, 'Did
you feel the Bern?'. That one would almost rival 'Where's the Beef Wellington?' in getting ingrained into the social consciousness that summer.
"It was funny", I chimed in, "I liked how all the guests thought he was gonna give them stuff but he spiked the Tom and Jerry's ice cream and robbed
'em blind. Bunch of Clintons."
"Yeah," Doug replied chuckling, "that was great".
"My dad doesn't let me watch movies about Commies," opined Andy, the de facto dweeb of our group.
"He ain't no Commie, you dingus, he's a revolutionary!", cried Doug, gripping the handle bars of his bike tightly and glowering at Andy.
"You're talkin' about him like he's real or something," chided Jimmy.
"Yeah, you're right, maybe in some alternate universe or something." he lamented, "But some of the things he talked about in the movie could happen, I
bet one day all the banks will go broke and everyone's gonna have to give 'em money to stay in business."
"Okay, right," mocked Jimmy, his scorn obvious, "maybe General Motors 'ill go broke too."
"No way, man. No way." I added, "That'll never happen because in the movie the banks failed because the housing market collapsed and for that to
happen the Federal Reserve would have to lower rates dramatically while banks began comingling funds from investment and commercial accounts and
loaning that money out in subprime credit default swap tranches which would then become toxic securities in the event of a housing market glut but
that ain't gonna happen because you would have to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act first and which bunch of Picards is dumb enough to do that?"
"Yeah." nodded Jimmy and Doug while Andy dug around for a booger.
Lest you think this was conversation far outside the scope of your average about-to-be-in-high-school teenager I would be remiss if I did not mention
that the United States at that time was near the tops in the world for education due to the No Child's Behind Left Unburned program instituted under
Reagan. Corporal punishment was a great motivator, no one liked a Zippo to the ass cheek.
Doug, focusing his gaze on some distant but non-existent object got a determined look in his eyes and said, while nodding his head in agreement with
himself, "Okay. Okay. But let's say that some group of ying-yangs do
end up ditching this law, where does that leave everyone?"
"Screwed," Jimmy blurted, his head popping up from where he was contemplating his new Nike Air Abdul-Jabbar's.
"Right," I replied, "You're retirement account would be shot while your home value would take a decade or more to recover. And the taxpayer would be
footing the bill for those idiots who did it."
"Just like a bunch of Commies!" exclaimed Andy in a moment of lucidity.
Cries of 'shut up' and 'idiot' simultaneously flew form Doug and Jimmy's lips.
"He's kinda got a point guys. Maybe not communism but it's wealth redistribution on a huge scale. You're taking money from people who had no
implications in the scam and giving it the ones who created the whole issue. Hell, we'll probably end up seeing the Fonz hocking reverse mortgages if
"Oh, come on, dude, that's silly," said Jimmy with a touch of disgust, "then he'd be jumping the alligator twice!" and we all laughed at the reference
from that great show of our youth, Happy Gays
, about the exploits of a bunch of high school kids working after class in a gakery.
"Yeah, you gotta better chance of seeing a black President before Henry Winkler starts trying to scam old people out of their homes." Doug added in a
most succinct and declarative matter, the implication making his statement not open for debate.
"I hope it's Bill Cosby! He's nice." stated Andy to who we all gave a cross look.
"I thought I saw Bill Cosby with your mother!" taunted Jimmy and we all howled at that one but none of us knew how true this would turn out to be one
day. Which in retrospect would make it even funnier.
edit on 5-9-2016 by AugustusMasonicus because: Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn