I'm in the wrong universe. I suspect the one I want is over thataway just a few inches. It's the one in which I didn't have to disappoint several dozen women when my father tore down the treehouse.
It's also the one in which perceptive little kids in movies don't say, "I see dead people." Instead, they say, "I see a man who wants to be President even though he can't even make a puddle of gravy in the center of his mashed potatoes without it running over the sides." That's just a long version of the more succinct, "I see dumb people."
Such kids would be like those canaries in mines that keel over when they smell gas, which of course is what bloats all politicians. They could warn the rest of us before we voted, including me, since the last time I voted (and it will be the last time I ever vote, because I'm outgunned by the dumb) I cast mine for a guy who, not so long ago and in a galaxy not so far away, had a jug-eared ancestor known as Mortimer the Snerd.
And all because I was paralyzed as solid as a Popsicle, frozen with horror at the thought of the über-bore know as Al Gore being President. Ha! Like it would have made any difference. We might as well have voted my friend Greg into office. He's the one who claims he's King of the Wiener Dogs, and that's even before downing a few beers.
Ultimately, I'd rather live in a world in which everyone takes the physical form of what they are inside. Fat chance. It'd be doubleplusgood, though, since I'd look just like Curly from the Three Stooges.
It ain't fair. In cartoons and myths and fairy tales all the witches have droopy noses and big hairy moles and all the monsters have scales and big pointy teeth. They're easy to identity. All you have to do is swivel your eyeballs in their direction and engage maybe one-tenth of your brain. Heck, a cockroach is smart enough to run from a human; why don't humans run from the monsters who steal their money and start wars?
But dang it, it doesn't work the way it should in real life. Usually the monsters wear suits and ties and have big sunny (if insincere) smiles. It's hard to identify them, and even when you do, some people don't believe you. How many people still don't believe Bill Clinton is a serial rapist?
Things would be a lot easier in a world where if the sky darkens because something is in between people and the sun, they can look up (probably with mouths agape and an expression on their faces like a dog watching a yo-yo) and see Hillary flapping her wings as she flies off to her lair with a screaming Republican dangling from her beak.
On one hand, you could smile, because she is ridding the world of a bunch of fake conservatives (anybody, even a monster, what ets politicians gets the thumbs up from me). On the other hand, after they've slid down her gullet, she's going to go after all the kids in your village. And we all know it takes only one Hillarybeast to raze all the children in a village.
So, everyone could have a grand old time breaking out the pitchforks and spears and maces and flaming torches and storming the monster's lair to slay it. It'd be just like being in one of those Hobbit movies, only without the hairy toes. The downside is that the monster might eat a few of the villagers, which would be okay if they were the busybodies and telemarketers.
Most probably, though, some decent folk would get swallowed. Okay, scratch that idea, although in such a world people who are deluded that Hillary is a decent person would instantly grok what she really is after watching her go all Marv Albert gnawing on an opponent like a chicken wing.
I'd still rather deal with her husband, who, if he was on the outside what he is on the inside, would have goat legs, horns on his head, and a pan pipe to play.
Okay, let's try a safer, gentler alternate universe. How about one in which the people-monsters aren't Big 'n' Scary, but Lil' an' Amusing? I'd like to live in one in which any person who says, "I'm running for office" goes poof and shrinks to the size of a June bug. Then you could just squish 'em. Although, to be fair, I'd give them a chance to repent. If they'd didn't, then I'd squish 'em. Squish 'em good.
Life would be so much simpler and nicer in a universe I prefer (someday I'm going to write a novel and call it, The Nice Universe). All the Bad Guys would turn into tiny little monsters that could be stepped on. Although, to indulge my mean streak, I would put them in an empty aquarium at home and let the cats stare at them until their tiny little hearts (if they have hearts) burst from terror ("Whadja say there, little monster? One law for you and another for me? Do as you say and not as you do?"). Turnabout's fair play, right?
But life's not the way I want it. Instead, I have to use my second-favorite organ: my brain. I have to decide who the monsters are from what they say and what they do, not from how they look. Even if I may not like the cover, the words inside the book are the most important.
I have friends who look and act like squirrels, and others who don't know the '60s are over. Their covers are weird, but the insides of the books are full of all kinds of good (if goofy) stuff. For one thing, they don't want power over other people, unlike the monsters, who may look just fine on the outside, but on the inside are tombs full of bones and other rotten stuff...hmm...boy, that quote sure sounds familiar.
In my alternate universe the monsters can't lie about what they are, because it's obvious in their wrinkled hides and ugly snouts. In this universe the monsters not only can lie, they always lie. And like the obvious monsters in my other world, they want power over others. And murder and destruction. After all, isn't that the definition of a monster? Lies and power over others and murder and destruction?
I'll be darned; maybe identifying the monsters in this universe isn't as hard as I thought.
October 16, 2003
Bob Wallace [send him mail] is the author of I Write What I See. Please visit his Shameless Book Promotion Page. And here is his Page Full o' Fun.