The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by J.C. Nossiter
The Morning Mendacity
Wednesday, November 3rd, 2004
The Nossiter Net is cast  to snare some of  the riper rascalities of the day.  Comments?  editor@nossiter.net
“A thing of beauty” Ted exulted, embracing his creation with a muscular gesture.  Harold polished his spectacles and said nothing.

“Just look at it”, Ted continued.  “It’s practically all heart, right in the heartland. Even the color is -- hearty!”

Harold studied the object in question while Ted guffawed at his own joke.  Ted, who ran his own house painting business, had spent election night doing what came naturally.  He’d painted an entire wall in his den with a huge map of the fifty states.  Framed by thin fringes of watery blue on the coasts and across a sliver of the north, the vast center of the map, from Idaho to Florida, was a rich red, of a vividness that brought fresh raw meat to mind.  Harold, Ted’s accountant, who’d come to do the books, rubbed his bald pate and remained silent.

“See,” Ted burbled, too excited to take much notice of Harold’s lack of enthusiasm, “it’s like fate, ordained.  I mean, you got the heart of the country, right across the middle, the patriotic part of the country, and it’s red all right, red-blooded, just like the folk who live and vote there.  That’s where the real people live, the real honest people who do the work and support the nation and go to church and all.  I mean, what other color could you paint it?  Red, it’s gotta be red.  Right?”

Harold felt curiously disinclined for speech that morning, but a response seemed called for.

“Actually the coasts support the middle of the country” he said quietly.  “Most productive economic activity takes place in California and Washington and along the Northeastern seaboard.  The tax revenues collected there flow back to the center in the form of farm subsidies and roads and so forth.  Your red parts are utterly dependant on the blue bits for their prosperity.”

Ted didn’t appear to notice Harold’s remark, although his own ruddy color heightened a little.

“See,” he went on, his voice rising slightly, “the middle of the country, that’s where the decent folk live.  Raising families, working hard. They play by the rules.  Scripture, the good book.  See?  That’s what people go by in the heartland.  They don’t need much else.  Healthy, that’s what they are.  Hearty!”

Ted laughed at his joke for a second time, rubbing his ample belly.

“Unemployment is higher in the center of the country.  So is teen pregnancy” remarked Harold.  “Substance abuse and crime rates are rising faster there. Obesity rates are higher too” he said, peering over his spectacles at Ted’s paunch.

“Take this gay marriage thing.”  Ted shook his head.

“Divorce rates are higher in your red zone.  Did you know that?”

Ted glared at him.  “Ok, Mr. Know-it-all.  Think you’re pretty smart, don’t you?  Well, it’s like the President said:  the jury is still out on evolution.  Global warming isn’t proved.  We have to cut down trees to save the forests.  Scalia and Thomas are model Supreme Court justices.  We gotta have more tax cuts, less regulation.  The economy is turning the corner and freedom is on the march.  See?”

Harold felt an overwhelming need for a breath of fresh air, while there was any still left to breathe.

“I don’t think I can face your books today, Ted.  You go through them and call me if you have any questions.”

Ted was dumbfounded.  “But Harold, you know I can’t count” he said plaintively.  But Harold was already gone.

©J.C. Nossiter, 2004
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