Another major American holiday came around last week.
While I was downtown that day walking in the historical district, there had been an event at an intersection, and I found myself walking behind Uncle Sam himself in his striped pants, starry vest, beard, and top hat as he was heading for his car. A foreign model. He looked every bit of his two hundred and forty-two years and weary in the heat.
I wanted to tell him, “Man, you’ve really got problems, don’t you? I know you’re in hock up to your bushy eyebrows, and I’d give you some money, but I’m afraid you’d only waste it on a thousand pork-barrel military programs and hundreds of dubious federal agencies. I understand how you became addicted to all that over the decades, though, and you have my sympathy. You might want to think about rehab or a twelve-step thing. You know, start over, lose a little excess weight, maybe even try to save a dollar here or there, harsh as that may sound to even attempt around Washington. And you can’t get your friends or anybody within your family to agree on anything these days, although I think everybody realizes that’s only making matters worse. You’ve been plagued by all kinds of natural disasters lately and that’s a shame. Just a damned shame. By the way, do you happen to have the FEMA number on you? I could use a free generator, and I understand they hand those out like party favors. Anyway, proud to have met you and thank you for your service and all that, and I hope you can manage to survive out here on the streets. I hope you don’t have any coke or Molly or meth or opioids or Mexican heroin on you, by the way; I know you’ve developed a powerful craving for that stuff. Maybe you won’t get shot, although your get-up could possibly attract the wrong kind of attention, I gotta tell you. There are people out here who’d love to steal that hat. Hey, why don’t you hang around for the fireworks later? Might cheer you up a bit, old fellow. That’s what the Fourth is all about, right? Well, that and getting buzzed and cooking out.”
But I didn’t tell him any of that because I think, down deep, he already knows it.
He just doesn’t seem to know anymore where to even start to fix it.