January 8, 2010

O-O-Obama Saved The World!

On occasion, I plan on adding to my diary 'profile sketches' of the folks I come across. I believe that people have more in common than they realize. Who knows... you might even recognize someone you know.

So without further ado, my first character sketch is one from way out in left field....the man called:

Ricky "Google"

Ricky "google" was certainly one strange individual. Which, if you know me, is saying quite a bit. He wasn't the hammered-and-jumping-off-the-roof-into-the-kiddie-pool strange I've known over the years. Ricky was more of an odd combination of personality quirks, desperate insecurity, and out of context politics. Regardless, I met this late middle-age character when he was sent as a carpenter to a large remodeling project I was also working on (for a famous athletic couple whose identity I am sworn to secrecy).


Bald and frumpy, with a heaping dose of that creepy 'child molester look', Ricky had been nicknamed "google". He earned his nickname by his very annoying habit of pulling out his I-phone (or whatever it was) and consulting Google on any topic, regardless of how trivial, that came within his earshot. Be it the weather or the price of tea in China, when his squinting eyes saw something he thought relevant, he would blurt out his discovery with satisfaction. Unfortunately (for us), not only was his information either dubious or irrelevant, he was usually interrupting a conversation not at all involving him.

Ricky "google" also had a moderate stutter which became worse the more excited he became. Not that there was anything wrong with his stutter - if he had anything exciting things to say - but his personal stories and anecdotes were exceedingly boring. The stutter then made what would have been a dull, but bearable, five minutes into a mind numbing fifteen.

Interestingly, Ricky was a self-proclaimed genius and took every chance he could to let his co-workers know it. You know the type...those people who can somehow segue from just about any subject into mentioning their extraordinary IQ. If that wasn't enough, he somehow found openings in any conversation to relate nuggets like how in college he could calculate the square roots of extremely complex numbers (a feat he somehow could no longer perform) . To me, it was very amusing to hear him wax poetic over his brilliance - while he simultaneously sat on the dirty floor of a construction site, eating his sloppy lunch. It was just the kind of irony in life I enjoy witnessing.

Up to this point, like everyone else, I just considered him annoying but harmless. We all patiently let him have his say when he stuttered and sputtered his way through a sentence. I gathered he wasn't a very happy person though and I even found myself feeling sorry for him for no real reason.

I often thought to myself, however, how odd that such a genius would be here - among us regular folks - pounding nails for a living and not off curing disease or unleashing his genius on Wall Street. But it turned out he had actually done the latter, "I played the stock market for years," he mentioned to me one day, probably sensing my growing suspicion. In fact, I came to learn that he even would have been rich if, "Bush had not collapsed the economy."


Such an absurd and sweeping statement instantly threw up red flags. Our frumpy genius, as it turned out, was a committed Liberal of the pathologically Bush-hating variety. He accepted the mainstream media's viewpoint as Gospel. And to say that he loved Obama - well... read on friends...

Now... disappointment in, and even disapproval of, George Bush is not uncommon in the rough and tumble world of the construction site. However, most folks are either annoyingly ambivalent or deeply cynical of politics. But an openly liberal Democrat - now that was a rare occurrence.

And with good reason too. Most guys on the job site fall into that segment of the working class who pay their taxes - but are unlikely to receive any kind of government entitlements. Many are small contractors and subcontractors who have to deal with bureaucracy in order to actually work for a living. With none of the same protection (or sympathy) afforded to the minimum wage crowd and stiffening regulations, it is hard to get ahead in even the good times.

The attitude is best summed up by the bumper sticker I have seen on several construction sites: "If only a building permit was as easy to get as welfare!" Which could be further qualified in the following way: "If only a building permit was as easy for us to get as welfare is for them." Rough and simplistic as these sentiments are, they contain a certain truth.

But cynicism or the grudging populist/conservative hybrid of the working man was not for Ricky "google". No, he knew where he stood. And alas, this made Ricky intriguing to me. So, I listened carefully when he spoke about his political views. I generally avoided conflict and really wanted to understand his devotion to Liberalism.

New Deal Soup line

Our first exchange occurred one warm October day when he said with personal pride, "Obama's stimulus plan is really working and without inflation!"

"Is that so?" I said with the bait proving irresistible. "Even his own people won't admit to that. There is nothing new in what he is doing. It was tried by FDR and failed. You can't print your way out of a recession without consequence."

"But th-things were different then," he said surprised by confrontation, "people l-lived different (sic). They lived more independent."

I assumed he was explaining the failure of the New Deal - with its social programs and the Government taking up the slack of private sector consumption- was a result of people being more independent in the 1930's. I was confused...

"So are you saying that Obama's version of the New Deal will work today, because people are more dependent on the Federal Government?"

"y-y-yes!" he said frustrated at my inability to catch on to his brilliant assertions.

"Rick, you are telling me that we should use the same medicine to cure a sickness - that didn't work the first time - because the patient is now addicted to the medicine?!"

"Wh-what does th-this have to do with health care?"

"Nothing, Rick. Nothing."

hopeiate of the mass

Thus, our first political engagement came to a close with both of us scratching our heads. I can only assume that he was operating on a much higher plane of thought than I could grasp. He was, after all, a genius.

But without a doubt, the hands-down, most astounding thing he told me were four simple words in October. Rick was annoyed at some critical remarks he had overheard me make about Obama and he turned to me, as if he could barely contain his anger and said, "O-O-Obama saved the world!"

I was stunned.

"Obama saved the world?" I asked in disbelief, "That is quite an accomplishment for an American president - for any nations leader - especially one who has been in office for such a short time." I was really beginning to think either I am unable to understand such genius or this guy is a few clowns short of a circus....

Yet, in an even more astounding declaration he said, "But the recession is o-o-over already!"

"Over?" I answered in astonishment. I desperately search his face for some sign that he was joking with me. I saw only determination.

"It was over y-y-yesterday," he replied while his face grew red, "The O-O-Obama stimulus plan w-worked. Didn't you know?"

Wow! Not even my most liberal of associates would say something like that. Here was a delirium on par with that lady, who on NBC, pronounced that Obama would pay her mortgage and gas as president!

In the least likely of places, I had come face to face with Obamania in all of its irrational glory. This, of course, is the condition where people lose all connection with reality when they think about Obama. And with Ricky “google” - a perfect storm of personality traits, events, and exposure to the Media collided to create the kind of liberal the Democrats have been building for years.

The intellectual superiority Ricky felt was a major factor in his condition. Liberalism is based on the premise that there are “those who know what is good for the rest”. So, the elitism of the Left fit well with him. What he didn’t understand was that he was being manipulated. Would it not be easier to keep the 'sheep' (whose vote was not already bought by hand-outs) on their side by telling them "they are smarter than the rest"? It makes sense how this aspect of Liberalism would appeal to someone like Ricky "google" who was unhappy, awkward, and yet so convinced of his intellectual superiority.

And even with all his internet searching and headlines, it seems impossible that he could evaluate information with any objectivity. How many of you know people who confuse being well-read (or well-watched) with being well-informed? It would seem his ego, passion for Obama, and devotion to Liberalism had become so inextricably intertwined that none could exist without the other. The success of Obama was Ricky's success - and the failure of Obama...well that just couldn't happen.

Shortly after our conversation, I thought I would ask him just one more thing: “Hey Rick, can you really expect to get reliable information from say, someone like Chris Matthews - who claimed that when Obama spoke he got a ‘thrill up his leg’?”

Ricky looked at me with complete confidence and replied, “Absolutely...because I feel the same way.”

There’s not much more I can say after hearing that, friends.

Stay tuned...