Professor Vermont Jones banged on the remote. “It won’t turn on, Stanley.”
Dr. Morgan Stanley gritted his teeth. “Try pushing the red button.” Jones stared at the remote blankly. “Use the other side of the remote.”
Jones flipped it over. “Right you are!” Instantly the projector whirred and the screen filled with the image of a slide labeled, “BDCS — an information Session” He looked up pleased with himself, before turning to address his audience. “Welcome ladies and gentlemen to today’s disease of the week. Today I have a video presentation covering a newly discovered syndrome called BDCS or Brain Dead Conservative Syndrome.” Jones looked at the laser pointer and started pushing buttons. A red light shot out and struck Stanley between the eyes.
“JONES! You’re going to blind me!” Jones looked up perplexed but swiftly redirected the pointer to the screen, but not before nearly blinding the front row of his audience.
“Ahem,” Jones continued, “This syndrome first appeared in 2008 during the Presidential election, and has pronounced symptoms and sadly, no known cure – not even a full frontal lobotomy will cure it. The following video will illustrate the symptoms of the disease.”
Jones pushed a button on the remote and a video segment began of a neatly dressed woman sitting in a restaurant. A waiter approaches the table.
“Ma’am,” the waiter began, “Can I help you?”
The woman looks up. Jones pauses the video. The screen image freezes on the woman’s face. “Notice the cross-eyes; this is caused by only being able to see extremes, and nothing in the middle.” The video plays again.
“Are you talking to me?” the woman replies. “Because I don’t like your tone.”
The waiter pauses. He glances about, and then shrugs his shoulders. “Would you like to hear the specials?”
“Are you trying to limit my options? Did the government tell you to say this?” The video pauses again.
“Note the victim’s intense paranoia and overly sensitive nature. This makes simple conversation almost impossible.” The video advances.
The waiter clears his throat. “Our special today is spaghetti with …”
“Are you saying my spine is like linguine?”
“No ma’am that is just the special.”
“Okay, I’ll have the fish. Does it come from the Sea of Galilee and was it prepared by a rabbi?”
The waiter stared at her a moment. “Um, no, it came from the Atlantic, and Jose, our cook, prepares it.”
The woman glares at the waiter. “Jose? I see. He must be a Canadian illegal. Can I see his green card?”
The waiter begins tapping his pencil on his order pad. “Jose is from New Jersey. He was born here.”
“I need to see his birth certificate.”
“I see.” The waiter shook his head. “That is not going to happen.”
The lady waggled a finger at the waiter, “The Constitution says I have that right.”
“You’ll have to show me that passage then,” the waiter continued.
The woman paused. “It must be in the Bible then.”
“Somehow I doubt that. Do you still want the fish?” The video pauses again.
“Notice how the syndrome twists the logic process to assert beliefs contrary to facts, and the reliance on the Bible when the victim’s logic trail becomes unsustainable.” The video begins again.
“Yes,” the woman replies, “but I see the price is ten dollars, I only want to pay six.”
“I can give you a half order if you like.”
“No, I expect a full order for just six dollars.”
The waiter snapped his notepad closed. “I’m sorry, but that can’t happen. Would you like to speak with the manager?”
“Yes, I would, and in particular I want to know his plans to redistributing my wealth to the other customers.”
“Oooookay,” the waiter replied. He turned and walked back to the kitchen. After a few moments he returned with the manager.
“Ma’am, what is the problem?”
“Socialism and high taxes,” the woman replied.
“I don’t see how this is relevant to you completing your order. Can you please …”
“I SAID SOCIALISM AND HIGH TAXES!” the woman shouted.
The manager jerked back, “I see no need to start …”
“THIS IS A SOCIALIST PLOT TO TAKE MY MONEY!”
“I’m sorry, but I need to ask to you leave,” the manager replied. She looked at waiter and gave him a thumbs-out signal. The waiter pulled the woman’s chair away from the table.
“LOOK! ABUSE! I AM BEING DENIED MY RIGHTS! THE BLACK HELICOPTERS ARE COMING FROM THE UN; MY NAME IS BEING ADDED TO THE DEATH PANELS!” After much scuffling the woman, dragged by the waiter, disappears into the background. The video stops.
“As you can see, attempts to converse with individuals suffering from this disease usually ends up in shouting matches,” Jones said. “Any questions?” A hand slowly rose. “Yes?”
“What can be done to fix this problem?”
“I think the only solution is to ask the government to study the issue, and in four to five years produce a position paper on how best to legislate such thoughts and ideas out of existence.”
“Given the current monetary situation in the US, how do propose to pay for this?”
“Clearly, if the money is not available, Congress should impose a tax. I would call this a freedom tax to free us from people who believe differently from the accepted norm.”
Silence filled the hall as another hand rose up. “Um, how did you come to study this syndrome?”
“Well,” Jones replied, pushing his glasses up on his nose. “After our less than successful work on repealing the laws of gravity, we set our sites on a more contemporary target, and applied for a research grant to pursue it. We need to protect the general public from people who believe that the government is the enemy, because clearly, the government is not the enemy – only the thoughts and opinions of those that can’t be controlled are.”
Stanley stood up. “Yes, and if we are successful, our next step is to revisit our patent on lying. We had hoped that would have enhance our revenue stream but we ran into an intractable problem.”
“No one believed us. That said, however, we should have better success with the patent infringement lawsuit against Fox News.” Stanley turned to Jones. “Would that be fair to say?”
“Yes,” Jone replied, “and balanced too.”
“Well everyone, time for evaluations. See the feedback forms on the tables in front of you. Please rate this session from one to seven, with one being excellent, and seven being poor.”
A flurry of paper shuffling and pencil scraping broke out. Jones checked his watch. “Sorry folks, we are out of time. Please line up at the exits, anyone submitting a session feedback rating of more than three will need to go through the door marked Soylet Green. Thank you for attending the information session.”