Recently, in a big box store parking lot in the Capital City, I ran into an acquaintance I had met in my travels around this Republic of ours. It was Clem Foghorn. The newspaper said he had been elected to the Legislature.

Since it was what I would call a fine day in the Republic, I was taken aback to find Clem in a foul mood and anxious to bend my ear.

“Why, hello Clem,” I said. “How are things going for you in big, beautiful Wyoming?

“Boy, I say boy, I want you to refer to me as Senator Foghorn from now on.”

“What? Why do …?”

“Pay attention, boy. I’m in a foul mood and I’m a-lookin’ for bear.”

“But, senator...”

“Senator, nothin’, boy. I’m fit to be tie-dyed.”

“What’s the problem?”

“Problem? I’ll tell ya what’s the problem. Why, open yer lids, boy. Haven’t you noticed all these gol-blamed liberals runnin’ around? It’s a real pity.

“I’m tellin’ ya, there ain’t no difference between a liberal, a hippie, a socialist and a commie. In fact, tomorrow I’m gonna introduce a bill to amend the dictionary. We’re gonna straighten that one out.”

“But senator, the communists are no longer …”

“Don’t give me that hogwash, boy. You’re beginnin’ to sound like one of them radicals. Why just the other day at the Warehouse, er, I mean, Statehouse, one of ‘em accused me of obstructin’ progress. I’m mad as hell and I ain’t gonna take it no more.”

“What?”

“Listen, boy, where have you been? Now don’t tell me you can’t see we’re becomin’ slaves to a welfare state. It’s true, and dern fools have no idea what it will do to the democracy.

“Why, only yesterday some pinko stood up and lambasted my bill to establish debtor prisons. Say, listen boy, prisons bring in jobs. And besides, I’m gonna save ‘em some money by havin’ the prisoners build their own walls.

“Why, son, I tell ya I’m fit to be tied, flabbergasted and otherwise flummoxed. Now when I go back to the Warehouse, uh Statehouse, sure as shootin’ coyotes things are gonna change.”

“How so, senator?”

“You can call me ‘Mr. Senator,’ boy. What I’m proposin’ is a whole new constitution.”

“Really?”

“Yep.”

“What are you going to change, Mr. Senator?”

“First of all, I’m gonna introduce an amendment that’ll make liberalism a felony. In my dictionary – and don’t forget, boy, I went to school; I’m not as dumb as I look – ‘liberal’ is a swear word. I don’t use that word in polite talk.”

“But, senator...”

“Boy, I done told you, it’s ‘Mr. Senator.’ Now, don’t try to change my mind. Hey, it sounds like you’re gettin’ kinda squishy on me.”

“But I …”

“No buts about it. What’s more, I’m tired of ornery taxes. Why, can you believe the other day someone raised up a sign at the back of the Warehouse, I mean Statehouse, and do you know what it said?”

“No, I couldn’t begin to guess.”

“I’ll tell ya what it said, boy. It said – right there in big black letters – ‘I like paying taxes. With them I get civilization.’ Now, what kinda tripe is that? Why, I never.

“Listen, boy, in my day we didn’t need no taxes like some a these people seem to think. We got up before sunrise, fed the cattle, horses, hogs, chickens, cats and dawgs, opened up the irrigation ditches and then cut hay while the sun shined.

“We never asked for a handout. We ate what we shot, including rattlesnakes and rustlers. We never went to town but once a month. Every one of us Leghorns pulled himself up by his own shank spurs.

“Say, listen here, boy. We got ours the hard way. If more folks lived on ranches, they could live just like we did. Now, that’s what I call Americanism.

“And what’s more I’m supportin’ a bill that keeps people from health-care freebies. Listen, son, in my day we just patched up folks with balin’ wire and bag balm and told ‘em to get on with their chores.”

“But how …”

“Keep quiet, son. I ain’t finished. I’m tired of all these cockeyed opinions from judges what ain’t elected. If we’d a-needed appointed judges, God would’ve appointed ‘em in the first place. These here judges today don’t know the difference between manure and a manicure. Say, son, I’m beginnin’ to wonder if you’re even a Christian.

“And what’s all this stuff I hear about Mary G. Wanna? Boy, did you ever see that movie ‘Reefer Madness’? I thought not. Whoooeee! Just look at the eyes on them lunatics! Why, it would drive the pope to drink.

“I think anyone caught with that evil, stinkin’ weed oughta be deported so they can live with all them Greenies to the south.”

“But wouldn’t that mean …”

“Forget about what it means, boy. Hear me out. I’m also thinkin’ about introducin’ ‘open carry’ for school kids.”

“What?”

“That’s right. Hey, I saw a right nice bumper sticker. Man, did it ring a bell. It said: ‘When guns are outlawed in schools, only bullies will have guns.’ I honked and he honked back and gave me a number one sign. Now listen, boy, bullying is a fact. And then I’m …”

At this point in the conversation, my left ear was hurting. So I politely excused myself on the flimsy grounds that I had some work to do.

Still, I’m taking the senator seriously. I’m thinking about buying a ranch. Problem is, the bank is asking for something called collateral. First thing I’m gonna do when I get home is look that up in the dictionary.

Mark Junge is a Cheyenne resident. Email: markjunge1943@gmail.com.

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