I called Junior E. Lee, general manager of the Yarbrough Worldwide Media and Pest Control Company in greater Garfield to see what kind of reactions he was getting from the public to the recent shutdown of the federal government.
In addition to being a certified pest-control professional, Junior is responsible for managing our company’s highly respected Round or Square Polls. Our motto: “Give us your dough, and we will cook the numbers.” You may recall we were first to predict that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich would lose the Republican nomination for president in the 2012 elections because he wouldn’t use his middle name — Leroy. Most Southerners showed a clear preference for a presidential candidate named Leroy, as opposed to somebody named Newt, which sounds like an aquatic amphibian of the family Salamandridae.
Junior said our latest poll revealed that most Americans thought the government worked a lot better when it wasn’t working at all. In his own case, he said it was nice to spray at Arvell Ridley’s place and not have the Environmental Protection Agency require him to warn nematodes that spraying could be hazardous to their health, or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission making him post notices in Ridley’s barn in case horseflies felt the barn constituted a hostile work environment.
And, of course, the Civil Rights Division was monitoring him to ensure he didn’t refer to pulmonate land gastropods as slugs. That is deemed an offensive term to gastropods and likely would get Al Sharpton all worked up, along with that liberal weenie from MSNBC that Zell Miller threatened to beat up.
Getting back to the poll, I asked Junior how the reputation of members of Congress fared in the shutdown. He said the good news was that Americans didn’t rate them any lower after the shutdown than before. The bad news is that they weren’t rated all that highly to begin with. He says our regard for Congress generally fluctuates somewhere between warm beer and dirty diapers.
President Obama didn’t do any better. Round or Square Polls showed that many Americans think he is an empty suit who is in over his head and possessing the inspirational leadership of a kumquat. Junior’s in-depth analysis of the polling data indicated that those who believe the president is doing a good job admit to smoking rope on a regular basis. You have to hand it to Junior E. Lee: He goes behind the numbers with the same thoroughness he exhibits in spraying for ticks.
Junior said to look for members of Congress to come home and talk about how the government shutdown was somebody else’s fault — not theirs — and that we need to re-elect them so they can clean up the mess in Washington, despite the fact they are the ones who made the mess in the first place. Junior said we ought to have more sense than to believe them, but since we were the ones who sent them to Washington in the first place, that probably is too much to expect. Junior says voters can be dumber than a looper moth.
I asked Junior what the polls indicate about Obamacare. He said Democrats think it is wonderful. Republicans think it stinks worse than week-old malathion — Junior and his pest control analogies again — but that it is all immaterial because whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, by the time you find somebody at healthcare.gov to talk to you, you either will be dead or too old to remember why you called in the first place. It is, he said, another example of how government doesn’t work even when it is working.
Junior said he had to get back to his pest-control responsibilities. Before I called, he had just finished a routine inspection at the Poover’s home place just off state Route 23 and had discovered fire ants in Aunt Mattie Poover’s drawers. I told him there were some things about the pest-control business I didn’t need to know, and what goes on in Aunt Mattie’s drawers was one of them. I suggested he go help Aunt Mattie and, besides, I felt you had all the information you needed to gauge the shutdown’s impact.
There isn’t much I can add to Junior’s astute observations on the train wreck that is our federal government. One can only wonder if things might have been different had a guy named Leroy been elected president.
Email Yarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or write him at P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, GA 31139.