Thursday, February 14, 2008

What? There Are No White Castles in St. Cloud?

Today we get classic NonMonkey, doing his classic NonMonkey thang, to wit:

1) Conservative ( this case Tim Pawlenty) politician makes policy statement;

2) NonMonkey goes to local low-rent dive restaurant to conduct man on the street interviews;

3) Finds convenient marks that contradict policy statement;

4) Asserts the dire circumstances of a handful of people to be a universal crisis;

5) Poops out a pun-filled column asserting such;

6) Goes home and sires another child.

There, I have neatly summed up today's fetid unpossesed-monkey tripe. However, little did he know that I too was out on the town talking to the salt of the earth folksy folk who represent reality. I wanted to find out if, like NonMonkey asserts, the average Joe Shmo has to suck lint out of discarded carpet remnants to get adequate nutrition and that we're all going to die because nobody has health insurance. Here is what I found when talking to 2 ordinary citizens, whom - I swear to God - I have never met before. Their names have been changed. Everything else is totally real.

Greatness was the message of the Governor's State of the State Address -- delivered to a small audience of invited big shots (and 75 empty seats). But fifty miles away, at the St. Paul Grill in St. Paul, greatness was not apparent to a cross-section of Twin City residents who were drinking martinis and who didn't get invited to hear the Tim Talk.

Let's call this report the State of the St. Paul Grill. It won't be as flowery as the State of the State, but it will have true grit. The State of the St. Paul Grill is reality-based

Listen to a 38-year-old traffic light programmer named Sy Siphus who earns over $50,000 a year, programming traffic lights. How's the state of your state, Sy? I asked.

"People are hurting," he said, taking a draw off his third dry Bombay Sapphire martini. "My blog partner and I are way behind on our blogging, we have way too much health insurance, and my stock portfolio only went up 2% last week. And I can't watch any f-ing Gophers hockey because I don't get the f-ing Big Ten Network. We are hardly making it."

Siphus' partner, Paul Hippie, is a health care exec.

Paul just got another $100,000 in backdated stock options, but a hike in his health-care premium meant his take-home pay is only a mere $1,000 more a month than before the backdating. Meanwhile, Paul is also a degenerate and singularly untalented gambler who has absorbed tens of thousands of dollars in losses betting on football games. "The gambling losses I can easily afford," says Hippie as he spreads some Russian caviar on a very expensive looking cracker. "What really frosts my hide is all the excess health insurance my company gets me. I mean, c'mon - I don't need substance abuse treatment insurance. Do I look like a crack whore to you?"

Sy snorts martini out his nose.

Just then, the waiter brought their food. After one slice through the meat, Sy dropped his knife and slammed his fist on the table.

"I specifically askeed for 25-day dry aged grass-fed kobe!" Sy bellowed, "This steak has only been dry aged for 22 days!"

Paul clucked his tongue sympathetically. "Sometimes I just think the world has gone to hell."

I looked out the window. Gazing across Rice Park, I could see scads of well-dressed people filing into the Ordway Theatre to see the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra perform a Chopin concerto. I sighed heavily. So did Sy.

"The Wild are sold out again," he lamented, "the Science Museum is too packed to enjoy. 'Spamalot' isn't coming to the Ordway until May..."

"We've got a lot of problems," Paul finished his thought.

Yes, sir. We do.

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