Past Imperfect

Past Imperfect – #91

The college professor clicked a button and the photo appeared on the screen behind him. He addressed the class before him. “Today, we will learn about the variability of perception. How surfaces can inadvertently lie, which can then lead to lies maliciously surfacing. Tell me your first impressions. No editing. Go.”

Donnie Trump, wearing a letter jacket that he didn’t actually earn and plunked in the first row because that’s where he always assumed he belonged: “Is that two guys, with one guy sitting on the other guy’s lap? That’s not right.”

Luna, sitting beside him, most likely due to limited seating-availability and not any birds-of-a-feather alignment, brushing away an annoying lock of vibrant red hair, bracelets jangling: “So what if it is two guys? Doesn’t bother me. Still, all I see is two good friends having a very intimate moment, sharing their thoughts.”

Darcie, continuously-selected cheerleader since junior high, Facebook page full of cute puppies available for adoption although she had never adopted any of them or been anywhere near an animal shelter: “They’re also sharing cigarettes, which is stupid. Smoking kills and they obviously don’t care about their health.”

Dianne, a few rows back and raspy-voiced: “Do you really want to get into a discussion about addiction? Because I will, but I’ll just politely say that it won’t be an equal fight. Judging by the lack of pores in your store-bought complexion, you’ve never had a bad day in your life.”

Professor: “Let’s not turn this into one of those horrid family reunions at Christmas. Focus on the photo.”

Brian, doing an Alfred Hitchcock: “I get the impression that one of the two has done something they shouldn’t have. Then again, I was raised in Oklahoma where guilt is a cornerstone of society.”

Belinda, backstory unknown because she had just transferred into the class and still had that aura of mystery to the other students: “Interesting that you should mention society. Maybe this photo has something to do with social breakdowns and a descent into savagery at an elite prep school, a sort of ‘Lord of the Flies’ except everybody has lots of money and personal servants. I’m a little confused by the rolled-up sleeves, though, as they imply physical labor of some kind, and we all know that most people with money these days didn’t actually do anything to get it.”

The rest of the class quietly reaches the conclusion that they don’t care for the new student, with her uppity way of appearing intelligent and making literary references. Sort of like “Lord of the Flies” but on a college campus.

Gregor, foreign exchange student: “In my home country, we never have enough chairs for all to sit. Perhaps is the case here, yes?”

Donnie: “Sounds like we should build a wall.”

Sarah Huckabee Sanders, surprising everyone by apparently pursuing an education: “Well, I agree with Donnie. We shouldn’t have to sit here and put up with pansies playing squat tag and foreigners trying to steal our furniture. I’m outraged!”

Professor: “Interesting. I’m outraged as well. To the point, Sarah, that you need to leave this classroom and plan on not coming back.”

Sarah, reading from her teleprompter: “You can’t do that! I have freedom of speech! This is fake news!”

Professor: “Of course you have freedom of speech. But what you fail to understand about the First Amendment, just like many people who cherry-pick the Constitution, is that freedom of speech only protects you from retribution by the government. It does not protect you from employers, the media, prosecution in civil courts, diversity agreements that you apparently signed without reading before attending this college, or any decent person who wants to call you out for being a blithering fool.”

Sarah: “Donnie! I’m saying exactly what you told me to say. Help me out here!”

Donnie, finishing up his latest tweet before responding: “Disposable Underling, I’ll get back to you after I review the latest polls and figure out what crap I need to say to keep my core-base of sheep in line. Say hi to all the other people who were forced out of my administration because I have the loyalty of a gnat. I’d tell you their names but they weren’t here long enough for me to learn them.”

Sarah: “This is discrimination, Professor and Mary Ann! Donnie is saying the same things as me and you aren’t making him leave.”

Professor: “At this point, the only thing that can remove Donnie is Congress. You, however, are not an elected official, which makes your loyalty to the gnat even more baffling. Good day.”

Sarah made a huffing noise, threw her notepad into her Ivanka Trump backpack, marched out the door, left the building, and promptly joined Sean Spicer hiding in the bushes.

Professor: “Okay, folks. Judging by my watch, which I no longer really trust because the best and brightest in our nation can’t even figure out how to secure the Internet, let me wrap things up. The photo is a shot of Klaus and Erika Mann, son and daughter of Thomas Mann, a prolific German writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1929. As a side note, Thomas wrote “Death in Venice”, an intriguing piece that, most likely but vaguely, did involve one man sitting on another man’s lap. Look it up, people. Broaden your horizons, even if you live in Kansas.”

In any case, Thomas Mann and his family eventually emigrated to the United States in 1939 to avoid persecution by the Nazis, which he vehemently opposed. He then spent considerable time railing against the fascism of Adolph Hitler and his yes-sir legion of Sarah Huckabees, Cabinet officials, governors of firmly-red States, and all the Vladimir Putins that Adolph slept with but pretended to not recognize the next morning.”

Luna: “So, basically, what you’re suggesting is ‘Lord of the Flies’, but set in modern-day Washington, D.C.”

Professor: “I won’t discourage that analogy. But the whole purpose of today’s lesson is to point out that so many of us, including me, try to force our own values into the images that we see, instead of letting those images make us yearn to learn. There is always more going on than we realize, and basic decency requires that we should never assume we know the beginning or end of someone else’s story.”




Previously published in “Crusty Pie” and “Bonnywood Manor”. Slight changes for this post. I pulled this one out of the archives for two reasons. One, I like the overall message of compassion and empathy. Two, the bit about Trump and his sycophantic lapdogs is even more timely considering the Republicans in the U.S. Senate will most likely ignore their Constitutional and patriotic duties and refuse to impeach Trump for his blatant and proven crimes. It’s a damn shame, and this pathetic game they’re playing is a slap in the face to anyone who truly believes in the ideals of decency and justice…


14 replies »

  1. I feel that Belinda is hiding more than we know, like chest-strapped Judy Garland, in The Wizard of Oz. Let those Double-Ds free. Guys don’t love you for your intellect, especially Donnie, who is jealous and suspicious of anyone whose IQ rises into the high 80s, and surpasses his. 😯

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well, now. It appears that someone has done some extensive research in the Art of Strapping, but we’ll let that slide for now and focus on this: I think you are being far too kind with the estimated value of Donnie’s IQ… 😉


  2. “so many of us, including me, try to force our own values into the images that we see, instead of letting those images make us yearn to learn. There is always more going on than we realize, and basic decency requires that we should never assume we know the beginning or end of someone else’s story.”

    Yes, Yes and YES!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Funny and entertaining, Brian. But so full of wisdom.
    I am a fan of your disparaging of Donnie, Sarah, and the other disposable underlings. And my favorite line:
    “I was raised in Oklahoma where guilt is a cornerstone of society.” Lol

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hmm. Erika looks like an interesting gal, especially for the time period. Though I suppose this could just be the siblings clowning around, that haircut is the real deal, whichever one she (they?) is.
    I agree, impeachment is unlikely. My hope is that there will be enough voters disgusted that we’ll see a change in both presidency AND Senate. (Hey, a girl can dream!)

    Liked by 1 person

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