I got my semi-regular call from Elmer on Friday.
“It’s going to get crazier,” he said.
“It already is pretty crazy,” I told him.
“No, them tea partiers are going to go off the deep end I think,” he retorted. “You’re a liberal, you must be because you work for a paper. Didn’t you read your daily bible, The New Yawk Times?” he asked.
I told him I’m far from being a liberal and that, no, I don’t read the New “Yawk” Times unless I happen to come across an article I’m interested in on the internet.
“Well,” he said in a way that I knew I was about to get an earful, “They said to expect the tea partiers to get even more crazy in congress now that their shutdown didn’t work.”
I bit. “Why?” I asked.
“Each time their plans don’t work, they seem to think they weren’t crazy enough. They’re calling it the ‘Insufficient Craziness Theory’ and I think they’re right. Even Dan Popkey over at the Ideeho Statesman thinks so.”
Sitting at my computer, I browsed over to Dan Popkey’s online blog. “Elmer, Dan doesn’t necessarily say he agrees with it, he was just reporting it.”
He snapped back at me. “You know as well as I do if you report it then you believe it. That’s what all you juurneelist do.”
I disagreed, but rather than try to explain to him how journalism works, I paused and waited for him to fill the empty space on the phone. I didn’t have to wait long.
“So what do you think?” he asked.
“I’m not supposed to think,” I replied matter-of-factly. “I’m supposed to present the facts as fairly as I can. That’s what a journalist does.”
Now it was his turn to pause. I could feel his next comments welling up inside him about to explode like Mt. Saint Helens through the phone. Eventually, after 30 seconds, it blew.
“I’m going to bring my front loader down to your office,” he said. “Because you must be clean full to the ceiling with B.S. and you might need a good cleanout.”
I told him that wasn’t necessary but that I generally agreed with him on the Insufficient Craziness Theory.
“It seems to me that all the logical, reasonable options have been tried,” I told Elmer. “The only thing left is for the extreme right to go full crazy. You might keep that front loader warmed up once the next set of debt ceiling deadlines comes up in February.”
“You know I will,” he said.