Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Peanut M&Ms, President Obama, and the Heavy Hand of the Vast Vending-Machine Conspiracy

I put a dollar in the vending machine at the laundromat and pushed A6. The machine stirred, hummed and pushed my bag of peanut M&Ms out maybe three quarters of the way. There the bag, as if aware of what awaited, refused to drop. I raged impotently while in spite of my best efforts, the bag refused to budge.

Imagine my surprise when a calm yet commanding voice said "Allow me." Yes! It was Barack Obama. He struck the machine once, his fist carrying just the right combination of force and delicacy. The obstinate bag miraculously plummeted to the collection chute. Nearly reduced to tears, I offered the President a few of the candies. He smiled, and declined, pointing to a large sack of Snow City cinnamon rolls slung under his arm. Then he and his heavy security detail melted away, like a moose disappears in the undergrowth.

I stared after them, cursed myself for not taking a picture, hefted my laundry from the dryer, and headed out, marveling over my unexpected encounter with greatness.

I reached home, went in the kitchen and flipped on the radio. There was Senator Pete Kelly (R) Fairbanks, condemning the President's actions on my behalf as "The heavy hand of federal overreach in Alaska." The Senator gathered rhetorical momentum as he went, condemning me as a passive, neutered victim of the nanny state, and wondering who was going to retrieve my M&Ms for me when the federal government wasn't around.

Of course the story went viral, and before long John Boehner was condemning the President for "Literally assaulting the private sector" by swatting the vending machine, and Sarah Palin was mocking him for not shooting it open "Like a real Alaskan woulda." Naturally Donald Trump got into the act, along with the Fox network and the Koch brothers.

Now I've been outed as the wimpy Alaskan who accepted what Fox is calling a "Government handout" and an angry mob is surrounding our house, setting my dachshund to yapping.

I don't blame you Barack, you only did the decent thing, and now the vast right-wing conspiracy has twisted it somehow into something vile and un-American. As if there could be anything more in line with our values than punching a vending machine.

So I don't blame you Barack, but I have to ask you for a favor. In the name of God, send a black helicopter to bail me the hell outta' here. The crowd keeps closing, and my damn dog won't stop yapping.

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