September 2008 Column Winner

TRIPE presents treatment for CRAP


By Wayne Trotter, Countywide & Sun (Tecumseh)

Do you wake up in the morning hearing voices that sound eerily like they're coming straight from Chris Matthews or Rush Limbaugh? Are you a Republican who keeps seeing Barack Obama in your dreams or a Democrat who's beginning to believe the woman driving that flashy car on the other side of the four-way stop is actually Sarah Palin? Have you made the Gallup or Rasmussen tracking polls your home page?

Don't fret, friend. You don't have to rush out to the doctor's office. There's nothing much wrong with you. You don't need some expensive new pill that your insurance won't cover anyway. You're simply suffering from Citizen Reactive Aggravation Political Syndrome, better known as CRAPS.

Don't be misled. CRAPS is a serious condition. You have two basic choices. You can live with it for the next seven weeks while continuing to ignore your family, friends and pets or you can deal with it yourself.

Fret not. The Trotter Research Institute on Pertinent Events is here to help. TRIPE has been associated with crap in singular or plural forms for years and recommends the following seven-step program.

STEP ONE: Unplug your television and leave it unplugged until at least Nov. 5. If you have a strong aversion to that idea because your case of CRAPS isn't advanced enough to completely erase your lifelong interest in something such as sports, you could use your cable or satellite provider's family blocking features to get rid of the likes of CNN, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and most of all MSNBC, but be careful. Remember that even MTV brought in an awards interloper from across the Big Pond who recommended that Americans do the world a favor by electing Mr. Obama. It's doubtful that you'd be safe from reinfection if you watched nothing but Sponge Bob Squarepants. Besides, lots of sports teams wear uniforms that are either red or blue.

STEP TWO: Stop answering the telephone and let all calls go to voice mail or the recording machine. Presuming your spouse isn't also afflicted by CRAPS, let he or she immediately check the call so you can promptly return those that come from the immediate family or the Publisher's Clearing House big prize division. Remember that simply signing up for call blocking won't do the trick. The politicians are sneaky devils. They exempted themselves from the same restrictions they imposed on everyone else.

STEP THREE: Get out and do something fun. Tecumseh is having its Frontier Days celebration this week and the State Fair is in full swing in Oklahoma City, although there probably will be some political activity at both. Sports fans could steel themselves against those offensive colors and check out the Wolves, Savages, Redskins, Sooners, Cowboys or some other worthy area team.

STEP FOUR: Have a trusted friend go through the newspaper with a set of scissors and remove all political stories and ads before you begin reading. This will become especially important in a week or two when the campaigns for Shawnee mayor and commission crank up in earnest again. Those are usually more hateful and disturbing than anything the Republicans and Democrats can dish out in pursuit of something trivial such as the White House.

STEP FIVE: Be discreet about where you spend your time. Coffee shops are particularly hazardous and movie houses are becoming more and more suspect. Accidentally watching something produced by Michael Moore can send a Republican into a state of temporary arrest and Democrats have been known to have a similar reaction to anything involving Ben Stein.

STEP SIX: Develop a fictional physical ailment and learn to describe it in excruciating detail anytime an acquaintance starts talking politics. Appendectomies you really never had are great. You don't have to show the scar. Just starting to pull up your shirt while detailing every little pain is guaranteed to prompt your offending friend to make some excuse and walk away.

STEP SEVEN: Go to the library and check out a good book. Classics you always meant to read are best because lots of the contemporary stuff deals with politics in one way or another. Even authors of exciting thrillers tend to throw in a little personal philosophy and anything written by anyone who ever appeared on the tube is almost certainly dangerous. As a last resort, go on a fad diet. Wrapping thinly sliced meat in a soggy leaf of once-crisp lettuce and trying to eat it is enough to make you forget about most anything.

That's it. Seven simple steps back to sanity. Follow each one and you ought to be okay. After all, CRAPS is usually a temporary condition.

Oh, yes. One last thing. Whatever else you may do, don't talk to the author of this column. He's been full of CRAPS for years and years.