Sunday, June 25, 2006

Chris King Pop Icon Therapy!

[I originally wrote this during the last Christmas season, during a spate of public sobbing. Here is a retooled version of "Chris King Pop Icon Therapy!"]

I was painting the hallway of my Craftsman-style Vermont home the other day. A rich, creamy brown, called "Sturdy Table." It layers nicely on top of the mossy "Gravel" of the living room, smoothly transitioning by way of a sophisticated, blackish-brown "Wendigo" trim. I'm as pleased with the names as I am the colors. A modern color scheme combined with a wood stove... Think Westin Grand Bohemian meets the Clampetts.

I had the television on in the background, tuned to Doctor Phil. I like to compare notes on our respective brands of feel-good therapy. I heard someone sobbing. I put down my brush and stood in front of the TV. Our injured party told of having been the victim of some monstrous insensitivity.

I wanted to help. "Is it okay if I handle this one?" Doctor Phil nodded his solemn consent, so I took my place on the couch and patted the hand of this poor, victimized man. "In your own words, tell me what happened."

"I was driving by the town commons and I was... [hitch in his voice] I was assaulted by... [quivering chin and a courageous, deep breath to pronounce this most unspeakable affront:] by a nativity scene!" [Gasps from studio audience. Camera breaks to shocked faces. Audience members look about for confirmation that what they just heard was just said.]

"Settle down, everybody, let's let him continue. What happened next?"

"Well I had my Jew attorney friends file a lawsuit against the town. Everyone knows those small-town rubes can't afford lawsuits over stuff like this."

Someone from the audience yells, "Just like a good little bitch!" At which Dr. Phil sprang up and strode to the edge of the stage, "Shut the fuck up, you hear me? This is our show, not yours. Now shut it! [Phil's pinkie and index fingers directed at the offending loudmouth:] You mess with the bull, you get the horns." He let it sink in, then took his seat.

I continued: "Do you think it's right to demand your way all the time?"

"Well, it's only because everyone hates us."

"We're gettin there," Phil muttered. If there's one point where we differ, it's on his confrontational style.

"We tried to shoehorn some anti-hate legislation into a school-lunch program bill or something so that no one could ridicule us anymore. We even included the niggers and fags in it because we're generous. We just want to be treated well."

I allowed myself this: "We haven't exterminated you yet." The blood drained from his face.

"Though maybe we should," affirmed Phil as he studiously plucked a piece of lint from his pants leg.

"Maybe we goyim should drown you like rats," I volleyed back.

"You _are_ more trouble than you're worth." Phil let the lint fall to the floor and sniffed.

Our therapy client's eyes had been darting back and forth between Phil and me, incredulous that this tag-team sucker punch was happening. "See? You do hate us."

Poor thing. He'll need my help. "Not really. That would take a lot of energy, and most people have far better things to do with their time. Those ideas have been placed into your head by those who seek to control your economic and political capital. You don't even know who your true enemy is." I waved my right hand at his head. His eyes took on a distinctly different look.

He had come out of his trance. "What- what just happened?"

"What just happened, everyone? [Snap and point at studio audience] He just got some..."

"Chris. King. Pop. Icon therapy! Whoo!" [Camera pans over the audience as they reply and cheer.]

"That's right. How do you feel?"

He seemed stunned. "I- I don't know."

I don't imagine you do... "But remember, we say these things because we love you. Otherwise we wouldn't expend the effort. Isn't that right, Phil?"

"Sure thing, Chris. And, as always, thanks for pinch-hitting for us."

"You got it, Phil." [Snap. Point.]

I dabbed my brush into the roller tray and smiled. One more soul saved...