The Adventures of Governmentman
An Allegory for Our Time
The scene opens on the bustling, prosperous community of Independence, U.S.A. Merchants run their stores, children hurry to school, and a flag flies serenely over it all. Suddenly, a young man rushes in.
Young Man: Did you hear? We've been invaded by foreign troops!
Townsfolk: Invaded? Oh no!
Young Man: Yes! Not only that, but someone just stole my car! And you know, we've got too many different currencies, too! What'll we do? Who can help us?
Grocer: Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird!
Schoolteacher: It's a plane!
The crowd oohs and aahs as Governmentman flies in, cape streaming behind him.
Girls: Ooo, what a hunk! He's so handsome! (*sigh*)
Mayor: Governmentman, thank Heaven it's you. Can you help us?
Govtman: Never fear! Always glad to help out! I'll have it all fixed in no time.
Mayor: How can we ever thank you?
G-man: Well, if everyone could chip in a little to cover expenses...
All: Sure! Glad to! Least we can do! (etc.)
G-man: Thank you so much. Now if you'll excuse me, I have some wrongs to right! (He blasts off into the sky.)
Mother: Wow! I'm so glad we have Governmentman.
The crowd disperses as the citizens return to their business. Several months later, in the town hall, residents gather for a meeting.
Mayor: This meeting will please come to order. Friends, I understand we're having some problems. Produce prices are low, some of us are out of work, and our students aren't doing so well in school. But I know that with hard work and persistence, we can help each other through it. We have to č
Franklin: Hey, hold on. Governmentman helped us before. Why don't we just call him? He can take care of it.
Ayn: But we can handle it ourselves, don't you think?
Lyndon: Ah, but Governmentman will be sure to do it right. He's so strong and wise. He couldn't make a mistake. Let's call Governmentman!
Townsfolk: Say, that's a fact! Good idea! He'll help us! Call Governmentman! (They rush out of the hall.)
Several months later, a crowd is gathered around the mayor in the square.
Crowd: I'm still out of work! My teenage daughter's pregnant! My car broke down! (etc.)
Mayor: Calm down! Governmentman should be here any minute. See, here he comes now.
The crowd sighs in relief as G-man flies in,. His physique not quite as splendid as before, with a stain on his cape. They clamor for his attention.
G-Man: All right, all right! Look, I'm working on it, OK? I'll need some more cash, though.
Franklin: We'd better give it to him. What would we do without him?
Townsfolk: (handing over more cash) Here you are, Governmentman, sir. (etc.)
G-man: Well, that's better! Now if you'll excuse me, I need to press my costume. Leave a message if I'm not in. (He flies off, litter swirling up in his wake.)
Mother: Gosh. I'm so glad we have Governmentman.
Several weeks later, the townsfolk are again gathered in the square, discussing solutions to their problems.
"My kids are failing school!"
"Oh no! Call Governmentman!
"No one's buying my paintings!"
"Oh no! Call Governmentman!"
"I have a headache."
"Oh no! Call Governmentman!"
Suddenly G-man flies in and lands with a thud, his stomach straining against his soiled costume. He belches and saunters over to the crowd, which surges around him, pleading for help.
Sarah: Violent crime is out of control!
Joycelyn: AIDS is killing our kids!
Donna: People are unemployed and homeless!
G-man: Yeah, well, um, hand over all your guns, and, ah, here, have some condoms on the house, and um, all you unemployed, you're workin' for me now, see?
Rusty: Hold on. How will you pay them all?
G-man: Easy. You're gonna fork over some more cash, smart guy. All of you!
Rusty: Why should I work to support them?
G-man: Shut up! That's discriminatory speech! (He punches Rusty in the face.)
Townsfolk: (frightened) Don't criticize Governmentman! What if he left us? What would we do? We can't manage without him! (They turn to G-man.) I need a job! I need a college degree! I need a new TV set!
G-Man: Yeah, yeah, yeah. You just do like I tell you and I'll get around to it. (He flies off unsteadily, crashing into a graffiti-covered wall on the way. Meanwhile, Ayn has helped Rusty up.)
Rusty: Listen to me! I know what our problem is. We've gotten too dependent on Governmentman!
Lyndon: Oh no! Call Governmentmač
Ayn: Oh, SHUT up!
Franklin: What's wrong with you? Do you want Governmentman to hear?
Mayor: He's right. Governmentman is our friend. He wouldn't hurt us.
Crowd: (angry) Yeah, who are you to criticize! Get out of here! We've got Governmentman; we don't need you! (etc.)
Ayn: Fine. But don't say we didn't warn you. (She and Rusty stalk off.)
Mayor: (shaking his head) What a shame. (He looks at the quarreling crowd, the bullet-pocked buildings, the shabby sign of Crack Dealers' Local No. 4092.) It does seem almost like it was better before...(he brightens) but, who am I to criticize? I'm just glad we've got Governmentman taking care of us. Yes, he always knows best.
John Keisling, a Ph.D candidate in mathematics, is currently trying to put Governmentman on Ultra-Slim-Fast for life. His column appears every Wednesday.
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