Sunday, June 13, 2004
Mr. Rod Paige, Secretary of Education
U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202
Dear Mr. Paige,
I am writing to you about my grandson, Lester. The other day I wrote a letter to my Favorite Journalist of All-Time, Rush Limbaugh, to tell him how sorry I was that he was getting divorced for the third time. In the letter, I gave him some oxymorons I thought might cheer him up. (An oxymoron is words that don’t make any sense when you put them together like “jumbo shrimp” or “military intelligence.”)
Anyway, I showed the letter to Lester, and I explained what oxymoron meant. The next day, I got a call from his school, telling me he had been suspended. He wrote a story using every oxymoron he could think of, and I have to say, it was a pretty good story for an 11-year-old. But the teacher said it was inappropriate and disrespectful to Our President.
Secretary Paige, the last thing in the world I want is for my grandson to insult My President! But something has come over my wife, and now I’m afraid she’s being a bad influence on Lester.
I am sending you a copy of Lester’s letter in hopes you can tell me what to do. He just shouted from his room to tell you that all the oxymorons are written in bold-face type. Here it is:
The True Story of King Oxy Moron
This is the true story of a poor rich kid named Oxy Moron; a dim wit who sprang from humble Texas Chic roots; the son of a benign dictator who became an elected king and benevolent despot. As a mature student, he didn’t show much promise. When required to speak or think, he usually drew a blank. He wasn’t a particularlysensitive guy, and he spent much of his time turning up missing and legally drunk. When confronted with his problem, he said, “I only drink non-alcoholic beer, and I can prove it to you with scientific speculation.”
At this time in current history, the
American Culture was in a fine mess due to the fact that the leader was having casual sex and good cigars with his intern, and the Republican Party was making a full-time hobby of challenging his flexible ethics. The country was going nowhere.
“We need an honest politician!” exclaimed the corporate culture. “We need a leader who will take the high ground and reflect our corporate conscience!” But where could they find someone who would be a safe bet to represent their corporate ethics? Through free elections and truth in advertising, they promoted Oxy Moron to be their man, even though he was a functional illiterate. Unfortunately, the populace did not agree, and the preliminary conclusion was that his opponent won. Then came the unbiased news reports stating the free election was too close to call, and it became a necessary evil to claim that the opponent’s votes had been cast in invisibile ink. The whole thing got pretty ugly, but in the end, the Supreme Justices of the land declared Oxy Moron the winner and Leader of American Democracy.
Once in power, King Oxy Moron rose to his name and became the Greatest Oxymoron King of All-Time! He filled the air with carbons and called it The Clear Skies Act. He dumped mercury and toxic waste in the waters and called it The Clean Water Act. He cut down the oldest, biggest trees and called it The Healthy Forest Initiative. He cut spending for education, closed schools, fired teachers and called it No Child Left Behind.
Then came the dark day when King Oxy Moron was getting a healthy tan on one of his many working vacations, when came the news from military intelligence that the Empire had been attacked. The king was caught by surprise even though his think tank had given him a detailed summary of the threat. “Good grief!” exclaimed the king. “This is just the moment I’ve been waiting for! I will make an executive decision to launch a defensive strike! It is my objective opinion that we are fighting a holy war. I will send a peace force to foreign lands everywhere to launch smart bombs and precision bombs and peace keeper missiles! There is nowhere I won’t go to fight for peace!
A numb feelingovercame the populace. They were happy to accept their limited freedom because every night they were shown authentic reproductions of the day’s events by unbiased journalists who told them they were fighting a just war. All they wanted was to have some job security so they could go home and eat their junk food.
And so it came to pass that King Oxy Moron became the All-Powerful EMPEROR Oxy Moron. He and his friends always took the bigger half until there was abundant poverty around the world. The Emperor’s men took to spying on private citizens. The weather forecasters proclaimed the planet was going nowhere. Finally, the citizens awoke from their intense apathy and said, “Emperor Oxy Moron is our least favorite leader of all time! We must not procrastinate now! As they say in his native state of Texas, ‘This bird dog won’t hunt!’ ”
11 years old
It’s me again. Well, what do you think? You don’t think he’s talking about Our President, do you? You have to admit--it is pretty good for an 11-year-old, isn’t it?