Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Body Politic

Left, right, left, right, left, right …. For six miles, the two legs had moved along cooperatively with only minor complaints, but that all changed in an instant. “Oww!” said Left Leg. “My knee hurts!”

“Oh, big deal,” Right Leg said. “Who cares? You lefties are always whining. Makes me sick. All I hear from you is complaints. ‘My neuroma hurts! My big toenail just fell off! My plantar fasciitis is killing me!’ Now, it’s ‘my knee hurts!’ Grow a pair!”

“Anatomically, that is not possible. But you know, you right-wingers have no compassion,” said Left Leg.

“How come it’s always you that has these problems? What are you, some kind of a left-leaning sissy?”

“Always me, huh? How about those two times you developed trochanteric bursitis and had to get those cortisone shots right in your hip?” Left Leg reminded him.

“Hey, at least I took the shots like a man! Ooh, ‘trochanteric!’ Big word, college boy. What a snob!” said Right Leg.

“As I recall, you attended every class I did in college. Man, my knee hurts! I think I need a doctor,” said Left Leg.

“A doctor? Why don’t you just use Obamacare? What a loser!”

“Both you and I happen to have great medical insurance through employment, so I don’t need the so called Obamacare,” said Left Leg. “But think of all those who are unemployed, have pre-existing conditions, and don’t have jobs that provide insurance. What should they do?”

Right Leg snorted. “Who cares? That’s their problem. They should have thought about it before they got sick. Damned liberals! Who do you think should pay for their care? You? Me? Ha! Just you wait until Rick Santorum gets elected!”

“We just need to tax the rich a lot more. You know, redistribute all the wealth. No one needs a million bucks to live on,” Left Leg said.

“You make me sick! All of you lefties do!”

“Lighten up, right winger! You are so harsh and judgmental!”

“Look here, left winger, or should I say left whiner? I’ve had enough of your complaining! You are the epitome of everything that is wrong with this country. I wish you’d never been born!” Right Leg spat. “But not because of an abortion, of course,” he hastily added.

“What are you, some kind of a Hitler Youth alum? Oww! My knee hurts! I need some Ibuprofen!”

“Typical of you substance-abusing, liberal jerks! When something hurts or you need to get in a better mood, just turn to drugs!” Right Leg smirked.

Left Leg retorted quickly. “Yeah? Like your hero, Rush Limbaugh?”

Right Leg quivered in fury. “Never, ever mock that great man again,” he screamed as he launched a vicious kick at Left Leg.

Brain jumped in and stopped the kick before it landed. “You’re always taking his side, Brain.” said Right Leg. “You’re as far left as he is.”

Brain said, “I’m exactly in the center. I swivel to the left and to the right as needed, but I always stay in the center. If Left Leg tried to kick you, I would stop him as well.” At this precise instant, Left Leg, thinking that Brain and Right Leg were preoccupied, tried a quick, sneaky kick of his own. But Brain, reacting with lightning speed, short-circuited that kick as well.

“See? I rest my case,” said Brain. “I’m your Commander in Chief, and don’t either of you forget it. When I say jump, you ask 'How high?' Now, both of you, shut the hell up, and keep moving.”

For another mile, there was relative peace. Then the sniping began anew.

“Stop limping! You are making me work harder. Typical of you liberals, let everyone else do the hard work so you can just be a lazy bum. Left leaning jerk,” said Right Leg.

“You are a little stronger and more capable than I am. Plus I’m hurting. So why shouldn’t you work a little harder than me? That seems fair, you reactionary Neanderthal,” replied Left Leg.

“Fair? What’s fair about it? What are you, some kind of Pinko?” asked Right Leg.

“Conservative Nut Case” shouted Left Leg.

“European Socialist!” retorted Right Leg.





As fast as Brain is, before he could even react, Left Leg and Right Leg launched kicks at each other simultaneously, and the entire body crumpled to the ground.

“I’ve had quite enough of both of you!” Brain shouted. “Pick us up and get moving! Now! I can play hard-ball too if need be! Remember Alaska in 2005? Maybe I’ll give you a good dose of that to make you get along and work together again. We’ll take a one minute break so you can think that one over.”

“Alaska? Midnight Sun Marathon? 2005? Oh my God!” said Left Leg.

“Pouring rain! 26.2 miles! Cold winds for the last four miles! I shudder just thinking about it,” said Right Leg.

“Mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds!” said Left Leg.

“Those were hummingbirds, you left leaning mor … er, those were hummingbirds, weren’t they?”

“Do hummingbirds drill a hole in you the size of the Lincoln Tunnel? Do they suck out enough blood that, were it alcohol, even Lindsay Lohan would beg to stop drinking?” asked Left Leg.

“Nope, you’re right! Ha, ha, get it? You’re right!” said Right Leg.

“Oh, God, remember afterwards? Brain submerged us in a tub of ice water for 15 minutes? My lips were turning blue!”

“Lips? You have lips?”

“It’s a figure of speech,” said Left Leg.

“Man, I had blisters the size of Cleveland on my feet for the last 10 miles of that marathon,” said Right Leg.

“Yeah, me too, but even bigger. More like Chicago.” Noticing that Right Leg was about to say something, Left Leg added, “Actually, you know, I think you did have the bigger blisters.”

“Well, maybe. We both endured plenty. Then at night, remember while Brain slept peacefully all night long, we suffered together in agony until morning? The heartless sunnuvabitch!” said Right Leg.

“Yeah, you’re right. He didn’t care. He drove us like slaves all day and then he just slept. Completely oblivious to the pain of others. Reminds me of, well never mind that. Remember, he even forced us to wear running shorts on that cold, wet day? Shorts!” said Left Leg.

“What’s he even doing to us, making us do all this running at our age? Who’s he think he is, Steve Prefontaine?” asked Right Leg.

“Uh, Righty, I hate to break the news, but ‘Pre’ has been dead since 1975,” said Brain.

“Well, who does he think he is, then, Bill Freakin’ Rodgers?” said Right Leg.

“More like Joan Benoit Samuelson,” snickered Left Leg.

Brain jumped on that one. “Lefty, was that a not-so-subtle put-down of women? I must say, I’m surprised at you, taking that position. Aren’t you being a little hypocritical?”

Left Leg retreated in alarm. “No, no! That’s not what I meant. Really! I believe in full equal rights, a woman’s right to choose, and all that feminist stuff. I’m proud when I can run like a girl!”

Right Leg grimaced and shook his foot slowly, but said nothing to make the situation worse. Instead, he reflected on what really matters. “We’ve been through a lot together, you and me. I’d be doing a lot of hopping if you weren’t here, Left Leg,” he said.

“I couldn’t do it without you, Bud! You always got my right flank, and help me stay balanced,” said Left Leg.

“Okay,” said Brain. “I’m glad we got that settled. I depend equally on both of you. You are both very important parts of the body that I command. If you two aren't working together, if one of you isn't doing your job, then the whole body is out of balance. Together, we can do great things! Hell, we did a marathon in Alaska seven years ago, ignoring rain and pain, and two since then. Aren’t you proud of that? We all need to work together, or we go nowhere. We become ineffective and incompetent!”

“Yeah,” said Right Leg with a guffaw. “We don’t want anyone to mistake us for the US Congress! Talk about ineffective and incompetent! Even I have to admit that Boehner and Cantor are an exercise in futility and are obstructionists.”

“We agree 100% there, pal! But I also realize that Pelosi didn’t get much done either, before Boehner took over for her,” said Left Leg.

“OK, boys! The meeting of the Mutual Admiration Society is now adjourned. Let’s get moving. We still have five more miles to go,” said Brain.

“Five more miles!” cried Left Leg and Right Leg in perfect harmony. “We’re exhausted. We need to stop! We can’t do it!”

“You can and you will, guys,” said Brain, as he sent a tiny jolt of electricity down Spinal Cord first to Left Leg and then to Right Leg a split second later. “You can and you will.”

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