The Bar Jester Chronicles 5: Walker Percy on the FPR CONtroversy

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ROCK ISLAND, IL

It’s getting apocalyptic. The U.S. is shedding celebrities, freaks, and athletes like old skin. Neither Alaska nor Illinois has the governor it started its most recent gubernatorial charade with. The hateful Minnesota Twins are closing in on the noble Detroit Tigers now that the land of ten thousand lakes has finally achieved some degree of political identity—if not sanity. There’s been a bit of a spat on the all-absorbing indispensable FPR, and now, according to the Associated Press, the Little People of America want the word “midget” legislated off the airwaves.

Obviously the ghost of Walker Percy has been hovering about.

It was this thing with the midgets that tipped me off. Not long ago I read a news story that claimed a “midget” had attacked someone but escaped capture. Two things stood out: someone had gotten away with using the word “midget,” and a midget had gotten away. Incredible! Then I learned from a follow-up story that the assailant in question, still on the lam, was believed to be clairvoyant.

So Walker Percy was out & about plus there was a small medium at large. Serendipitous! I went in search of them both.

Now you have to understand. At the time there was considerable political turmoil on The Porch, which is to say in America itself, and everyone—I mean everyone—was talking about it. It was like that little exchange in Love in the Ruins

Ellen: There are riots in New Orleans, and riots over here. The students are fighting the National Guard, the Lefts are fighting the Knotheads, the blacks are fighting the whites. The Jews are being persecuted.

Tom: What are the Christians doing?

Ellen: Nothing

—only much worse:

PoMoCons, always solicitous of putting first things first, were standing up for their double-caramel skinny lattes and accusing Front Porchers of being corn-cob-smoking hayseed racists.

Front Porchers replied by over-theorizing and under-reticulating their views.

The HoMoCons were accusing the PoMoCons of being “Front Porkers,” which made the conflicted MetroCons adjust themselves and peer uncomfortably over their Raybans, while EvangeliCons from Dixie to Duluth picketed earnestly near every rainbow they could find, including the ones in the oil stains on the parking lot of the local Kum & Go.

The EmotiCons were weeping and gnashing their pixelated teeth, while the RubiCons couldn’t remember who had crossed what or whom.

A coupling between the unwed daughter of a PaleoCon and the self-righteous son of a NeoCon (the lad was also a youth pastor at a Giga-Church) resulted somewhat redundantly in the birth of a PleonastiCon (for whom life begins at conception but ends at birth), and rumor had it that not only had a GothiCon worn white but a CrunchyCon had shaved her legs.

BenedictiCons were consulting encyclicals, mostly Blogeri Soporificum. ApocalypticCons were searching the book of Daniel and texting Jack Van Impe, who, it turns out, wasn’t his usual lucid self, because he had recently caught Rexella and Chuck walking flushed and joyful out of the yes!-YES!-YES!iCon.

CalviCons pointed to the debate as further proof of double predestination, joined the ElectoCons at Russ’s and Shoney’s for pie and coffee, and conversed disdainfully about “those reprobate OrthoCons,” who were drinking and dancing at an ethnic festival “while all that God has planned for our individual lives is threatened by Tradition–Tradition!”

A fight broke out among our Jewish, African-American, and Spanish-speaking brethren (SemitiCons, HomeyCons, and MexiCons), and if I am not deceived six AgriCons, lured into dullness by ukulele music, had microchips secretly implanted in their ears by covert representatives from ConAgri.

A mess, to say the least.

So when I found the fugitive midget—he was hiding out with some friends—I asked him whether he could channel Walker Percy for help. “The Porch needs him,” I explained, and for a couple of pulls on my bottle of Early Times the diminutive conjuror agreed. (Did my eyes deceive me or did not the small medium actually savor the bosky bite of bourbon whiskey? Did he not put his hands to his throat and, like Kate Cutrer, say, “Oh, that’s beautiful!”)

He smacked his lips and said to my kneecaps, “I can do it. The salt domes here are not too dense.”

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