The Public Eye

printed 06/01/2018

Having me preside over a question-and-answer session with a group of politicians and would-be politicians is like making salad dressing: you’re forcing the vinegar to get along with the oil for the benefit of what’s on the plate.

Because my chemistry background is limited to knowing you don’t add baking powder to self-rising flour unless you’re making what I now call Roman Empire biscuits — they rise, fall and burn — I had to look up what kind of mixture vinegar and oil is.

It’s what the lab coterie call heterogeneous, which, I should point out, has nothing to do with sexual identity or anything like that.

You would be wrong, for instance, if you said, “I’m heterogeneous, do I get a parade? This is because heterogeneous refers to something that is composed of distinctly different parts, like salad dressing.

Plain peanuts in a can, for instance, are homogeneous because everything is the same, and no, homogeneous also does not refer to which can they may use.

A heterogeneous product, on the other hand, would be mixed nuts in the can, which may be seen locally throughout the summer, and which brings me back to the our current topic: politicians and me in the same room making nice.

It isn’t that I don’t like the people who are politicians, but that I don’t care for politicians who forget they are people when they are off duty and when, as was the case this week, I’m obligated to ask questions without the benefit of, say, waterboarding.

“So, Mr. So-and-so, what are your specific thoughts on the budget?”

“Well, as you know, I’m a fiscal conservative, which means I am conservative fiscally, as I believe in fiscal conservatism and … blub, blub, blub, sputter, sputter … I mean that I intend to watch over … blub, sputter … I have no idea! OK?”

“I thank you for that honest answer. Who wants to be next?”

But no, I was forewarned that I would have to do my best while abiding by the terms of the Geneva Convention, which distinctly says, or so I was informed, “… you cannot employ bottomless chairs like you might have seen in a James Bond movie.”

“But …”

“Noooooo, we don’t do that. This is a forum put on by Realtors and, metaphorically speaking, the only bottomless chair in use in this county is the real estate transfer tax.”

Because I’m writing this about 12 hours in advance of the event, I have no idea who will show up or what questions will be asked by whom, and that means I’ll have to read up on the county government’s circumstances, or not.

As I say, it’s not that I dislike the individuals who hold or want to hold public office, or that I think they are nefarious crayon-eating so-and-so’s.

That is not the case. I actually like some of these people as people.

It’s just that in our official capacities we are heterogeneous, while personally we are homogenous, while together we are a solution that the public would like to see canned from time to time.

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