Swans Commentary » swans.com July 31, 2006  



Country Joe And The Fish


by Michael Doliner





What is to be done?

Well it's one, two, three what are we fighting for?


(Swans - July 31, 2006)   "Stay the course," the sage Mr. Rove tells us. But what is the course, gentle reader? Do you know for what worthy end your hard earned simoleons are enabling war criminals? Neither do I. But maybe somebody else does. Now that the neocons have torched the grass, and it's all burning nicely out of control, it's time to play a little discovery game with our fellow somnambulists. We can call it "Joe Fish." So here is how we play. As the flames approach the city we dress in our best and all go to a party. Mill around drinking beer, sit around sipping wine, lie around smoking weed, or whatever. Live it up, as usual. Pick up girls, boys, dogs, whatever. Then, when everybody is nicely greased, and least expects it, you burst into song: "Well its one, two, three, what are we fighting for?" Sing it, even if you've got a crappy voice. Again! And again until there's silence. Channeling Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry, fix the nearest quivering hulk with your gimlet eye, belch in his (or her) face, and say, "Well, punk! What are we fighting for?"

Now comes the good part. Suppose he says "democracy!" marking himself as an average dolt or stooge. Don't make the obvious arguments! They won't have any effect. Point your crooked finger at his forehead, lean back, and roar with laughter. Grab your sides, roll on the floor, kick your legs up in the air like a dying bug. The gathered throng will no doubt look on in pity and horror. At last you allow the mirth to die away. When embarrassed silence is restored you slowly, painfully struggle to your feet. Flipping open your cell phone you set it to "transport," point it at the guy, and beam him directly to downtown Baghdad where he can enjoy the bracing atmosphere and free exchange of ideas in an American-sponsored fledgling democracy.

By now some of the more timid constituents will no doubt be edging towards the exits. To prevent this slam yourself against the door. Lock it, bolt it, bar the way. Try to focus your bloodshot eyes on the nearest most desperate would-be escapee, and say, "What about you, you overgrown zygote? What are we fighting for?" Studies show there's about a ninety-five percent chance he (or she) will tell you to fuck off. No matter. Ignore all such signs of ill-breeding and push on with the fun. Stamp your booted foot, preferably on his (or her) toes, and say, "Answer, worm!" If the mob then seems to be getting out of hand, channel Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John G. Roberts Jr. and call for order. Your august presence will probably not do the trick. On the contrary, someone the size of The Incredible Hulk will now try to pry you away from the door. With one of your ninth-degree black belt moves flip him through the nearest window and into the pool.

The motley crew of miserable party goers will then realize that all attempts at resistance are futile. With trembling digit you once more skewer some hapless reveler and say, "Well what are we fighting for, gas guzzler?" Suppose he (or she) splutters, "WMDs." That will be the signal to pull out the gigantic wedding-style yellow cake that you have until now been cleverly concealing about your person. Ram it into your interlocutor's face. Grind it in. Trip him (or her) up and bury him (or her) in the debris of this delicious yellow cake confection. Stuff it in his (or her) mouth until he (or she) gasps for air. Poke some of it up his (or her) nostrils. Cram handfuls down his (or her) throat. Pack his (or her) ears.

Everyone will now want to be your next winner. From all the hands waving in the air choose the smuggest bastard you can find. When he says, "terrorists," open your wallet and dump out a pile of bricks and a sack of mortar. Wall him up in the corner. Be sure he can't breathe. (The terrorists may have released poison gas.)

This fun will completely restore you to the throng's good graces. Channeling Leonard Bernstein you encourage the participation of the assembled worthies and start again. All together now! "Well it's one, two, three, what are we fighting for? Baby I don't give a damn. Next stop is I o ran. Well it's five, six, seven open up the pearly gates..."

At last, when the sing-along is over, and the wild cheers die down, you reveal your secret identity. With art to make one weep you slowly strip to the buff to the accompaniment of the Doors' The End. Finally, pulling off your mask, you reveal -- a skeleton. Make those bones clatter. Doff your extravagantly befeathered rakish hat and channel d'Artangan. Laugh that macabre laugh. Then break down the door with one swift kick. Outside the flames are enormous and roaring like a typhoon. In the distance, through the flames, you can see the blank windows of charred buildings the fire has already gutted. In a single bound you leap on your hellish steed. The adoring crowd looks on. With one last sweeping gesture of the befeathered hat you rear up, jump through the flames -- and away.


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About the Author

Michael Doliner has taught at Valparaiso University and Ithaca College. He lives with his family in Ithaca, N.Y.



Please, feel free to insert a link to this work on your Web site or to disseminate its URL on your favorite lists, quoting the first paragraph or providing a summary. However, please DO NOT steal, scavenge, or repost this work on the Web or any electronic media. Inlining, mirroring, and framing are expressly prohibited. Pulp re-publishing is welcome -- please contact the publisher. This material is copyrighted, © Michael Doliner 2006. All rights reserved.


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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art12/mdolin18.html
Published July 31, 2006