SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 24, 2018
These Fictitious People Still Sound A Lot Like Some People We Know
Here’s another column featuring the same sleazy 1980s characters at the satirical Patronage County Courthouse, to illustrate things going on hereabouts these days, so our Persons of Consequence might gain yet another useful perspective on the news.
These articles are Beloved Whistleblower Publisher Charles Foster Kane’s attempt to encourage undiscovered young writers, such as the struggling columnist below who shares his acute and surprisingly accurate take on local Politics as Usual in satirical Patronage County.
“Gripe” by James Jay Schifrin
Last week, I got another irate phone call from Commissioner Swindle in Patronage County.
“Why do people always gripe so much after their candidate loses an election” he asked. “Gripe, gripe, gripe—all they ever do is gripe!”
I guess it’s like what my old daddy always said, “If at first you don’t succeed, gripe, gripe, again.”
Maybe People do gripe a lot. But griping is a fundamental freedom guaranteed in the Bill of Rights. Throughout our nation’s history, griping has been as fundamental as baseball, apple pie, hot dogs, and Toyotas.
When Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence, he affirmed that people are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of griping.
In the midst of naval battle, John Paul Jones swore, “I have not yet begun to gripe.”
Nathan Hale regretted that he had but one gripe to give for his country.
Patrick Henry agreed when he shouted, “Give me liberty, or I’ll gripe.”
Abraham Lincoln griped all the way to Gettysburg. Reading from the back of an envelope, the old railsplitter predicted, “Griping of the people, by the people, and for the people will not perish from this earth.”
Teddy Roosevelt said, “Walk softly, but carry a big gripe.”
Calvin Coolidge said, “I choose not to gripe.”
General MacArthur said,” Old soldiers never die, they just gripe.”
At his inauguration, John Kennedy said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but how much you can gripe about what your country can do for you.”
Neil Armstrong, setting foot on the moon, said, “One small step for man, one giant gripe for mankind.”
Avis became number two by griping harder.
And don’t you just love it when every bank teller and sales clerk tells you to “have a nice gripe?”
To gripe or not to gripe—that is the question. These are the times that gripe men’s souls. What this country needs is a good five-cent gripe! United we gripe, divided we fall.
So the next time your candidate loses an election, just don’t sit there—gripe.
This op-ed column was updated from when it first appeared in the feisty Mt. Washington Press on February 25, 1981.