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Lee Pitts: Make-Believe Land

 

“As your guide I’d like to welcome you on this tour of make-believe authoritarian figures. Please keep your hands and heads inside the bus as danger lurks around every curve.”

“Hey,” said one rubber-necker, “is that Santa Claus taking a knee over there?”

“No, that’s Uncle Sam. Admittedly, both show a striking resemblance and they are both authoritarian figures who make big promises. Santa and Sam may say that if you’re a good boy or girl you’ll be rewarded with all kinds of free goodies but I speak from experience when I say that all you’re going to get from them is underwear and tee shirts. Uncle Sam looks a lot like Santa because as a government employee he’s put on a lot of extra flab. But when you see his sign that says, “Uncle Sam Wants you!” don’t fall for it. He just wants your money. Notice that in Sam’s other hand he’s holding a sign that says, “Will work for food.” Don’t fall for that trick either. Don’t encourage the phony glutton by putting any money in his tip jar.”



“Quick, look out the left-hand side of the bus and you’ll catch a rare glimpse of the Tooth Fairy. Getting to see the Fairy is a very rare occurrence ever since he got a stiff prison sentence for dealing in ivory, even if it came from screaming little kids, not elephants in Africa.”

“Hey look,” said an excited tourist. “Isn’t that Smokey Bear over by that burnt out log?”



“Yes it is and I’m surprised you can recognize him with his nicotine stained teeth and fingers. Smokey has been trying to kick the smoking habit for years and has tried everything from the patch to hypnotism. One shrink suggested Smokey let himself go to pot because of the lie he’s been telling for years that, “Only YOU can prevent forest fires.” It turns out that chainsaws, thinning crews, clear cuts and cows can too. Smokey’s worsening condition should serve as a warning that smoking is not good for bears, people or forests.”

“Now if you will turn your att……”

“Look,” interrupted one sightseer, “it’s the Easter Bunny trying to outrun that fire!”

“No, that’s the Energizer® Bunny. Sadly, we lost the Easter Bunny last year in a devastating fire in California. That’s why you may have seen a tear in Smokey Bear’s eye. Smokey and the Easter Bunny were very close. Alas, perhaps it’s just as well because The Easter Bunny was really depressed about having such a hard time finding enough politically correct, organically raised eggs to hide. And with all the denuded forests and burned out urban landscapes it was just too easy for the kids to find the eggs as they stuck out like the warts on Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’s face. Speaking of which, we’re sorry to say we won’t be seeing Rudolph on this tour because he’s in rehab. He started drinking heavily after Santa sold the sleigh and started sending everything via Amazon.”

“Now we have entered that part of the park reserved for Make-Believe authority figures that serve as pitchmen. For example, on the right-hand side of the bus you’ll see the Geico® Gecko and the Aflac® Duck throwing rocks at each other. And those on the left-hand side of the bus can see Mr. Clean® trying to clean up the BIG mess left behind by the Budwesier® Clydesdales.”

SCREECH! CRASH! BOOM! CRUNCH!

“Sorry folks, it seems we’ve just run over Tony the Tiger® who was sleeping in the middle of the road. Tony was a popular advertising figure here in Make-Believe Land. Perhaps it’s a blessing though because Tony was becoming more emaciated by the day. That’s because he was a gummer, his teeth having fallen out years ago from all that sugar.”

“This next part of Make-Believe land is a cemetery and scrap yard for Make-Believe authoritarian figures who are no longer with us including the Taco Bell® Chihuahua, Budwesier’s frogs named Frank and Louie, Spuds MacKenzie, Morris the Cat and others.”

“What about Joe Camel?” asked one of the gawker’s. “I love Joe Camel.”

“I’m afraid Joe went the way of the Marlboro Cowboy. They both got lung cancer at the same time and the Cowboy rode old Joe Camel off into the sunset.”


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