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CAMELS DONíT COME THAT SMALL
by: Max Burbank

Okay, look.

For the purposes of this essay, I find it necessary to reveal something about myself. I donít like giving any of you people information that might eventually lead to stepping over your whiskey soaked, near catatonic body one morning on my way to work, but I need you to know that what Iím writing about here, which would be plenty distressing enough, is happening in my own back yard.

Iím from Salem, Massachusetts. Yes, thatís right, Witch City. The town so nice they rely almost completely on a tourist industry generated by the state sponsored murder of innocent citizens a few hundred years ago. Sort of like if Auschwitz called itself ĎJew Cityí and had a cute little hook nosed silhouette on their police cars, sandwich shops and called their high school team the Fighting Shylocks. Also weíve got the House of the Seven Gables, but nobody ever said Satan lived there and nobody got strung up, so who gives a crap?

Tonight, Monday March 26, 2001, at Salem State College, ex president extraordinaire William Jefferson Clinton will give his first public address. Heís scheduled to speak for about an hour, but that could mean two in Clintonese, for which he will take home $100,000.00.

It will take me a little over four years to earn that sum. Since youíre on this web site, it will probably take you a good deal longer and many of you will have died in prisons, madhouses and gutters long before reaching that total.

$100,000.00. For one night. Letís try to get a little perspective. For that same wad of tuition, Salem Sate could have five nights of Al Franken. You canít tell me that five nights of Franken wouldnít have been a better bang for the buck. This is a man who once asked Tipper Gore what she thought of a joke that involved recycling, a stick and her husbandís plumbing. They could have had ten nights of Oliver North, now thatís comedy! I canít even imagine it, it would be like huffing airplane glue and watching ĎThe Green Beretísí over and over with my insane, marginally autistic cousin Lloyd. Steve Gatlin could have lived in each Salem State dormitory for a week and spoken individually with students about the crippling disease of Depression and how hard it makes maintaining the grueling Gatlin Brotherís standard of excellence; if you were willing to settle for half a month, you could upgrade to Larry! For $100,000.00 you could build a stack of Reeces cups half way to Alfa Centauri, except that you can only stack about thirty of them before they fall over and also my math isnít even in the right ballpark.

And for what? Not for the Great Manís Wisdom. The high points will be on the eleven oíclock news and whopping chunks of text will be on the front page of the Boston Globe tomorrow, pushing Bush to page four where he has been pretty much every day since the Supremes shoved him down the collective American throat. No. Salem State will cough up a sum of cash that might have been spent on scholarships or parking spaces to bask in the Clintonian presence. Itís the healing balm of his celebrity theyíre looking for, not anything he might have to say.

A hundred... Thousand... Samollians. In one night. For the kind of yammering he canít keep from doing anyway. If he wasnít in the Witch City heíd be saying the same exact stuff to his dog, or the Dominoes guy or the wall. You know whoís worth that kind of dough? Jesus. Maybe. You know what that southern fried trailer fatso ought to do to every citizen of Salem for that many clams? Any one of you could make up your own sex joke. Christ, that stupid bastard Carter must feel like a schmuck, I mean how the hell much do you get paid Framing and drywalling for the homeless? Plus itís hard work, not like dropping your jaw and wagging your tongue. Hell, at a hundred Grande a night, this guy doesnít need a Legal Defense Fund, he needs a Great Big Underground Vault to Keep his Money in Fund.

I know other ex presidents have cashed in. I know the Reagans got their house for free, I know Nancy took enough designer clothes with her for every Ethiopian to shoe the flies off their eyes with a Diore, I know politicians tumble out of office and up to the trough, I know, I know. But, Bill... youíre already going to need a hell of a lot of Oleo to get that camel youíre riding through the needleís eye. Do you honestly want a humongous bag of loot on your shoulder as well?

note: We wanted to pay Max Burbank $100,000 for writing this essay, but we figured a "Thanks!" and a pat on the back would suffice just as well.


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