This morning there was a knock at my door. When I answered the
door I found a well groomed, nicely dressed couple.
The man spoke first: "Hi! I'm John, and this is Mary."
Mary: "Hi! We're here to invite you to come
kiss Hank's ass with us."
Me: "Pardon me?! What are you talking about?
Who's Hank, and why would I want to kiss his ass?"
John: "If you kiss Hank's ass, he'll give you a million dollars;
and if you don't, he'll kick the shit out of you."
Me: "What? Is this some sort of bizarre mob shake-down?"
John: "Hank is a billionaire philanthropist. Hank built this town.
Hank owns this town. He can do what ever he wants,
and what he wants is to give you a million dollars,
but he can't until you kiss his ass."
Me: "That doesn't make any sense. Why..."
Mary: "Who are you to question Hank's gift? Don't you want a
million dollars? Isn't it worth a little kiss on the ass?"
Me: "Well maybe, if it's legit, but..."
John: "Then come kiss Hank's ass with us."
Me: "Do you kiss Hank's ass often?"
Mary: "Oh, yes, all the time..."
Me: "And has he given you a million dollars?"
John: "Well, no, you don't actually get the money
until you leave town."
Me: "So why don't you just leave town now?"
Mary: "You can't leave until Hank tells you to, or you don't
get the money, and he kicks the shit out of you."
Me: "Do you know anyone who kissed Hank's ass, left town,
and got the million dollars?"
John: "My mother kissed Hank's ass for years. She left town
last year, and I'm sure she got the money."
Me: "Haven't you talked to her since then?"
John: "Of course not, Hank doesn't allow it."
Me: "So what makes you think he'll actually give
you the money if you've never talked to anyone who
got the money?"
Mary: "Well, he gives you a little bit before you leave.
Maybe you'll get a raise, maybe you'll win a small lotto,
maybe you'll just find a twenty dollar bill on the street."
Me: "What's that got to do with Hank?"
John: "Hank has certain 'connections.'"
Me: "I'm sorry, but this sounds like some sort of bizarre con
John: "But it's a million dollars, can you really take the
chance? And remember, if you don't kiss Hank's ass
he'll kick the shit of you."
Me: "Maybe if I could see Hank, talk to him, get the details
straight from him..."
Mary: "No one sees Hank, no one talks to Hank."
Me: "Then how do you kiss his ass?"
John: "Sometimes we just blow him a kiss, and think of his ass.
Other times we kiss Karl's ass, and he passes it on."
Me: "Who's Karl?"
Mary: "A friend of ours. He's the one who taught us all about
kissing Hank's ass. All we had to do was take him out to
dinner a few times."
Me: "And you just took his word for it when he said there was a
Hank, that Hank wanted you to kiss his ass, and that Hank would
John: "Oh no! Karl's got a letter Hank sent him years ago
explaining the whole thing. Here's a copy; see for yourself."
John handed me a photocopy of a handwritten memo on From the
desk of Karl letterhead. There were eleven items listed:
1. Kiss Hank's ass and he'll give you a million dollars when
you leave town.
2. Use alcohol in moderation.
3. Kick the shit out of people who aren't like you.
4. Eat right.
5. Hank dictated this list himself.
6. The moon is made of green cheese.
7. Everything Hank says is right.
8. Wash your hands after going to the bathroom.
9. Don't drink.
10. Eat your wieners on buns, no condiments.
11. Kiss Hank's ass or he'll kick the shit out of you.
Me: "This appears to be written on Karl's letterhead."
Mary: "Hank didn't have any paper."
Me: "I have a hunch that if we checked we'd find this is
actually Karl's handwriting."
John: "Of course, Hank dictated it."
Me: "I thought you said no one gets to see Hank?"
Mary: "Not now, but years ago he would talk to some people."
Me: "I thought you said he was a philanthropist. What sort of
philanthropist kicks the shit out of people just because
Mary: "It's what Hank wants, and Hank's always right."
Me: "How do you figure that?"
Mary: "Item 7 says, 'Everything Hanks says is right.' That's
good enough for me!"
Me: "Maybe your friend Karl just made the whole thing up."
John: "No way! Item 5 says, 'Hank dictated this list himself.'
Besides, item 2 says, 'Use alcohol in moderation,' item 4 says,
'Eat right,' and item 8 says, 'Wash your hands after going to
the bathroom.' Everyone knows those things are right, so the
rest must be true, too."
Me: "But 9 says, 'Don't Drink,' which doesn't quite go with
item 2, and 6 says, 'The moon is made of green cheese,'
which is just plain wrong."
John: "There's no contradiction between 9 and 2, 9 just
clarifies 2. As far as 6 goes, you've never been to the moon,
so you can't say for sure."
Me: "Scientists have pretty firmly established that the moon
is made of rock...."
Mary: "But they don't know if the rock came from the Earth, or
from out of space, so it could just as easily be green cheese."
Me: "I'm not really an expert, but I think the theory that the
moon came from space has been discounted. Besides, not
knowing where the rock came from doesn't make it cheese."
John: "Aha! You just admitted that scientists make mistakes,
but we know Hank is always right!"
Me: "We do?"
Mary: "Of course we do, Item 5 says so."
Me: "You're saying Hank's always right because the list says so,
the list is right because Hank dictated it,
and we know that Hank dictated it because the list says so.
That's circular logic, no different than saying, 'Hank's right
because he says he's right.'"
John: "Now you're getting it! It's so rewarding to see someone
come around to Hank's way of thinking."
Me: "But.... oh, never mind. What's the deal with wieners?"
Mary blushes. John says: "Wieners, in buns, no condiments.
It's Hank's way. Anything else is wrong."
Me: "What if I don't have a bun?"
John: "No bun, no wiener. A wiener without a bun is wrong."
Me: "No relish? No Mustard?"
Mary looks positively stricken. John shouts: "There's no need
for such language! Condiments of any kind are wrong!"
Me: "So a big pile of sauerkraut with some wieners chopped up
in it would be out of the question?"
Mary sticks her fingers in her ears: "I am not listening
to this. La la la, la la, la la la."
John: "That's disgusting. Only some sort of evil deviant
would eat that...."
Me: "It's good! I eat it all the time."
Mary faints. John catches her: "Well, if I'd known you were
one of THOSE I wouldn't have wasted my time. When Hank
kicks the shit out of you, I'll be there, counting
my money and laughing. I'll kiss Hank's ass for you,
you bunless cut-wienered kraut-eater."
With this, John dragged Mary to their waiting car,
and sped off.