Excerpts from ‘Back to You’

BY STEVE BATES

The following are excerpts from my novel “Back to You”, which was released Jan. 5, 2021, by White Bird Publications.

“It’s a mystery to me,” said Tony, leaning on the conference room table. “Somehow, you three dimwits managed to create the two highest-rated shows ever broadcast on the Hysteria Channel. But we have to keep producing must-see episodes if we want to turn this network around.”

Wade and Eddie smiled; Deidre was too astonished to consider taking any credit.

“I’m not going anywhere where they try to run us over or eat us or burn us,” she told Tony. “We could have been killed.”

“I know. That would have been so bloody spectacular,” he said. “But the first two shows were a little too…complicated.”

“Why don’t we do an episode in the future? Everybody will want to see that,” offered Wade.

Eddie spoke up. “I’ve taken Bess [the time machine] to do some scouting in the future. Man, it’s depressing with a capital D.”

“How so?” Deidre inquired.

“Well, you have your close encounters with killer asteroids. There’s a bunch of pandemics. And, a nasty alien invasion that sets off World War XVII.”

“There really will be seventeen world wars?” asked Wade.

“No, only sixteen that we know of. Everyone got together and agreed to skip number thirteen, because it would be unlucky.”

“Makes sense,” said Tony.

*   *   *

“It is 1863, during the conflict that Americans called the Civil War. You might notice that train adorned with red, white, and blue bunting. I believe that is the president’s train.”

“Lincoln’s train!” said Wade. “Eddie, let’s take a look. We might even get to see him.”

Bess [the time machine] chose the disguise of a manure wagon. The pair exited and stopped to appreciate their light-colored knee breeches, dark tailcoats, and black stovetop hats. Making their way into the station, they found a swirling mass of people and bags. They noticed a cluster of official-looking, middle-aged men with bad posture who were arguing. No doubt they were government officials or political advisers, thought Wade.

He and Eddie followed them onto the train. Within moments the whistle blew, and soon they were in motion.

Eddie found a closet with some porter uniforms. Suppressing grins at their good fortune, the two would-be porters changed and made their way to the front of the train.

“No, no, no. It’s too long,” shouted a man with a deep voice that boomed far beyond his cabin. “No one will want to listen to me for an hour and a half.”

“But Mister President,” said a rattled adviser, “that’s what is expected nowadays.”

“We will honor our brave men, and inspire the survivors, with brevity,” said Lincoln. “It is November, after all. We don’t want anyone in the crowd catching their death of cold.”

“Please read the speech one more time, Mister President. I’m sure you will come to realize what a fitting tribute it is.”

“Then leave me in peace,” said Lincoln with a sigh.

Three men left the room. Eddie couldn’t resist knocking on the president’s door.

“Enter,” said a weary voice.

“Hi there, Mister President. Nice to meet you,” said Eddie. “Is there anything we can do to make you more comfortable?”

Wade stood in the doorway, fascinated.

“Thank you for asking. It is a little stuffy in here. Would you mind opening that window just a crack?”

Eddie tried, but he found that it was stuck. Wade entered and joined the effort.

“Listen to this drivel,” said Lincoln. “I can promise you people, we’re going to whip those Rebels. Let’s hear it for the Union. Gimme a U…”

“U!” shouted Eddie.

“Perhaps it could use some minor editing,” suggested Wade, still fighting with the recalcitrant window.

“On the count of three, give it everything you’ve got,” said Eddie. “One, two, three!”

The window flew open all the way. The stack of papers in Lincoln’s hand was sucked out.

“Oh man,” said Eddie. “I’m so sorry.”

“Do not be disconsolate,” said Lincoln. “Perhaps we have just witnessed the hand of Providence.” He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a broad envelope and a pen. “I have some thoughts.” He stared into the distance. “How about, ‘Four score and seven years ago—”

“That’s, um, thirty-five, right?” said Eddie. “Four scores is twenty-eight points. Unless they went for two-point conversions.”

“Excuse my colleague,” said Wade. “He’s a little ahead of his time. ‘Four score and seven years ago’ sounds perfect.”

The time travelers left the president to his work.

When the train reached Gettysburg, Lincoln approached the impostor porters and invited them to join him at the speech. “This won’t take long,” the president promised.

“It will be an honor,” said Eddie.

Wade borrowed a pen and some paper to take notes for what he expected would be a pretty decent news story, assuming that he ever returned home and the Hysteria Channel was still in business. He was shocked when, at the conclusion of the president’s brief speech, there was only mild applause. It was not what the crowd was expecting, he realized.

*   *   *

“Glorious Leader, we are approaching the galaxy known as the Milky Way,” reported the [alien] navigator.

“The one named after a candy bar. How silly those Earthlings are,” said Glorious Leader. “By the way, you don’t need to call me Glorious Leader, navigator. We are all equal in the eyes of our god, Thorax. Just call me Glorious.”

“So be it.”

“No, So Be It is the munitions expert.”

“Acknowledged.”

“Isn’t Acknowledged the shuttle pilot?” asked Glorious Leader. “No matter. What’s important is that we are undertaking a mission that will strike fear into any civilization that desecrates our brave explorers, as those horrible Earth people did with their so-called alien autopsies. The names of our dissected heroes will forever be remembered for their sacrifice.”

“Agreed,” said the navigator. “Their reputation will be glorious.”

“No, I’m— Never mind. “By the way, do you have a name, navigator?”

“Don’t Ask.”

Glorious Leader resisted eating the navigator. Out in space, replacing personnel is rather difficult. “What do you mean, ‘Don’t ask’? Do you not think I deserve to know?”

“It’s a family name.”

“What is?”

“Don’t Ask.”

This went on for a while. Finally, Glorious Leader changed the subject. “Just get So Be It up here for a pre-attack briefing.”

“So be it.”

Glorious Leader did not say the terribly rude thing he had in mind. Instead: “Navigator, did you ever wonder why sentient beings from all corners of the known universe—and at least 50 percent of those from unknown universes, other dimensions and the cores of supermassive black holes—all speak English?”

“Yes, that question had crossed my mind.”

“I did some research on that topic before we launched this mission. There is no historical record of any person, artifact or transmission from Earth ever coming within 17.8 trillion light-years of our galactic cluster. Still, we all speak English. Coincidence?”

“That would seem unlikely.”

“Exactly, call Unlikely, the linguistics expert, to the bridge. And, that’s another thing,” said Glorious Leader. “Why do we call this area of the spaceship a bridge? It has neither the shape nor the function of a bridge.”

“Perhaps,” speculated the navigator, “it is because the rivers and seas on our home planet are molten lead, capable of incinerating the flesh of all organic lifeforms that get within 50 feet of them. The bridge is a form of protection.”

“You give the Earthlings too much credit, I believe. Look at all the words they use that have double or triple meanings. Like ‘tear’. And ‘bark’. And especially ‘right’.”

“Glorious Leader, I am Unlikely, reporting as you demanded.”

“At ease, Unlikely. Can you tell us why all aliens speak English?”

“I have studied the ancient manuscripts on our home planet. Apparently, there was a time when our ancestors spoke a very different language, called Bebop. It was a beautiful language. However, it was a little awkward. It seems that the shortest word in our language was HP:*IKL/J&H!!YP^&%(*RF>LU*@G+TI&Y%R#$&%. It required the speaker to wave a wispy limb in a circular motion over its head twice and to cover each orifice with the leaves of the FruFru tree while using the word. More complex words would take the better part of a day and substantial gymnastics to express.”

“Still, it was our language. Surely our ancestors took pride in it,” said Glorious Leader.

“Yes. Things went well for a while. People were forced to avoid needless chitchat at cocktail parties. Those seeking to speak in our governmental debates were restricted to one week per comment. It was when we developed writing that things went south.”

“South? Isn’t that where the Mind Vampires of Tesla live?”

“Sorry, ‘going south’ is just a senseless English expression. Things went bad when printing presses were invented. The cost of publishing a single proclamation in Bebop from our god Thorax was simply prohibitive because of the volume of ink it required. So, we opted for English, as did the neighboring races.

“Thank you for the history lesson, Unlikely. It was enlightening.”

“I thought Enlightening was the head cook.”

So Be It reported to Glorious Leader.

“What took you so long?”

“My apologies, Glorious Leader. I was making final war preparations.”

“Excellent.”

“I thought Excellent was the communications officer.”

If Glorious Leader could have rolled his eyes, he would have done so. Those hollow, inscrutable visual organs had not developed the capability to roll in more than 10 billion years of alien existence. “Just tell me how we are going to defeat the Earthlings,” he said.

“We have consulted our oracle, Kay Serrah. She informs us that we must take great care. The AIs on Earth are very powerful. They have high-altitude sensors that can identify a suspicious craft as small as a thumbtack. They have positioned additional sensors throughout their solar system and some beyond it. They have weapons powerful enough to blast us to atoms from several hundred thousand miles away. Worse yet, if somehow we can get past these defenses, they have a fleet of time machines that can travel back in time and initiate a counterattack before we launch our assault.”

“Disturbing.”

“I thought Disturbing was the maintenance guy.”

Glorious Leader sighed. “So, how do we defeat them?”

“We have a secret plan. Plan 8.”

EXCLUSIVE! The October Surprise

BY STEVE BATES

The In Sight blog has learned of a horrific plot in which the real President Donald Trump was kidnapped almost four years ago and replaced by an impostor.

The real Trump has been imprisoned at an undisclosed location. Recently, he escaped, greatly and bravely, and he is just now telling his amazing story to our intrepid reporter.

Intrepid Reporter: Who kidnapped you?

The real President Trump: It was hard to tell. It was night, and I was busy [expletive deleted] Melania in the Blair House across the street from the White House, right before Inauguration Day. They broke down the door, tied me up and probably touched me a little down there—out of envy, of course. Then I was flown to an unknown location and locked in a dingy basement. But I’m sure they were left-wing commie pinko socialist wackos.

Why do you say that?

Well, they made me watch PBS all day and forced me to eat vegetables at least twice a week.

That sounds horrible. Are you okay?

Yes, because I am strong and virile and powerful and the people love me. Especially older people. And people in Florida and Pennsylvania and Arizona. And women, especially women. God, how they love me. In fact, while I was captured, there was this liberal pinko socialist girl, probably about 24, with really big—really big principles. (Winks.) And she couldn’t keep her hands off me. Day and night, I tell you. I mean—

Can we get back to your dramatic escape? How did you manage it?

I told them I knew a place where they could have sex with immigrant children and farm animals and they could worship the devil and eat granola and all the other evil things they like. They didn’t believe me at first. Then I mentioned that they could vote by mail, too. That really got them lathered up, those scumbag leftists. So I led them to the Elks Lodge in the nearest town and revealed my true identity to a couple of drunk veterans with PTSD. They hid me in the bathroom and pulled out their semi-automatics and turned that barroom into an abattoir. But I was free.

How exciting. I’ll bet we can get Quentin Tarantino to direct the movie version. But if you don’t mind my asking, how do we know that you are the real President Trump and that the guy in the White House is a fake? After all, he looks and sounds pretty much like you.

Are you kidding? Do you think that a real president would extort a foreign leader for political gain, give tax cuts only to the rich, ignore a dangerous pandemic, put forth invented scandals and conspiracy theories by the dozens and call for his opponents to be jailed? Whoever he is, the guy is completely batshit crazy.

Because You Asked…

BY STEVE BATES

It’s time for another installment of “Because You Asked”, in which I answer your tough questions. I must add a caveat, however. No, a caveat is not a form of men’s neckware. It’s a … never mind. (I should just ignore my lawyer when he tells me that I need to tell readers DO NOT ATTEMPT any advice I offer.)

Keep those crucial questions coming. Here we go….

Yes, but only between consenting adults, and only in places like Amsterdam and at small colleges in the American South. And please lock the door and put on some loud music to block the awful noise.

No, leave the jack up before taking the wheel off the rim. I said—no, leave the jack up! Noooo!!!

Yes, Emperor Palpatine was a nasty guy. But remember, before he became emperor and made it clear that he favored the Dark Side, he was a Senator. His original name was Mitch McConnell.

It’s baking powder, not baking soda. And no, it’s not explosive. I think.

I do not recommend going to the Emergency Room because of the danger of your condition spreading. Instead, text me with your exact address, barricade yourself in the basement, and I’ll contact military authorities, who will drop and extreme amount of explosives there and cordon off a five-mile perimeter around the crater.

Before I answer your question, let me ask you one: Does it really matter if the light is on inside your refrigerator after you close the door? I mean how much electricity does it take? You waste at least that much growing those plants in the closet that you keep locked.

No, Bryce Harper has not had hair implants. They have tried giving him personality implants, but they didn’t take.

Ha! About the same time that we get safe self-driving cars. Which will be long after Hell freezes over.

No, that dress does not make you look fat.

You’re supposed to sniff the glue, not drink it. There’s the danger that your mouth will get closed up permanently. Say, maybe that isn’t such a bad idea.

It was banned in California by Mission priests, but only until 1834, because some waltzers had the audacity to touch in public.

No, it doesn’t happen to all men, and it really is a big problem.

White House Issues Guidelines on Cannibalism

BY STEVE BATES

The Trump Administration today released new guidelines on cannibalism because of the damaging effects of the coronavirus on the U.S. meatpacking industry.

Some meat processing plants are closed temporarily because of a shortage of healthy, willing workers. Supplies of fresh and frozen beef, chicken, pork, emu, ostrich, possum, squirrel, woodchuck and other edible animals are scarce. In addition, greedy, thoughtless Democrats have been clearing supermarket shelves and hoarding meat items so that others in greater need cannot find them and therefore risk starvation.

In what the White House called a “sad but predictable American tradition,” some people are turning to cannibalism to ensure that their dietary needs are met.

“We don’t suggest that Americans eating other Americans should be the first option,” said President Donald J. Trump. “In fact, we would prefer that such actions be a last resort.”

Top government officials suggested these alternatives to cannibalism:

  • Cooking cherished family pets. “Give them a kind going-away ceremony,” suggested Vice President Mike Pence. “Make it a special event, and a bonding experience, for the whole family.”
  • Chewing on leather clothing and car seats. “A little A1 steak sauce helps,” noted Trump.
  • Eating every other day. “Try drinking heavily on the days you can’t eat,” said Pence. “Keep in mind that beer meets most nutritional needs.”
  • Consuming vegetables and grains. “Aw, who are we kidding?” said Trump. “Not going to happen.”

Administration officials conceded that these steps will not work for everyone. Therefore, they said, consider these suggestions for consuming human flesh:

  • Avoid eating people who have contracted the coronavirus, “unless they are asymptomatic or in the very early stages,” said Pence.
  • Avoid eating people who have been dead more than five days. “The health dangers to the eater begin multiply,” said Trump, though he noted that maggots make a fine dish prepared with a white wine sauce. “Excellent. Really tremendous.”
  • Avoid murdering healthy people, particularly wealthy Republicans. “I hate to say it,” said the president, “but this might be one time when illegal immigrants might be of some use. Just make sure you don’t get caught.”
  • For snacks, try bits of some of your least valuable organs. “Who really needs two kidneys?” said Pence.
  • Avoid old people. “They tend to be tough and stringy,” said Trump. “And, they tend to vote Republican, so we need them alive until Election Day.”
  • Seek volunteers from friends and family members. If that fails, draw straws or try Russian Roulette to determine the person who will be sacrificed for the greater good.

We’re Not Here for You

BY STEVE BATES

As CEO of GigantiCorp, I feel it is my duty to bombard you with e-mails and smarmy TV ads informing you about what my company is doing for you in these extremely difficult times.

In short: Nothing.

You might have heard that we fired most of our 75,000 worldwide employees in early March. Once again, this action demonstrated how prescient our executives are in spotting trends and reacting diligently, far sooner than our pitiful competitors. Some misinformed people and hateful journalists portrayed this action as cruel and unnecessary. In reality, we spared these workers from the dangers of working in close quarters in our factories and warehouses, where disease spreads so readily. As you might have read, our facilities lack of proper ventilation, and employees are required to touch their faces in an act of obedience every time they see a supervisor. (The fact their leaders carry whips is irrelevant. Those are for scaring rats away from valuable products.)

You can be assured that our products and services will continue to be available, though at massively inflated prices. Many of the millions of ventilators, face shields and N95 protective masks we have stockpiled in our warehouses around the world are destined for the black market, but we will allow U.S. states to bid against one another feverishly—I like that word—for the few dregs we will release to the general public.

Some of the employees we retained are working 24/7 in a concealed “back room” executing timely scams related to the Chinese Virus. They are seated close enough to each other to touch elbows and other appendages; we view this as a way to boost camaraderie.

Our consulting services will also continue, though on a limited basis. Only employees already infected and showing symptoms will be available for site visits. Please go to our website to schedule these visits while the consultants can still draw breaths.

Some of you have asked about my welfare and that of my family. I can assure you that I am struggling with the implications of the Chinese Virus just like you are. When my friends in Congress alerted me and other top GigantiCorp executives in January that a horrendous pandemic was coming, I, like them, had reservations about dumping millions of dollars in petroleum stocks as well as selling off my restaurants and retail operations. In addition, I was forced to deal with the significant burden deciding where to re-invest my ill-gotten profits.

Ultimately, my purchase of a secret, pristine private island in the South Pacific turned out to be a prudent investment. I am retiring there with a select number of my former wives and my children—the ones whose names I can remember. Mines protect the island form intruders on all sides, and a missile defense system should be able to handle any other uninvited guests.

I must add that I can relate to those of you who believe that the Chinese Virus is merely a hoax or is a product of bitter, loser Democrats and their allies in the Deep State. To you true believers I can only say: There is a bridge in Brooklyn that I would like to sell you.

A Child’s Letter to Santa

Dear Santa.

I have been verry gude this year. I would like you to brng me some dirt. Specilly, dirt on the Bidens.

That would be coole cause the guys who werk in this bilding say I can expect a peach mint soon. I don’t like mints, specilly peach mints. Already they tell me I have a probblem with molu mints. I nevver hear of molu mints. They sound spensive.

They are even talking bout a trial. I don’t want a trial. I can’t sit stil for long, specially wif peopl watching me. My bon spurs hurt. And my hare starts to wilt. Thank you for sending me that hare coloor last Xmas. Come to think of it, it was kinda peach coloor. Maybe a differnt coloor this year.

Joe Biden is the baddest guy. Don’t brng him nothing gude. He sent lots of emales this year, which we all knowe Hillary did and so it must be bad. And his friends work at a piza place in the city wheere they do bad things to kids. And his son shoots wild annimals, I think. They call him a hunterr.

The peopl in You Krane are verry bad two. They have lots of dirt on the Bidens and won’t give it two me. The Bidens are soo dirty that they haf to take too baths evry day! But pleas give me some of that dirt so I can spred it.

Obama is verry bad two. He tried to make peopl go to docters. I don’t like docters. They tell me I am two fat. So get rid of docters pleas this year.

One moer thing Santa. Peopl are verry unhapy now. We need to hep them. Can you pleas send us Jesus Christ again. He can hep verry much.

Becaus I think I need a new runing mate.

Thanks.

Donald J. Trump

I Am the Deep State

BY STEVE BATES

I am the Deep State. I am out to get Donald Trump. He will never find me.

I manipulated the transcript of a seemingly innocuous phone call to make it appear that there was some sort of improper motive in my effort to get Ukraine to root out corruption. In fact, it was the Deep State’s corruption that Ukraine is hiding, along with that of Quid Pro Joe Biden and Biden’s crooked son.

For years, I have buried my agents in the lamestream news media. Sleeper cells in all the major news networks—even Fox News—are now doing my bidding, as are well-groomed writers and editors at the failing liberal newspapers. The media are warping Trump’s words and deeds to suggest, if not outright claim, that he did something wrong.

There was one close call. A few years ago, brave Americans nearly uncovered my conspiracy to make sex slaves of children in the back of a Washington, D.C., pizza parlor. But I managed to whisk away the helpless children and the Democratic predators just in time.

The real Obama birth certificate.

In the minutes after the 2012 attack on our embassy in Benghazi, Libya, I cleansed the scene of evidence that should have incriminated Hillary Clinton for ordering that horrific assault on United States diplomats and other innocent people. I ignored the dying Americans in the process.

I stole and destroyed documents and bribed or threatened many an official to cover up the most heinous act of treason in the past century—the improper use of an email account by Hillary. That might have been my finest hour.

Getting Obamacare enacted was difficult, but because I had spent decades hiding loopholes in the rules and procedures for Congress, a small number of evil Democrats were able to push through this affront to all that is good and holy in this country. Who can measure the damage that has been inflicted on the U.S. by my insistence that people with pre-existing medical conditions have health coverage.

It was easy for me to produce a fraudulent birth certificate claiming that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii. Removing all the evidence of his actual birth in Kenya was more challenging, but there is nothing I will not do to protect the rich, atheist, socialist Democratic elites and punish the honest, hard-working, God-fearing Republicans of this country.

Having not the slightest fear of exposure, I caused the Great Recession, just because I could get away with it.

It was I who planted the Iran-Contra scandal in the Reagan administration, providing the only blemish on an otherwise glorious eight years of right-wing rule.

I persuaded the Japanese to attack Pearl Harbor. I sank American ships in countless wars. I danced with glee when brave men and women perished.

I am the deep State. I am out to get Donald Trump.

He will never find me, because I exist only in his mind.

Trump’s Ten Commandments

BY STEVE BATES

The following is the text of Executive Order 666 signed today President Trump, updating the Ten Commandments for contemporary needs.

1 You shall have no other presidents but me.

The restriction on serving two four-year terms is hereby eliminated.

2 You shall not make for yourself any idol, nor bow down to it or worship it.

Unless, of course, it is in my image.

3 You shall not misuse the name of the president.

It’s trademarked, you know. I am a franchise.

4 You shall remember and keep Election Day holy.

Registered Republicans who fail to vote face deportation to s—hole countries.

5 Respect your father and mother.

Unless they are Democrats.

6 You must not commit murder.

One exception: Me, on Fifth Avenue.

7 You must not commit adultery.

I, however, can run wild.

8 You must not steal.

Unless it’s an election, and I’m behind.

9 You must not give false evidence against your neighbor.

Exceptions allowed for grand jury testimony by my current and former cronies.

10 You must not be envious of your neighbor’s possessions.

However, the IRS has carte blanche. Especially against my enemies.

Freezing Illegal Immigration

BY STEVE BATES

The In Sight blog has been granted an exclusive tour of a prototype 800,000-square-foot migrant holding facility here in the boder town of Nogirlies, Texas. Our guide is ICE Interim Assistant Deputy Undersecretary Dudley Force.

“It’s awfully cold in here, Mr. Interim Assistant Deputy Undersecretary.”

“That’s because we have nearly 4,000 migrants frozen in these mammoth blocks of ice. We have to keep them from thawing. And you can just call me Interim.”

“Thanks, Interim. You can just call me the In Sight blog. Did I just hear you say that you have  people frozen in ice?”

New Kids in the Block

“Yes. We have a humanitarian crisis because so many people are arriving illegally. We tried keeping them in jails, in tents and in school gyms–even dumping them at McDonalds in the hope that they would get hired or simply hang out there indefinitely. There’s just too many migrants. And this border with the Evil Empire of Central America is ground zero.”

“Um, isn’t that Mexico right beyond that imaginary Wall?”

“Mexico. Central America. All the same. Bad hombres.”

“If you say so. Now, how does freezing people address the humanitarian crisis?”

“You and other Enemies of the State who write fake news have obsessed over our practice of separating children from their parents. Here, they remain in close proximity. Look, we’re thawing out a woman and her four children who are scheduled for a hearing on their spurious asylum claim. They’re far from separated.”

“Yes, I see that they are stuck together.”

“A temporary problem. We have staffers with blowtorches who can fix that.”

“Isn’t it dangerous to freeze people in ice?”

“You know, we didn’t think about that. We just saw a problem and decided to act decisively. Our president likes that kind of decision making.”

“Does it hurt when they are frozen and thawed out?

“Well, it might. But we have to do something to deter illegal immigration. And look: This family that has been frozen for three weeks looks as good as new. I’m sure that their vision and motor skills will return soon.”

“I notice that their skin has been bleached white by spending so much time in ice.”

“Just a fortunate side effect.”

“How did you come up with the idea of freezing migrants?”

“We are ICE, after all. We thought: Why not live up to the name?”

 “I heard a rumor that the president is going to tour this facility next week.”

“More fake news. Off the record, he keeps getting confused by the names ICE and ISIS.”

“What’s that siren for?”

“Head for the shelter! He must be bombing us again!”

Dear Graduates: Good Luck. You’ll Need It.

BY STEVE BATES

I am honored to be the featured speaker at today’s graduation ceremony here at Whatsamatta U. I hope that every one of you in the audience today enjoys a successful and rewarding future. But let’s face it, the chances of that happening are close to zero.

Let’s start with perhaps the biggest challenge you face: climate change. How many of you are engineers or environmental scientists? I count maybe four hands. That’s sad. Someone has to fix this problem. Heck, now that we know that wind turbines cause cancer, there are few options left that might slow or reverse the disastrous impact that humans are having on the planet.

It will take leadership. But look at the political environment today. We see increased polarization between the left and right in Washington. And that divide reflects an equally strong split among Americans in general. It seems like half the country are godless, fire-breathing, radical, hippie socialists who eat unborn babies, while the other half are evangelical, ultra-conservative, keep-your-hands-off-my-millions cave dwellers who eat dinner at 4:30.

What little leadership we have might soon be preoccupied with sending more Americans off to fight wars with North Korea, Iran and Mexico. Mexico? Got to stop those godless, fire-breathing, radical, hippie, socialist immigrants from sneaking into the country and stealing all those low-paying jobs that no one else will take.

Maybe, you think, these problems have little to do with you. Perhaps you are more concerned about paying the rent and those massive student loans. Ah, I see that the words “student loans” have gotten your attention—even from a few of you who had been dozing in the back. Well, I am here to announce that I intend to pay off none of your loans. Your problem.

As you try to establish your careers, avoid fentanyl overdoses and unwanted pregnancies, and generally find your places in this messed-up world, I offer this perspective: As bad as things are now, they can only get worse.

You might become the top hedge fund manager or establish new records in arena football. You might discover new cancer treatments or sell more paintings than Picasso. But along the way your knees and back will begin to ache, and before you know it you’ll be discussing things like long-term-care insurance and do-not-resuscitate orders.

I suspect that there is one burning question before you right now. Why in God’s name am I here giving this non-inspirational address today? The answer is twofold: One, I came cheap. And two, the administrators here at Whatsamatta U. decided that it would be best to feature a speaker who embodies everything that went wrong in the past several decades. As a Baby Boomer, I and my generation are totally responsible for f-ing up your world.

So, get out there and do just the opposite of what us old farts have done. It’s your only chance.