Soylent Red, White and Blue

A modest proposal for those wacky pranksters in Austin. Bon appétit!

Soylent Red, White and Blue
Pest control needed...urgently.

Every week, I pretty much find a reason to sit out on my deck with a glass of wine, or a margarita, and explain to Karen that I'm thinking about what to write this week. And she buys that. Did I say every week? I of course meant every day.

And this week it worked, albeit for a short essay. Well, you'll be the judge of that, but I saw something that made me do some research on things she and I have wondered about for years. In fact, I have told her that when and if I get to heaven, I have some questions, if I may be so presumptuous. Oh, yeah, serious ones like why famine, shootings, war, disease, Kenny G? But then there are the common ones we all wonder about.

Why gnats, mosquitos and flies?

Now, I always ask, but never remember to do any research. Today though, I was sitting at sunset, drinking, contemplating, and then drinking some more, when I noticed one of those weird gnat clusters hovering over some pretty yellow bushes in our garden. And I watched as they just flew helter-skelter with no apparent purpose, around, up, down, in and out. What I found out was, it's all about sex.

"Hey, baby. check this out."

The gnats in the cluster are all guys. And they cluster like this, hovering over a visible place, like a yellow bush, to attract females. So, essentially, they are hundreds of tiny John Travoltas hanging out at the disco to hook up with a babe. The females see them, fly into the cluster and mate. Now, I know you saw this coming, so all together...yes, it is a genuine clusterf*ck. Oh, and then they lay eggs and die. That's an existence almost as purposeless as being Scott Baio.

Like gnats with a man-bun.

So what's the reason for their existence? Oh, there's a little pollination going on, but mainly, they are food. They exist to be eaten by birds, frogs, and other animals. They have no other purpose in their lives.

That is the reason the other pests I mentioned are around as well. Those little flying Draculas that make life miserable in the summer, and spread disease while they are at it? Yes, Mosquitos are also primarily a food source. So, why do they have to be so painful in the process? Yet another heavenly question if I ever get the chance.

"Why the hell am I here?"

You can add in crane flies, those semi-mosquitos that don't sting. They just flutter around annoyingly until something eats them. They live such short lives they don't eat or defecate. They just mate, make more crane flies that live a couple of days and wait to be gobbled up at nature's all-you-can-eat buffet.

"I'm just here to buzz around your face while you're doing 75 on the Interstate."

So why am I explaining all this? Well I was thinking the other day about a satirical piece written by Jonathan Swift back in 1729 called "A Modest Proposal." It was an essay borne of his frustration with the complaints from the rich about the Irish and their multitude of brats. Think Monty Python.

Well Swift had the idea that if these sons and daughters of Eire were so bothersome to the landed gentry then why not do something useful with them? Why not eat them? He wrote with a mock serious, hyperbolically heartless tone as a parody of the kind of whining he was hearing about how the Irish kids were such a burden on society. Nowadays, he'd write for The Onion.

This idea was taken to a science fiction extreme in the film "Soylent Green." Society is suffering the effects of climate change and running out of food. So, the Jonathan Swift solution is, eat people.  And only Moses can save us.

So, again, why am I bringing this up? Our fellow Outlaw Writer and excellent reporter Jim Moore wrote a great piece this week about the Texas Legislature. The state's largest, biennial floating crap game is back in session offering a host of bills designed to either do nothing but show off for an adoring base, or actively do harm to our educational and electoral systems. It's a good read. He covers those Republicans like our execrable Governor and Lieutenant Governor who are the clueless ringleaders of a group seemingly hell-bent on heavenly-intended mischief, and those useless drones in the beehive, the Democrats, who are as capable as Stan Laurel in a physics lab.

So, my Swiftian proposal is to eat them before they can hurt us anymore. Radical? I suppose in a, you know, decent, human way. But you must admit, it would be effective. Think of that pink slime McDonalds used to use.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Texas Senate. 

I know, we'd have to look after their families, but a big, steaming batch of legislative nuggets would mean the state would be safe for another two years. And, we could throw in members of Congress as well. A Big McConnell Mac with a Schumer shake on the side would hit the spot for a weary nation. In the case of one notorious legislator, who lately has opined that adoptive and step-parents aren't really parents, the glue factory might be more appropriate.

But I say, if we're going to talk about term limits, let's really make them TERM LIMITS! Politics is about giving the people what they want. So let's serve it with fries.

Why not consider it? Even though at our next picnic, the gnats, mosquitos and flies will be buzzing around our big batch of soylent red, white and blue.

Roger Gray has toiled at the journalism trade since 1970 and his first radio news job at KTRH in Houston. Over those woefully misspent years, he has worked in radio, TV and written for magazines. He was twice elected President of the Texas Automobile Writers Association and was elected to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. He covered the first Persian Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, Oslo Accords in Israel and peace talks in Ireland. He interviewed writers, actors, politicians and every President from Ford to George W, and none of them remember him.
Now, he is part of the Texas Outlaw Writers, and if this doesn't pan out, the outlaw part will still work as he will indeed resort to robbing banks.