Keeping up on policy is so very important today that one must employ a personal wonk to straighten out the windmills of your mind. Mine is named Weldon. Yeah, that’s right, Weldon the Wonk. I got him at a curious little shoppe that sells the kind of worthless stuff that retains 100% of its worthlessness even after sitting in a shed for two hundred years. I actually had a choice, there was a Fairy Godmother perched on a lower shelf, but I couldn’t think of anything fun to do with him. He was cranky so I assumed he was a liberal and who needs one of those around the house. Weldon is apolitical, agreeable, affordable, and asexual. He has an accent, I think it is agogic.
I keep Weldon handy when scouring the WWW dot for something decent to read in the morning. Sometimes, through the steam of my coffee, we notice an article entitled “The Truth about Unintended Consequences” Weldon might say, “Don’t bother, it’s all bull—-!”, and instantly one of my windmill blades goes straight. At my age there is gratification even in symbolic straightening.
Weldon is smallish, his face is shaped like that guy on MSNBC, Chris Hayes, who I think is Rachel Maddow’s little sister. Weldon looks older than 75, so I keep him out of sight when Ezekiel Emmanuel might be in the neighborhood seeking to kill those of a geriatric condition. That’s okay, I’ve learned to enjoy feeling like an outlaw in my own country; I become one with women who drank liquor during prohibition. Who wouldn’t like that?
Weldon is a poor driver but I let him do it anyway. Most people are on the phone, texting, reading a book, or applying makeup while driving so nobody notices. He comes in handy, like at my bank last week. Behind the teller there was a sign, one of those three TV screen jobs, declaring “Unity through Diversity”. Sorry, struck me as odd, strange, out of place, stupid. “Really?” I said, and the teller drew herself up to all of her five feet three inches, puffed herself out to all of her 189 pounds, bobbled her head like she was experiencing a personal earthquake, and said, “That’s right.” The free space in her head left room for extra challenge in her voice. The irony of the moment, our diverse opinions had not contributed one iota of unity to this situation, was lost upon her. I had my money, so I didn’t care. She continued to sort of roll the way a plate of Jell-O does as you carry it out to the patio on the Fourth of July. Do you care what the Jell-O thinks? Me neither. I was only surprised that this particular plate of Jell-O could complete a financial transaction; that hardly ever happens.
So I turned away, already thinking about the ways I could blow the money in my hands. That’s when Weldon passed by and said “Hey, boss.” Now, don’t you just love that? I hadn’t even noticed him, I mean who ever notices a Wonk? And that “boss” part, I could just kiss him.
“Madam”, he said, “The lad was only pointing out that u-ni-ty, ˈyo͞onədē/, is a noun defined as “the state of being united, or joined as a whole, while di·ver·si·ty, dəˈvərsədē,dīˈvərsədē, is the state of being diverse. Now we must look into diversity’s root word, di·verse,dəˈvərs,dīˈvərs/, an adjective defined as “very different”. If we imagine a diverse society we would see people milling around, bumping into each other, all different but all blind to the overwhelming amount of human qualities we all share. Chaos would ensue. An imagined united society would be cohesive, in agreement, harmonious. It can’t be day and night at the same time, so your sign is meaningless, and I should think a bank would be circumspect when handling both money and words.”
Wow. I don’t know how he pulled off that “dəˈvərsədē” part; it must be a characteristic of wonkese. I didn’t get a word he said, and I don’t think Jell-O lady got it either, but then Jell-O has rarely displayed an impressive array of cognitive skills. It is the perfect food for University Presidents, and I hope she is cautious if ever invited for dinner at a college.
I let Weldon drive again. It seemed a quiet way of thanking him. It must be hard being a wonk; I mean all of that accumulated knowledge with no place to go, no one listening. It occurred to me that nothing in the world is as ignorable, as dull as, a wonk. I bought him an ice cream and we sat quietly on a park bench. I realized that although I didn’t understand a word he said to the Jell-O, kind of lost me at “lad”, he was trying to defend me in some way, to defend at least a pretense of rational thought. I asked him about that and he agreed that I was at least a pretense of rational thought. That seemed nice of him. Then he looked off in the distance. I sensed he was carefully, almost sadly, about to offer a veiled truth. I patiently anticipated through an extended fermata.
“Don’t bother, it’s all bull—-!” he said.
I nodded and forgot about the whole thing.