California Wife Who Killed, Cooked Husband Seeks Parole
I was casually browsing the internet when I came across a regular feature on Yahoo! called, NEWS FOR YOU, something of a condensed version of the day’s most notable events. To my profound amazement, it consisted of the following list. Please read it carefully.
• CALIFORNIA WIFE WHO KILLED, COOKED HUSBAND SEEKS PAROLE
• NO SPORT, JUST SEX FOR BASKETBALL STAR
• HOW DID BUCKINGHAM PALACE MISS A CORPSE ROTTING A HUNDRED YARDS AWAY
• BANK AMERICA TO SHUT DOWN LENDING DIVISION
• NEW HAMPSHIRE OFFICIAL: HUSBAND KILLS WIFE WHO STRANGLED SON
• 5 ARRESTED IN PERU SEX SLAVERY RAID
• RESEARCH REVEALS ORAL SEX MAY BE LEADING CAUSE OF THROAT, MOUTH CANCERS
• BOY LOCKED IN COFFIN IN PENNSYLVANIA HOME; POLICE SEEK PARENTS
• SOUTH AFRICA REJECTS 10 MILLION CHINESE CONDOMS—TOO SMALL
My first thought was that when some future historian wrote The Decline and Fall of Western Civilization, this list (unadorned and unexplained) could serve as the book’s preface. Not because it was representative of what was happening at this particular moment in time, but because someone working at Yahoo! had decided that this was what their customers wanted to read. A frightening thought! And what if it was true?
I set out at once to analyze the headlines, breaking them down by category. Of the nine total, five involved violence, three involved sex and one was about the collapse of the American banking system. This told me three things: one, people are obsessed with sex and violence; two, people are only mildly concerned about the imminent collapse of our financial institutions; and three…um, the third would be…uh…whoops.
Then I began to wonder if, aside from the Bank America story, any of these headlines was based in actual fact. I decided to pick one at random and research it in depth. Here are the results:
Size-wise, the Chinese condoms were indeed more suitable for a parakeet than a human being. But even worse, they were impregnated with several undesirable substances, including a thin coating of radioactive lead.
After weeks of emails, phone calls and faxes, I was finally able to get Chung Ho, the CEO of LPCC (the Life Prevention Company of China) on the telephone.
“Is it true,” I asked him, “that your condoms were found to be coated with radioactive lead?”
“Yes,” he admitted, “but only on the outside. The fact is, once those condoms are boiled overnight in Clorox, they are perfectly safe. As we speak the South African government is being sued for prophylactic profiling.”
“What about the pesticides?” I asked him.
“Yes,” I said, “and the rat matter. And the dog hairs?”
“Allow me to respectfully inform you that no rat feces or pesticides have ever been found in our condoms. You were, thinking, I am sure, of a small problem we experienced last year with our Chow Doun Baby Food™ division.”
“Yes, Mr. Ho, I remember that now. My apologies.”
“Accepted. I cannot emphasize enough that there was absolutely no linkage between the condoms and the baby-food—rat matter and pesticide-wise. And dog hairs,” he added, “are a highly effective aphrodisiac. Which is why, here in China, we call the dog: ‘Man’s Best Friend’.”
With friends like you, I thought, who needs enemies.
As part of my research I had discovered that LPCC was merely a subsidiary of a much larger corporation: CCCC (the Cheap Chinese Crap Company), which among other things, manufactured Lawn Toys, Baby Aspirin, Sulfuric Acid, Disposable Christmas Ornaments and Flame-Retardant Pajamas.
“What about CCCC, Mr. Ho,” I said, “your parent company. They’ve had their share of scandals as well, have they not?”
“‘Scandal’ is far too strong a word.”
“You don’t think all those drownings were scandalous?” I asked, referring to the backyard plastic swimming pools they sold.
“Accidents,” Mr. Ho said dismissively. “Or the fault of negligent parents. You must remember, all we are selling these people are large pieces of plastic; they are the ones who put the water in.”
“But, Mr. Ho,” I insisted, “you have to admit, a fifty per cent mortality rate is pretty high.”
“Fifty, forty, five, ten,” Mr. Ho said airily, “these are just numbers.”
“And what about the slides?” I asked.
“What about them?”
“Didn’t they find razor blades embedded in those slides? I read that several children were cut up pretty badly.”
“Those were not razor blades. They were merely minor imperfections in the metal slide material, causing a few children (those not wearing protective jumpsuits, I might point out) to receive minor cuts and abrasions.”
“I heard there was blood, Mr. Ho. Lots of it.”
“Lots? Mr. Ho asked. “Are those not what you decadent capitalists build your houses upon?”
This Mr. Ho, I realized, was a pretty slippery character, but I was determined to pin him down. “All right, Mr. Ho, I’m willing to accept all that, but you still can’t explain away all those ‘live tests’ you did on your Flame-Retardant pajamas.”
“Those tests,” Mr. Ho said indignantly, “were done on dogs, not humans.”
“And you don’t think it’s wrong to throw dogs onto a fire?”
“Most of those dogs,” he pointed out, “were wearing the Flame Retardant pajamas.”
“And none of them were injured?”
“Only a few.”
“And what happened to them, Mr. Ho? Don’t you realize that Westerners find this sort of thing highly offensive?”
“Yes, all your decadent bee-hugger ecologists, who want their cake, but don’t want to eat it. Well, in this case, even they will be happy. Those animals did not go to waste. In the interests of saving the planet, we have recycled them into our newest Cantonese specialty: Bow Wow Fu Yung.”