Tales of Terror
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When I was a kid I read the horror comics that were supposed to rot my brain. This could explain everything.
William Gaines, publisher of the infamous E.C. Comics and Mad magazine, presented to young, impressionable minds, Tales from the Crypt, The Vault of Horror, and The Haunt of Fear. Each Terror Tale was introduced by The Vault Keeper, The Old Witch, or my favorite, The Crypt Keeper.
As Stephen King recounts in his book Danse Macabre:
“One typical E.C. screamer goes like this: The hero’s wife and her boyfriend determine to do away with the hero so they can run away together and get married. … These two heels, who might have stepped whole and breathing from a James M. Cain novel, take the poor slob of a husband for a ride and the boyfriend puts a bullet between his eyes. They wire a cement block to the corpse’s leg and toss him over a bridge into the river.
Two or three weeks later, our hero, a living corpse, emerges from the river, rotted and eaten by the fish. He shambles after wifey and her friend …and not to invite them back to his place for a few drinks, either, one feels. One piece of dialogue from this story which I’ve never forgotten is, “I am coming, Marie, but I have to come slowly … because little pieces of me keep falling off …”
Scary stuff for little kids growing up in the 50’s. Almost as bad as Duck and Cover.
But for sheer terror … The stories The Crypt Keeper told were harmless Fairy Tales when compared to what the insane Dominican Nuns told the young, impressionable minds under their care.
This is what Sister Mary Sinister told a roomful of seven year old kids 50 years ago:
Imagine a steel ball the size of the earth.
Every thousand years a sparrow flies down and sharpens its beak upon the huge steel ball.
Whick … Whick
And then flies away.
The time it takes for the sparrow to wear away that immense steel ball to nothing … That would be … ONE DAY IN HELL!
Pretty Scary huh?
But the story the insane Dominican nun told that caused me the most dread … that gave me the most fear-filled sleepless nights and panic-induced stomach-aches, was this:
There are Two Trains. Train A, traveling 70 miles per hour, leaves Westford heading toward Eastford, 260 miles away. At the same time Train B, traveling 60 mph, leaves Eastford heading toward Westford. When do the two trains meet and how far from each city do they meet?
As far as I’m concerned, the most bloodcurdling stories ever told begin with the words … There Are Two Trains …
But I submit for your consideration, as Rod Serling might say, Americans of voting age have been presented with a variation of this terror tale every 4 years for the last 28 years. This election year’s story goes something like this:
There Are Two Candidates for President.
John McCain, the candidate from the Right, will not withdraw troops from Iraq but proposes an impossible victory in the immoral war the United States began. He does not rule out a war with Iran. He is against universal health care, supports GATT and NAFTA, and his energy policy is dictated by oil and gas-connected contributions to his presidential campaign. He will not restore the Constitution and erroneously believes that the Constitution established the United States of America as a Christian nation.
Barack Obama, the candidate perceived to be A Liberal, proposes keeping troops in Iraq until 2010. Under his “Peace Plan” using previous year’s death rates, we can project that tens of thousands more Iraqis as well as another thousand or so Americans will die. Obama would consider missile strikes on Iran. He does not want to unilaterally reopen negotiations on NAFTA. He does not support a Universal Single Payer Not for Profit Healthcare system. And with his FISA “Compromise” vote … he destroyed the fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
So the problem to be answered, and as the good Dominican nuns admonished, “You must show your work” … Which candidate should Americans vote for who would:
Reverse U.S. policy in the Middle East
Adopt single payer national health insurance
Cut the huge, bloated, wasteful military budget
Say no to nuclear power and Adopt a carbon pollution tax
Crack down on corporate crime and corporate welfare
Defend and Restore the Civil Justice System
And Prosecute the Bush/Cheney Regime
Be sure to include in your calculations that historically Liberals have always derided the Republican Base for consistently voting against their best interests.
Time’s up. Put your pencils down and pass your ballot to the front the class. Oh … I forgot … We don’t have a paper trail so we can’t verify your vote.
It won’t make any difference anyway because … as The Crypt Keeper would say … It was a trick question Boils and Ghouls.
The correct answer is “None of the Above.” We should have voted for Kucinich in the Primary … or Nader in November.
But we’ve been indoctrinated very well. We believe that if we vote for the candidate who represents our interests … that’s “Throwing Your Vote Away.”
And The Crypt Keeper says, “Heh … Heh.“
August 13, 2008