By Scott Sullivan
I knew Rand Paul would show up on my imagined South Pole trip paralleling Ron and Maggie Conklin’s real one. (See Page A6)
I was there, dropped off by The Beatles’ Yellow Submarine on Cape Horn, marked with a red “S” John said stood for Stupid. With that in front and Cape behind I was Superman in his Fortress of Solitude. Delta Blues King Robert Johnson joined me. Albert Einstein and Phillip Glass were on the beach talking opera.
“Five hours, repetitive, plotless,” I told Glass. “Love it. You call this Solitude, though? Some Fortress.”
“No one knows numbers — musical, mathematical, our hard-earned tax dollars … like I do,” Paul piped in. Right, Albert?”
“Your very presence is inflation,” said Einstein.
“You’re just like your Pa, Libertarian Pope Ron Paul,” Glass told Rand. “A career pol whining about how government squanders private gains stolen fair and square while amassing benefits all U.S. senators (12 terms for your dad, three so far for you) believe is their due. Plus you’re a doctor. Fix enough things you can President.”
“We’re all in a fix because there is precedent,” I added. “In the present moment our molecular structures are frozen and the Tierra del Fuego Tiger wants to play with the yarn ball Maggie didn’t buy in Ushuaia a few miles yonder.”
“How many,” said Einstein, “is relative.”
“She and Ron climbed an Andes foothill, found the yarn shop closed and consoled themselves draining a dram of Jameson’s at the nearby Sir Ernest Shackleton monument. You should have been there.”
“You weren’t,” said Paul.
“Exactly. It goes back to i, the imaginary number constant on which quantum computing hinges. Music, numbers, politics, hard-earned tax dollars, all are circular,” I expounded.
Einstein and Glass exchanged glances, then ate a peach apiece. Paul was appalled. “To imply,” he said, “that I supported arguments to overturn the election is a lie.”
“Don’t you mean ‘electron?’” I asked. “Let’s get back to atomic structures. Ron Paul, Rand Paul, Ayn Rand, Paul Ryan, Rick Perry … would you call this concurrence coincidence?”
“I pose well for pictures,” he parried.
Too bad I’d sunk my camera in the Antarctic, Atlantic and/or Arctic oceans, they all flow together. “Got a cell?” I asked Paul.
“Do I ever.”
“I mean like in cellphone camera, not ‘sell’ like Pope Ron Popiel. ‘Veg-O-Matic: It slices, it dices! Wait, there’s more! Introducing the Ronco Pocket Fisherman!’ Cutting-edge marketing.”
“I overheard you talk earlier about types of Supermen,” Paul said. “Would you be a Joel Spiegel cartoon kind? Wagner opera hero? Nietszche’s Zarathustra? Steve Reeves paralyzed actor type?”
“None,” I said. “The ‘S’ stands for spreading stupidity. The Beatles had no clue I’d find a Bowling Green, Ky. eye doctor turned Senate scion on the Americas’ bitter-cold southern tip.”
“My M.D.’s from Duke,” Paul said. “I didn’t graduate from Baylor, but Pa was a Duke alum with D.C. connections.”
“My B.A.’s from Purdue,” I said. “We beat your Blue Devils in basketball 77-56 two months ago. So there.”
“I diagnose you’re defensive,” said Paul. “Not me. I have voted against defense budgets.”
“Good luck with mainstream Republicans,” I cautioned, “who’d squander more on our heroes who put themselves in harm’s way to defend our freedoms. Think they’re suckers and losers?”
“I never said that,” he said. “To imply I supported …”
“The ex-Pres you opposed, then sucked up to, did. Want real private money? Look at quantum computing: calculating with two or more unknown variables. Airbus, Amadeus Capital, Bezos, Bloomberg, Bosch, Comcast, Google … are in on it. What do they know about risk-return calculations? Horizon, In-Q-Tel, Lockheed Martin, Elon Musk, Maverick and Octopus Ventures, Oxford Sciences …”
“You have my votes …” he said.
“You have more than one?”
“… if they give me PAC money.”
“Quantum computing, pa!” I betrayed Paul” confidence. “They’ve been trying since Richard Feynman and Yuri Manin in the 1980s. Two inconstants is too many. Squander your own bucks vying to stroke and soak each other’s egos — Wait, there’s more — while computing null.”
“They’ll make it work,” Paul said. “Just wait.”
“Gotta love an optimist,” I conceded. “With a cellphone I’d shoot your Paul for Prez posters framed by ice floes and penguins, the new Shackleton on a quest to polarize.”
“Jimmy John’s. I’m back,” cried the youth, pulling up in his Zodiac with more sandwiches.
“Got a Billy Club?” Paul asked. Then youth whacked him with a nightstick. “I mean Billy Club Sandwich; roast beef, ham, provolone …”
“I did till a polar bear ate it,” the lad lamented.
“They only live near the North Pole,” I said. “It may have actually been the Tierra del Fuego Tiger bearing down on you. Often they’re mistaken.”
“This whole thing’s mistaken. Hand me a Jameson’s,” Paul said.
Ron and Maggie hadn’t come back. Too much left to see.
By Scott Sullivan