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September 11, 2002
It's September 11, which means that I'm required by the rules of decency to say something about the senseless slayings that happened a year ago. I should say some kind words of comfort for all of us that were affected. I should say some encouraging words about the strength of America.

But I'm the Grumpy Conservative. I'm going to bag on something.

Analogy 1. You probably don't know this, but wasps all over the world face my place to pray. They do. Five times a day. Wasps save all their lives to make pilgrimmages to my little farm. The gates and fences and buildings on my place have more wasps than Clinton has excuses. I knew that when I moved in and I just left them alone. As long as I didn't bother them, they wouldn't bother me.

Then one day my little girl was just walking by a window and a wasp stung her. I now have a new philosophy. Any wasp or wasp nest that I find on my place is destroyed. I use chemicals, I smash them with boards, I crush them while they're sleeping, I set traps, and I kill their children. And sometimes in my quest to destroy them, I get stung. But any wasp I know about gets destroyed.

Now, you might argue that the wasps only sting because they know I want to kill them. You may argue that I will probably never get the wasp that stung my child. You may argue that the wasps were there before me. You might point out that I'll never find all the wasps and I'll never eliminate wasps from the planet. You may tell me that by going after them I give them more reason to come after me. You may urge me to leave them alone and try to live in peace. I have a carefully thought-out, logical answer to all those arguments:

Any wasp I know about gets destroyed.

Analogy 2. I have a dog. I don't know why anybody would have a dog. How does that conversation go? Honey, the kids left their expensive toys outside and they didn't get chewed up. We need to get a dog. Sweetheart, can we get a dog so we can have those lovely dead spots on our lawn? Hey, Dear, I have an idea, when I'm all dressed up in my suit I can walk from the door to the car without getting dog slobber on my crotch. I'll bet if we had a dog, that would remedy that problem. Why in the name of Sweet Willy Wonka anybody would willingly have a dog eludes me, but I have a dog.

Since I have a dog, I have to be very careful about mowing my lawn. I'll be mowing the lawn and come upon a gift left by the mutt, and I'll start cussing the worthless creature. The kids will see that I'm displeased, and they'll go over and thump the dog. Bad dog! The dog is going "Huh?" (kinda' sounds like Scooby Doo). "What'd I do?"

See, if you could catch the dog every time it's squatting on the lawn and give it a thump, maybe eventually it would make the connection. But seconds afterwards is just too late.

Terrorists are like wasps and dogs in that they have very small brains. A mushroom cloud over Kabul about noon Eastern time on 9/11/01 would have sent a very strong message. Every day that passed after that cut the effectiveness of that message in half.

Analogy 3. Be careful of analogies. Kids should be involved in sports. In playing sports you learn to cooperate. You learn to set a goal and work toward it. You learn to sacrifice and ignore pain. You learn to deal with defeat. You learn to not fear competition. Sports are an excellent metaphor for everything we do in life. That's the analogy. The reality? Think of the guy in your neighorhood who is a real sports guy. He's an @$$hole, am I right?

Frank Leany

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