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The end of the world as we know it

The Jacksons from the March 3 issue of the Manitoba Co-operator

Andrew Jackson rolled up his newspaper and flung it across the room, narrowly missing Charles Adler, who paid no mind. There was a moment of silence before anyone spoke.

“I can’t think of a better use for the Winnipeg Sun,” said Brady, sitting next to his wife Amanda who was quietly sipping her tea, “than to fling it at Charles Adler’s head, and I assume that’s why your cat is named Charles Adler in the first place, but still, it is a little dangerous for the cat.”

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cartoon image of a family seated at a table
cartoon image of a family seated at a table
cartoon image of a family seated at a table

Andrew turned his head in the direction his paper had just gone. “Oh,” he said. “I didn’t see him there. I wasn’t flinging the paper at him, per se. I was just flinging the paper randomly in response to some of the news it contains, which seems to me to be a reasonably sane thing to do.”

“Well,” said Brady, “if the news makes you want to fling things, then better to read the paper than watch television. Because that would be dangerous for the cat.”

“If I want to feel like flinging the television,” said Andrew, “I’ll watch the Jets or the Bombers.”

“What’s in the paper,” asked Amanda, “that makes throwing it across the room seem like a good idea? Charles or no Charles,” she added.

Andrew scowled. “Donald Trump,” he said simply.

There was another moment of silence.

“Maybe you should have named the cat Donald Trump,” said Amanda. “Seems to me that would make throwing things at it that much more satisfying.”

Andrew shook his head. “First of all, let me repeat, I didn’t throw my newspaper at the cat. The cat was just randomly there. And secondly, if the cat was named Donald Trump then I would be compelled to fling things at it, which would not be at all fair to the cat. It’s just a cat after all. And as far as I know, far more rational than Donald Trump.”

“That goes without saying,” said Brady. “I have a ball peen hammer that’s more rational than Donald Trump.” He paused. “And it may well have a higher IQ,” he added. He stopped and stared at the lump of orange fur that lay near the rolled-up newspaper, sleeping peacefully in the warmth of the sunshine beaming in through the bay window. “As to the cat,” he said, “it does bear an uncanny resemblance to Donald Trump’s head. It does take an act of will to resist throwing things at it.”

Andrew picked up his coffee cup and took a sip, then set it back down. He stared at it pensively for a moment. “Seriously,” he said. “What is this world coming to?” He looked up as Rose entered the room just at that moment and took a chair at the table across from him.

“The world is coming to ruin,” said Rose. “But then, it always has been. The only difference is that with today’s technology we get to watch it all in glorious Internet technicolor. We are the first generation of human beings to have a clear understanding of the fact that we are doomed.”

“Well, thanks Mom,” said Brady. “We can always count on you to lighten the mood.”

“I was just making an observation,” said Rose. “What were you guys talking about?”

“Donald Trump,” said Amanda. “What were you talking about?”

“I was talking about the recent decline in the quality of toothpicks,” said Rose. “You can’t buy a decent toothpick anymore. Try to get a piece of popcorn residue out from between your teeth and you end up with slivers in your gums and a mouthful of wood chips.”

“It’s the end of the world as we know it,” said Andrew.

“On the bright side,” said Amanda, you can get umpteen flavours of popcorn now, so the stuff that gets stuck in your teeth at least tastes good.”

“I’m sure if Donald Trump becomes president, Mom,” said Brady, “your toothpick woes will be over. He’ll make toothpicks great again. Really great. You won’t believe how great they’ll be. As soon as he finishes building walls he’ll bring toothpick manufacturing back to America instead of China and Mexico. American toothpicks that won’t break just from holding them lightly between your thumb and forefinger. Just wait. You’ll see. It’ll be great. No one’s ever seen toothpicks like that before. And Muslims will not be allowed to use them. Not until we figure out what’s going on.”

There was a moment of silence.

“You may be right Andrew,” said Rose.

“About what?” said Andrew.

“It’s the end of the world as we know it,” said Rose.

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