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Rusty Saber

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by Joe McAdoo

A fable.

Once upon a time, I found a bottle floating near the bank of the Finley River. I rubbed the bottle, and out popped a genie. This genie didn't look anything like Barbara Eden from "I Dream of Jeannie." This one looked more like Mr. Clean from the cleaning bottle.

He told me that he would grant any wish I might choose. Great humanitarian that I am (this is my fable, after all), I didn't wish for a big pot of money. I was thinking of all humankind.

My wish was for one full day of good news; the newspaper would have no bad news to report. Being a with-it genie, my genie said, "You got it, big guy."

Sure enough, the headline story the next day was that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein apparently forgot in which of his many presidential palaces he had hidden his biological warfare germs from the U.N. inspection team. He accidentally spent the night in the wrong palace. So long, Saddam. Further, the new Iraqi president announced immediate destruction of all biological warfare materials. By golly, the genie came through.

Also on the national news front: A report in the Journal of the American Medical Association says that chili dogs with lots of chopped onions and mustard onion rings and chocolate milk shakes, when eaten at least once a day, will prevent heart disease. Tofu, bean sprouts and bran muffins should be avoided; pizza is better for you.

In a brief moment of sanity, Congress passed a law making English the official national language. In so doing, Congress made the statement that the government's business and national commerce will be conducted in English; therefore, people who intend to live and work here, will speak English the same message sent to immigrants 100 years ago; they learned to speak English, and survived.

"We are a diverse society," one congressman said, "however, if we are to be a nation, we must have a common language to draw us together." To keep from doing anything to mess up this good-news day, Congress adjourned for the rest of the day. Two sensible congressional actions in one day would have been more than any genie could deliver.

From the world of entertainment: The makers of the movie "Titanic," desperate to film a sequel to take advantage of Titanic mania (since the ship sank, a sequel is out of the question), announced plans to produce "Titanic: The Real Story," which will be about what actually happened on the voyage of the Titanic. Thanks, genie!

I suspected it all along. Michael Jackson and "the Artist Formerly Known as Prince" are the same person. I knew it; there simply couldn't be two entertainers that weird.

TV star Rosanne, on this good- news day, appeared on "The Jerry Springer Show." After being taunted by Springer and the audience, Rosanne finally admitted (expletives deleted) that she doesn't have an ounce of talent and, like the members of Springer's audience, she wonders why anyone would pay to watch her perform. Then, with the cameras rolling, she beat the tar out of Springer. The show received its highest ratings ever.

From the sports page: On this perfect day, courts throughout the country revoked the paroles of all professional athletes, saving teams millions of dollars. Team owners immediately announced a reduction in ticket prices they charge fans to watch convicted felons play. Remember, this is only a fable.

Basketball player Latrell Sprewell, who was suspended for attacking his coach, announced that he won't return to the NBA when his suspension ends. Instead, he will go where he belongs. He and boxer Mike Tyson will form a tag-team on the professional wrestling circuit. Sprewell will specialize in the choke-hold he used on his coach. While he's busy choking opponents, Tyson will bite off their ears.

Local news: An ordinance passed by the Springfield City Council will forbid construction of new shopping centers or supercenters that will create additional traffic congestion in areas already hopelessly congested. Further, construction will be forbidden if nearby homeowners' property values will be lowered or if it will lead to traffic being routed through residential neighborhoods.

End of fable.

(Joe McAdoo is former chairman of the communication department at Drury College and a Springfield public relations consultant.)

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