Vail Valley Voices: Muzzling of Ezekiel |

Vail Valley Voices: Muzzling of Ezekiel

Bob Branden
Vail, CO, Colorado

The palpable vibe of human spirit was lacking from the tavern, replaced by the cool wind of autumn floating in through the open sliding door. Soon all that would change. But for now, the merlot, not that impossible-to-get-right shiraz, helped make this a great afternoon. Life was good, today.

“Why don’t you ever talk politics in class?” the student asked, hand wrapped around a moist glass of Coors.

“Do you have to use the word to be addressing the subject?” answered the teacher with eyebrows raised. “I’m always talking politics.”

“Well, to be frank,” the student replied. “I’d like to hear it from you. Do you think our nation is on the brink of destruction?”

“So dramatic! Destruction? No, I don’t think we’re on the brink. We’re over the brink.”

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“Is there anything we can do about it?”

“Indeed, we could muzzle that gentleman,” the teacher nodded toward the man entering the wooden floored room.

“Who’s that? I’ve never seen him in here before.”

“No, but you’ve heard him a thousand times. In fact, you would be hearing him right now if the volume on the television was up.” CNN was on. Instead they were listening to “The Ghost of Tom Joad” — “Look in their eyes, ma, you’ll see me.”

“His name is Ezekiel Bulver,” the teacher continued. “He’s very sharp. I was introduced to him by C. S. Lewis.”

Time to show him how much I’ve learned, thought the student. “But you don’t value intelligence all that much.”

“No, I don’t. I value wisdom — that ability to live life skillfully by piercing to the heart of a matter and making correct choices. It has a beginning, you know.” He took a sip, watching to see if the student would follow the path. He didn’t. The wholesome waitress had walked past.

“Anyway, back to Ezekiel,” the teacher verbally wrenched the student back to reality. “Here’s how smart he is. When he was only 5 years old he overheard his parents arguing. His father was pointing out that two sides of a triangle added together were longer than the third side. His mother responded with disdain that he was saying that simply because he was a man. Young Ezekiel’s mind exploded in revelation. He realized that all that was needed to win an argument was ridicule, not refutation. Why spend any time checking the facts? For instance, if I tell you I have $2 million in my checking account, why go to the bank, find the account, determine its balance and see if I’m correct? One might actually find out I am right. Instead, simply label me an emotional exaggerator, pick on some weak part of my life, and deny my claim. Yes indeed, young Ezekiel saw that it was much more effective to ridicule than refute. He peddled his observation tirelessly. Today it’s all you hear.”

The student, emboldened by his second beer, and noticing that the waitress was attending to Ezekiel, went over and introduced himself to the prodigy. A fine looking woman’s wise visage dominated the CNN screen.

“What do you think of her, Ezekiel?”

“She’s stupid. Can’t even get the king’s birthday and death clear in her mind.”

“She’s saying that if you taxed the people in the country making over $250,000 a year at 100 percent, it would only run our country for six months. She’s also saying that of our $14 trillion debt, $4 trillion of it has accrued in the last two and a half years.”

“Bah. You see how many kids she’s foster parented? There’s got to be something wrong with somebody like that.”

A second fine-looking woman’s countenance replaced the first. “What about her?” the student tested again. “She’s worse than the other. My God, what a bimbo. If she had one more neuron she’d have enough for a synapse.”

“Wasn’t she a governor?”

“Phaw,” Ezekiel actually spit. “Of Alaska, a bunch of snow.”

“Well, when she was governor, how did the state of Alaska do?”

“Would you just look at her daughter?” Ezekiel said, inadvertently setting his mug down in his spit. “Such hypocrites.”

The student walked back to the teacher and sat down heavily. “So, you’re saying if we could muzzle that fool we could find our way out of this debacle?”

“I think so.”

“How would you muzzle him?”

The teacher didn’t say anything. He was on his second and last glass. One of his favorite songs tried to penetrate the fog that accompanied Ezekiel. “Hello darkness my old friend …”

Bob Branden is host of the podcast

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