A ‘Fonny’ thing happened on the way to the form

Most viruses come by email. At least, that’s what a pop-up screen on my computer constantly claims. I’m beginning to believe that message. For a month of Sundays now, I’ve been barraged by a plethora of electronic missives that I did not solicit and which I found hardly entertaining-- except for a few creative political cartoons that wiped the frown off this tender brow for a brief moment. Despite not being a betting man, one is willing to wager that you, too, poor unsuspecting reader, have been deluged by a panoply of viruses. From sources which, despite their fancy tags, remain in effect anonymous.

Once upon a time (which is how most fairy tales begin), there was a cure for male pattern baldness. In the same vein, miracle pills would supply sufficient blood to vital arteries to help men maintain their, er, attention span… at least, that’s what these emails claimed. You’ve hit the jackpot! Click here to collect your prize! This is not a joke… At last, a cure for the common cold, cancer or cold feet when it came to the dating game… Fat chance?

Nowadays, and still very much in cloud-cuckoo-land, these virulent emails have taken a sinister turn… Not to the left, as the Latin root of ‘sinister’ would imply – but to the extreme right-wing of political chicanery. Vote for change, vote for stability. Development is key, democracy is key. Down with the soldier, up with politico. Experience counts, achievement matters more. Trust me; no, trust me. I will end corruption, I will begin to put an end to corruption. I won the war, I won the war before you won the war.

We will win the election because the people are sick of corruption, cronyism and the unconscionable cost of living; we will win the election because peace and prosperity are the only things that people truly value. Always a double-barrelled message – And in the recent past, there’s been no escaping the masterminds (one uses the term loosely as an alternative for mindless nuisances) who were brought up on a steady diet of Herr Doktor Professor Josef Goebbels.

To add insult to injury, there now comes a twist in the tale… And only menaces from one camp – at the time of going to press – were still in the business of viral marketing. Rigged, these emails roar! Results suppressed, they reiterate shrilly! Manipulated, they moan! Do not trust, they entreat! Ordered, deployed, surrounded, arrested, detained – the litany continues – and includes trendy new phrases like “ruthless administration” and “tyrannical regime”. Really? What a surprise. When you play hardball with street toughs who chew broken-bottle glass for breakfast, dear boy scouts, you might expect to limp away from the game with a few bumps and bruises, rather than romp home unscathed.

At this point, one must pause to explain – lest this piece in your lily-white hands, gentle reader, cause offence and create confusion… Much like the election-related emails that got us started on this topic! We are not endorsing the horse play at the end of the horse trading that passes for presidential rites of passage these days. We are not convinced that either horse has the proper provenance to run the good race… and a certain ballot paper will have a row of 4s, rather than other early numbers or crosses, to prove this rather debatable point. And we are certainly not enamoured of the doctrine that the bigger the lie, more people will believe it – Although, at face value, the polls outcome proves the dogma that a lie repeated often enough will be believed.

Generally speaking, these are philosophical issues that have no place on a lovely morning like this… One raises them merely to impress on you victorious despots and dejected tyrants-in-waiting alike that we are not amused. Your petty foibles tickle our fancy no end when we can read about them at our leisure in more non-intrusive forms of media like your favourite Sunday newspaper (ahem!)… But please please please please leave us alone on SMS, email and, would you?

There’s enough ‘bad’ and ‘ugly’ out there without you pestering us non-stop with your pesky predictions, piebald promises, and puerile complaints about the good-for-nothings who’ve now put a spoke in your election wheel. We’re at our wit’s end as it is with change you can trust; non-change you never did and now can no longer believe in; and that nonsensical middle path down which go only those who trust in the belief that the more things change, the more they stay the same…

Eh, what’s that, my dear? Stop ranting, and lie down? Take this little white tablet? Ah, that’s better already! As long as you didn’t get it off the Internet, I’ll swallow anything these days…

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