There’s a guy who swears he is the Duke of Rhode Island, though there are also some grounds not to believe him. Start with the fact that Rhode Island outlawed royalty, oh gosh, a good five or six years ago. In addition, the Duke now wears a football helmet that he won’t take off, plus the fact that he covered the helmet with aluminum foil, though he says the reason for that is secret.
The Duke is now living in a place where he is safe and comfortable, but earlier he lived here in Washington, DC. You’re naturally thinking he must have come here because he was elected to Congress, and we have to grant that you have all the logic on your side, but, no, he had a job teaching English at a small school in the city.
As an English teacher, he was a voracious reader, and riding the metro to work he would sit on the train and read. On one occasion, which turned out to be a pivotal moment, just as he was beginning to realize he needed an aluminum foil-covered helmet, he forgot to bring a book to read on the train. Perhaps he forgot because his brain had entered a time of dramatic synaptic metamorphosis.
Even with a rapidly increasing imbalance in his view of reality, the Duke still had all the qualities of an English teacher. He still wanted to read on the train, but had forgotten his book. Fortunately, the first person he sat next to was reading the Washington Post, held open in such a way that the Duke could read part of it. Looking over at his neighbor’s paper, he saw an article about the tiny country of San Marino, an idea that implanted itself into his mind as the focus of his thoughts. “What is San Marino up to?” he thought.
Then the train stopped at a station, the Washington Post left, and the Duke was left wondering. He moved to another seat, beside someone reading a different newspaper, the Washington Times, and again the Duke looked over at his neighbor’s paper. This time he was able to read part of an article about someone, he didn’t catch who, buying banks. It was easy for him to fill in the missing information, as it was obviously the country of San Marino trying to buy up American banks.
He felt perturbed to know that our financial institutions were in danger from a tiny republic entirely surrounded by Italy. He looked around the train car to see if other people were also concerned about this, but many were trying to fall asleep before they got to work. The Duke then got up and moved to another seat, to sit down beside someone reading a novel. Another person’s novel was much harder to read without their permission, but by leaning slightly to the left, he managed to catch a sentence referring to the price of beer. “Ah hah” he thought. San Marino was going to use control of the banks to shut down all of the small breweries in America. It made sense that a small country like San Marino would think of shutting down small breweries. That’s just how they would think.
For a couple of stops on the train, the Duke sat racking his brain. But why would they do this? Then a student sat down beside him reading a textbook for a psychology class. The Duke leaned in. Peered. Surveyed and surmised. It was a chapter on the psychology of happiness.
Of course! If San Marino could force us to drink only bad beer, we would all become unhappy. We see that the Duke was completely forgetting the popularity of Budweiser. Many people were quite happy with bad beer, but he was in a feeble mental state, and not all facts were properly accounted for.
By the time the Duke got off the train, having engaged a logic of his own fabrication, he had figured out that San Marino was secretly buying up American banks to acquire financial power in this country. They were then going to use that power to shut down all the small breweries in the country, an even more insidious plot coming, as it did, from a wine-drinking people. With the small breweries gone, Americans would have no choice but to drink the watery swill of the major brewers (or not drink beer at all, of course, but that made no sense). As a nation, we would then grow weak and depressed, and it would be easy for San Marino to swoop in and conquer us.
Insidious mountain people.
Out of a sense of patriotic duty, the Duke did not go to work that day but went instead to a bar where he drank microbrews all day in opposition to the plot he had uncovered. It was later that same day that the Duke was offered comfortable accommodations in a place where Budweiser was never allowed to enter. Even if the Duke had his facts wrong, I have to salute his patriotic effort until he was removed from the bar.
I know this story is all true because I read it on an internet site. I have, I confess, emboldened the literary qualities of the story, but it’s still true, which you can tell because you’re reading it on a website as well.