The World, As Seen In Two Dimensions By Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie

Copyright 1985, 1986 by Gregory S. Swann. All Rights Reserved.
Direct inquiries to CIS I.D. 75115,1341.

The World, As Seen In Two Dimensions

By Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie

        The first time I saw One Eye he had Energy on his mind. "Energy,"
he said. "Oil. Thermal. Solar. Energy. Energy. Energy."
        That was in 1973, back when the Arabs were proving that possession is
nine tenths of the law. Or was it that a tank beats a briefcase any day
of the week? Anyway, One Eye was on the scene, providing his usual insightful,
incisive commentary: "Energy. Energy. Energy."
        One Eye, the mysterious man behind the news: he's quite famous in
his way. The most quoted man in the papers; the most-often 'unnamed source'
on the video casts; at least half of every conversation in the lunchrooms,
bowling alleys, and laundromats of the body politic. In a sense, One Eye =is=
the body politic. He goes under many different names, so you may not have
heard of him. But he's so famous that one of the TV networks adopted his
most distinctive characteristic as their trademark.
        "Energy," said One Eye. "Energy. Energy."
        "Do you really think energy is a problem?," I asked. "I mean, granted
things are tight right now... But don't you think the market will self-correct
if given a chance?"
        "Energy!," One Eye insisted. "Energy! Energy!"
        "You =do= know that we have seven oceans full of energy, don't
you? We can't draw upon it =now=, but we're very close, perhaps within twenty
years of abundant, cheap energy..."
        "Energy," One Eye replied. "Energy, energy, energy!"
        There was more, but that's enough to show the astounding power
of One Eye's intellect. I got tied up in some things, and I didn't catch up to
him again until 1978...
        "Inflation," he said then. "Price hikes. Wage hikes. Shrinking
        "Don't you mean currency expansion?"
        "Inflation, inflation, inflation!"
        "Okay," I said, "call it what you want. But it's =caused= by
government credit expansion."
        "Inflation!," he asserted. "Inflation!!"
        "=Gov=ernment inflation of currency relative to goods, right?"
        "Inflation!," he sputtered. "Inflation, inflation inflation!!!"
        What clarity of vision! I was unsurprised that he was able to match
this effort the following year:
        "Iran!," he shouted. "Hostages. Emasculation. Frustration."
        "You could say we asked for it, couldn't you? By not defending
ourselves in the past?"
        "Iran!," he seethed. "Iran, Iran, Iran, Iran!!"
        "A terrible thing, when a man lets himself get flabby..."
        "Iran!," One Eye assured me. "Iran!! Iran!!!"
        Obviously the intellectual oracle of our age. But he surpassed
himself in 1981:
        "Recession!," he flamed. "Unemployment. Interest rates.
        "=De=flation? Weren't you complaining about =in=flation?"
        "Recession!," One Eye declared. "Recession. Recession."
        "But a recession was to be expected... A contraction always
follows the cessation of unwarranted credit expansion. This has been shown
both in theory and in practice. If you stop inflation, you incur a
        "Recession! Recession, recession, recession!!"
        "...?," I said. "Do you want to start debasing the currency again?"
        "Recession!," he posited. "Recession!! Recession!!!"
        How =does= he do it?
        I ran into One Eye again in 1983...
        "Deficit," he announced. "Debt service. Eroding tax base.
Underground economy. Deficit. Deficit! Deficit!!"
        Deep breath. "One Eye, old friend... I think you're caught in
your own trap. Maybe if you tried thinking about more than one thing
at once...?"
        "Deficit," he responded. "Deficit, deficit, deficit!"
        Sigh... "The government spends more than it steals. To make up the
difference, it has to borrow. It's that simple."
        "Deficit! Deficit! Deficit!"
        I said: "You could inflate the deficit away..."
        "...or raise taxes..."
        "Or cut spending."
        =That= got a reaction: he put his hand over his heart and said
reverently, "Social Se=cur=ity!"
        "...?," I asked. "How se=cure= will your socials be after their
pyramid has collapsed...?"
        "Deficit!!," he answered, appealing to my rationality. "Deficit,
deficit, deficit!!!"
        How's =that= for mental agility?
        My most recent encounter with this amazing fount of wisdom was just
a couple of weeks ago:
        "South Africa!," he ranted. "Racism. Beatings. Tyranny."
        "...tyranny?," I asked, confused. "Compared to =what=?"
        "South Africa," he said, gesticulating wildly. "South Africa,
South Africa, South Africa!"
        "I'm really sorry, but a thing can't be compared to itself..."
        "South Africa," he reassured. "South Africa!! South Africa!!!"
        Deep breath. "What I mean is, given that South Africa has its
problems, it's hardly a tyranny compared to, say, the Soviet Union..."
        "South Africa!!," he said belligerently. "South Africa!!!"
        "You =do= know that the traffic at the border is one way =in=bound...?"
        "South Africa! South Africa!! South Africa!!!"
        "...and that authoritarian Rhodesia became totalitarian Zimbabwe
the last time you stuck your nose into Africa...?"
        "South Africa!!!," he bellowed, raising a fist as if to strike me.
"South Africa, South Africa, South Africa!!!"
        What precision! What deductive elegance! "What's next, One Eye?," I
        "What's the next big issue? What can I expect to hear you talking about
in the coming months?"
        "Oh," I said, "I get it. They haven't told you yet..."
        "...!," he replied. "..., ..., ...!!"
        "Looks like you've invested a greater than normal effort to
understand it, anyway. You're an inspiration to me!"
        "...!!," he affirmed, at last possessed of an issue worthy of his
abilities. "...! ...!! ...!!!"
        Seductive logic scintillatingly delivered!
        A petite young woman in a white nurses uniform came up and tugged at
One Eye's elbow. Gently, she began to lead him away.
        "So long," I called. "And thanks for all you've taught me!"
        "...!!," One Eye called over his shoulder. "...!!!"
        That's him: my friend One Eye. It's a shame more Americans can't
match his intellectual achievements...

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