Jan 20, 2021

Wait! We Figured Out Trump Just in Time for the Inauguration!

A last-minute revelation by our on-call psychologist

By Ed Goldman

While it’s very late in the game to tell everyone that a member of my consulting team at The Goldman State HQ discovered the key to mind-controlling Donald Trump, I have to share this with you. 

I received one of those ALERT messages on my cellphone and for once it wasn’t Pinterest telling me it had some revealing photos of the late Bea Arthur (1922-2009) in excised scenes from her CBS hit, “Maude” (1972-1978). I think I receive these because I once interviewed Arthur’s co-star on the show (and without her even knowing it. Top that, Bob Woodward!), the enchanting—and, one dearly hopes, the good-humored and never litigious—Adrienne Barbeau.  

Edgy Cartoon

Attention Must Be Paid!

No, instead this emergency call came from this column’s consulting psychologist—Doctor Ivana Segunda Pinion. A transcript of our historic call follows:

DR. PINION: First, Mister Goldman let me ask you: Do you need me to do the German accent so I sound more like a stereotypical psychoanalyst when you write up this chat?

ME (Chuckling): Oh, don’t be silly! And please call me Ed.

DR. PINION: Okey-dokey.

ME: And what may I call you?

DR. PINION: Doctor Pinion. Jill Biden and I worked pretty damn hard for these titles.

ME: Yes, I respect that—

DR. PINION: And hers is only an EdD, a doctorate of education. I’ve got the PhD. Which, as you know, is a BFD.

ME: Noted. —Look, Doctor Pinion, what did you discover that caused you to do an ALERT on my cellphone, which frankly scared the hell out of me. I thought my uncle was dying and asking for me.

DR. PINION: Well, that certainly should rank as an ALERT.

ME: It would. But he died in 1973.

DR. PINION: Thoughts and prayers.

ME: Why did you call?!

DR. PINION: Do you remember how, in one of his final fiascos, Donald Trump refused to sign the bipartisan economic stimulus package just before Christmas? Well, I know why he didn’t. It’s because in the days leading up to it, the news media used some variant of the phrase, “President Trump is expected to sign….”

ME: I don’t quite under—

DR. PINION: But there you have it! Can you think of a more incentivizing trigger for a man with the emotional stability of a three-year-old on the verge of filling his diapers than to say what he’s “expected” to do? When you think of all the truly horrible things he pulled off on his watch, weren’t most of them the exact opposite of what you’d “expect” an alleged grownup to do?

ME: Verrry interesting….

DR. PINION: Lose the German accent. — Remember how Trump was “expected” to pay some respect to Senator John McCain when he died? So naturally, he did the opposite. And when he was “expected” to show compassion for children being separated from their parents and locked in cages, and empathy for the physically challenged, and appreciation for doctors, nurses and scientists, what was the only option for this deeply disturbed con man? Make life worse or just make fun of their plights!

ME: Yeah. It’s almost like he awoke every morning and thought, What miserable behavior can I engage in today?

DR. PINION: Exactly. How about when liberals said that Rush Limbaugh was one of the most detestable people in the country? Trump gave him the country’s highest honor, the Medal of Freedom. Why should it have surprised anyone who’s ever had to deal with a recalcitrant toddler? And don’t get me started on Devin Nunes’s medal.

ME: I’m speechless.

DR. PINION: Do you know how many Rotary clubs, book clubs and college professors on the hunt for guest lecturers will be thrilled to hear that?

ME: That wasn’t kind.

DR. PINION: Heartfelt apologies. Mistakes were made. —Anyway, here’s how the Democrats and Republicans could have got Trump to sign the stimulus bill the first time around: simply by issuing statements in the news media that said, “The president is expected to make a stupid last-minute speech, not sign the stimulus package and head to his golf resort for Christmas, leaving the fate of millions of Americans uncertain.” As soon as Diapered Donnie heard that, why, he’d have hitched up his rubber over-pants, called a news conference and said he was inking the deal, which he did. Face it, Ed: Trump was his own Bizarro World.

ME: Ah. The mirror-opposite of Earth in Superman comic books.

DR. PINION: You’re getting smarter with age, through certainly not better looking. The Bizarro World’s code was “Us do opposite of all Earthly things! Us hate beauty! Us love ugliness! Is big crime to make anything perfect on Bizarro World!”*

ME: So what you’re saying is that if all of us had used reverse psychology, these past four years could have been much more pleasant?

DR. PINION: Is that what I was saying? Is that what you think? Is that your conclusion?—See what I’m doing here?

ME: Oh, please.

*Sources: DC Comics and a misspent youth.

Ed Goldman's column appears almost every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. A former daily columnist for the Sacramento Business Journal, as well as monthly columnist for Sacramento Magazine and Comstock’s Business Magazine, he’s the author of five books, two plays and one musical (so far).

Yes, Virginia

A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela

President and CEO, Golden Pacific Bank

photo by Phoebe Verkouw

Keep it simple, sweetie, (my kinder, gentler version of what the K.I.S.S. usually means—Keep It Simple, Stupid) should apply to government programs. But they shouldn’t be so simple that they allow fraudsters to take advantage. Apply that to PPP and you have yourself a deal.  

For example, keep the applications streamlined and simple, making it more understandable for the smaller borrower.  But make the eligibility criteria tighter than “I’m being negatively harmed by the pandemic.” Who isn’t?

Unfortunately, the first round of PPP was abused by some. The rules were too relaxed or confusing, so we continue to hear sad tales of PPP recipients that didn’t need the funding but grabbed it anyway by taking advantage of lax and/or confusing standards.  The little guys—like your favorite locally owned coffee shop or your hairdresser down the street that really, really needed the funds—may not have been quick enough or connected enough to get PPP funds.

The second round of PPP is more organized, and ironically the applications more streamlined.  Off to a better start, but still the old adage may apply, keep it simple, sweetie (but not too simple.)

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