I spent at least 40 minutes constructing the sentence that is the title of this post, so I hope it proves satisfactory. My goal was to arrange the necessary clauses in a logical, coherent order, and without commas. Lots of information to pack together: the purchase of the toothbrush and the purchase price, the political affiliation of the vendor, the eventual outcome. Really, I could have used several sentences or a whole paragraph. However, I am the writer and I’ll scribble whatever I want, gol dang nab it.
The sentence is not as economical as it could be, because “Trump supporter” is an almost automatic condition of “flea market in rural America.” Donald Trump is the patron saint of flea markets. Banners and stickers with his name and slogan are plastered in the booths and on the parked cars and pick-up trucks; the attendees wear T-shirts emblazoned with his countenance, and the baseball caps are everywhere. One can imagine the Honored Man at one of the stalls or tables, hocking motorcycle jackets or hand tools or DVDs of Hollywood’s recent hits, saying—and believing—whatever comes to mind in an effort to promote his merchandise or himself, to the delight of all comers. As for his opponent Hillary Clinton, she is also present here, on banners and stickers that with no subtlety call her various unpleasant names, and that mention Benghazi, and of course the emails. Hillary sent e-mails. Bad e-mails. E-mails are bad things to send. Hillary sent many, many bad e-mails.
In my experience, political campaigns tend to end almost immediately after the election. This last one, however, seems to be going strong well into its winner’s administration. I wonder if all these Trump supporters, these flea market impressarios and their patrons who are practicing capitalism at its simplest and purest—set your wares on a table, cash on the barrelhead—I wonder if these gentle souls and yahoos don’t realize, on some level that they may or may not admit, that their hero isn’t going to do a damn thing to improve their lives or livelihoods, that he is a New York City landlord and hustler who has left a long trail of bankruptcy and cheated partners in his wake, and who understands life in the rural south and midwest about as well as they understand life in Trump Tower and Mar-A-Lago, and whose political philosophies are designed to funnel money toward the already-wealthy and away from people like themselves. And Hillary was the first lady of Arkansas for a dozen years.
I was going to say “The vendor who sold me the spin toothbrush…” but that wasn’t as honest as “I bought a spin toothbrush.” The vendor did little more than read the price tag and accept a $5 bill from me, which is a much more passive role than the verb “to sell” might suggest. Behind him on the wall was a Trump hat. I talked myself into buying the spin toothbrush. My dental hygienist has been after me for years to use one, but I don’t really feel like spending $50 on up for the fancy models at Walgreens or CVS. For $5, I asked myself, “What do you have to lose?” Curiously, the same question was proffered by Mr. Trump to the voters during the campaign, and anecdotally with much success.
I was by myself for dinner last night, and my two choices at the freeway exit were a Five Guys and a Starbucks. I’ve been drinking too much coffee these days, and I was in the mood for food more substantive than a lemon loaf or a cake pop or a fruit cup, so I went to the Five Guys. I had a Kosher hot dog, fries, and overpriced cup of Coke. If you were at the Starbucks, well, that means we missed each other. Maybe next time.
For my friend Ruth D and her husband and kids, here are links to the comedy of Eddie Izzard. Enjoy!