Because I'm Bernard's friend, I once again found myself at a restaurant with his sister Mattie. She was raving about the restroom.
“This is a really fancy restaurant,” she said. “They have emotion sensors and even have a little farting corner with fans that disperse the odor.”
"Fans for farts?” Bernard asked.
“Yes. They’re just on the wall, and the fans point downwards to take away the gas. Very clever.”
“Mattie,” Bernard sighed. “Those are for drying your hands.”
“Oh no. I don’t think so,” Mattie smiled. “They have paper towels for hands.”
“What’s an emotion sensor,” I stupidly asked.
“They sense when you want water for your hands or want to flush the toilet.”
“Emotion sensors that sense desire. Very useful. I think they have those on Wall Street. They’re designed to detect fear and greed,” I said. Bernard gave me a look of grief and shook his head.
“What?” Mattie asked.
“Nothing. He’s just talking,” Bernard said.
“He’s such a strange man,” she whispered to Bernard, her voice as loud as when she spoke. “He says such confusing things.” She folded her hands into her lap and then said, “Have you seen the news reports.”
“All about General Sanchez.”
I was impressed. Mattie grudgingly watches Fox News in spite of the fact that it’s a “little liberal for my taste,” as she once told us. That she would know about Sanchez, the former head of the military in Iraq impressed me. Sanchez has now said that Bush’s troop surge is a desperate attempt to make up for years of mistaken strategy in Iraq. That Mattie would know about this and even bring it up gave me hope. Perhaps the conservatives were learning from their mistakes and could change.
“I did hear something about that,” Bernard said cautiously.
“Yes. Apparently because of him, President Bush now has to invade Iran.”
“What?” Bernard exclaimed.
“He was head of the invasion of Iraq but apparently he got everything mixed up. President Bush wanted to go into Iran but Sanchez went into Iraq.”
“Sanchez got the countries mixed up and attacked Iraq when Bush wanted to attack Iran?” Bernard repeated.
“Well,” Mattie said in another of her loud, conspiratorial whispers, “he’s one of those Latino-Americans. English is probably his second language. Of course he got the orders confused. Now we have to do this all over again.”
Bernard and I sat in stunned silence. Finally, I found words, “That’s going to be a hard one to do all over again.”
“You do know,” Bernard said, “that Iran’s population is more than twice that of Iraq. As if Iraq wasn’t hard enough.”
“It’ll go better then,” Mattie said. “The more people, the better a democracy does because they have more voters.”
“More voters?” I asked.
“Yes. It’s just like big countries have better economies because they have more shoppers.”
“So, you think that’s a good idea? Attacking Iran?”
“It’s not just me. Bill Kristol thinks so too.” She paused. “And that man has such a lovely smile. It’s not like he would just attack people who didn’t deserve it.”
“Of course not,” Bernard sighed. "Where is our waitress?"
"She's probably using that fancy bathroom," Mattie said. "I just love technology."
Moby (yep, that Moby) riffs on this issue from a different angle: