By March 21, 2016 Uncategorized 2 Comments

Last Tuesday morning, at the snack bar in the basement of the Oklahoma Capitol Building, a brief conversation was overheard between a concerned local educator and a seemingly nondescript state legislator.

Yet, to people who visit the Capitol often, this lawmaker is recognizable as the elusive “Captain Oblivious.”

If you have never heard of Captain Oblivious, he is that legislator who knows way too little about too many subjects. No one is really sure how he was elected other than the fact that he ran unopposed in a strongly Republican district.

It is rumored he is faster than the speed of stupid, but this is anecdotal and unsubstantiated by empirical data. That said, there is LOTS of anecdotal evidence to proffer this claim.

It has also been speculated that Captain Oblivious is on a mission from ALEC that is so top-secret, he doesn’t even know it.

His superpower is his keen attention to detail about obscure and insignificant issues. Yet, like kryptonite to Superman, Captain Oblivious is paralyzed by things which move fast or are complex, so he has developed a well-honed capacity for complete inattention to almost all things going on around him.

Here is a transcript of the conversation captured by an alert passerby on her Galaxy 6 smart phone:

Educator: (walking up to Captain Oblivious, who’s eating a plate of waffles and crispy bacon). There you are, I’ve been looking for you everywhere.

Captain Oblivious: You obviously were not been looking down here because this is where I am. At least, I think I am. Who are you and why should I care?

Educator: I am a teacher from your district. We met at a campaign rally last year. Our boys also played on the same soccer team last year.

Captain Oblivious: Well, that’s entirely possible. I meet a lot of people I don’t care about.

Educator: Well, I have sent you over a dozen emails and called your office repeatedly over the past few weeks. Yet, up until now, I have not received any responses from you.

Captain Oblivious: Did you include a Bible verse in your email? I open those first.

Educator: No, I did not include any scripture in my emails and don’t see why that would make a difference. I just want you to care about some issues that are important to me and a lot of my fellow educators.

Captain Oblivious: Are you saying you care about me? I might pay attention in that case.

Educator: What? No, well…maybe. I care about your positions on several important issues relative to public education in our state.

Captain Oblivious: I know about you teachers. Let me guess, you want more money and less accountability.

Educator:  Yes, better compensation for teachers would be great, but that’s not why I am here today. This is important. Do you realize that school funding has been cut by 7% this year due to two different revenue failures in our state budget? These cuts are adversely affecting the educational services for thousands of Oklahoma children. Are you not concerned?

Captain Oblivious: Of course I am. Yet, my leaders tell me schools have more money than ever before. We also passed an income tax reduction last year to assist wealthy Oklahomans. Additionally, we kept in place some overly generous tax incentives for the energy industry. Have you seen the new wind turbines south of town? Those babies are YUGE, aren’t they? Anyhow, we’re just waiting for all that extra money to trickle down to the masses.

Educator: I’m here to tell you, nothing is trickling into my classroom, except the water from my ceiling tiles when it rains because my school can’t afford to fix the roof.

Captain Oblivious: Do you know if butter’s a carb? I’m not supposed to be eating carbs.

Educator: Are you even listening to me? There are some very big problems in Oklahoma that need to be addressed. And, NO, butter is not a carb, yet those giant waffles you’re shoveling down your gullet have about a week’s worth of carbs!

Captain Oblivious: Good, so more butter is fine. Can’t you see I’m trying to eat my breakfast in peace? Why are you bothering me? What’s wrong with YOU?

Educator: Don’t ask me what’s wrong when you know you’re obviously the problem.

Captain Oblivious: I know what I bring to the table. So trust me when I say I don’t mind eating alone.

Educator: I’m not sure what point you’re making. Anyhow, I am concerned about the impact that another 1.3 billion dollars of cuts will have next year on our public schools. Yet, all you and some of your legislators seem to care about are passing vouchers, reducing health benefits for teachers, and stalling implementation of new academic standards.

Captain Oblivious: I am not a clever man. But, I do have a keen sense of the oblivious.

Educator: Uh, okay…I just think it is absurd that the legislature is so focused on things like mandating that all schools teach students human life begins at conception and trying to restore the Ten Commandments monument on the Capitol grounds when our state is in such a fiscal crisis. Why aren’t you and your colleagues working on the budget? Don’t you find any of this absurd?

Captain Oblivious: There is so much absurdity in life. Poverty is absurd. I mean, why don’t poor people just get higher paying jobs and stop being poor?

Educator: That statement makes no sense at all! Yet, I’m fairly sure if I smacked the stupid out of you, there wouldn’t be anything left. You actually seem to be happy that our state has no money.

Captain Oblivious:  I’m not certain, but did you just insult me? Regardless, one thing I’ve learned in my time here as a legislator is there’s no way to stay happy unless you remain oblivious to the world around you.

Educator: Don’t you understand how important it is that we have a strong public education system in our state? Non-competitive wages, top-down mandates and lack of respect have created a huge teacher shortage in our state. What is the legislature doing to help solve this problem?

Captain Oblivious: Oh, c’mon! You’re letting your brain get in front of your mouth. You need to remember what’s really important in life: Reelection, waffles, and work. Or waffles, reelection, work. But work has to come third.

Educator: I see that I am getting nowhere with you. Is there anyone else I can speak with who might care about what I have to say?

Captain Oblivious: Trust me, I know exactly how you feel. It sucks when people like you don’t realize how much we don’t care about what you think until you meet us face-to-face.

Educator: (her brain screaming)  Now, I know why nothing seems to get done down here. You really don’t have much of a clue about what is going on, do you?

Captain Oblivious: No, not really. But, I do know someone who will be happy to listen to your gibberish. I will set up a meeting between you and my trusty sidekick, Standoffish Boy.  He is better than I am at pretending to pay attention and acting concerned. He may even take a note and say he called you back.

Educator: Never mind! I’m just going back to school and teach kids. Compared to you, my middle schoolers are highly attentive and focused. I can understand why people call you Captain Oblivious.

Captain Oblivious: (eating his last piece of bacon) Wow, that was really a good breakfast. Is there something I can help you with? Here’s my card if you need to get in touch.

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