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Ten absurd promises to make Americans laugh again

    Tuesday, October 16, 2018 -- (Long Beach, CA) -- Since politicians make promises they never keep, I’ll make an absurd promise to ride a horse across America, just to “Make Americans Laugh Again.”

    There’s no easy way to fulfill ridiculous pledges, except to win the lottery -- or, if you’re the President, to already be ridiculously rich -- for only money makes a promise cheap and easy. And I’ll never break any ridiculous pledge.

    MY TEN PLEDGES.... (Eleven, if you count Allegiance.)

    Why ten pledges? Because it’s an easy number to remember, as someone named Newt still brags about ten. So I’m also pledging ten, even if people don’t remember my ten, or even Newt’s...
  1. I will ride a horse across America. Why? Because I’ve written an absurd novel in which a character named Larry does exactly that. I’m not named Larry, but just like him, I’ve got nothing better to do. Maybe I’ll need to change my name, to become “Somebody Rich.” I will follow the path listed in that book, because I don’t use a smart phone, and thus cannot whip one out to see where I am. (A staffer named “Someone Else” will have to navigate.)

  2. I will wear a funny hat. It will read, “Make Americans Laugh Again.” It won’t be just some hat made in China, but a Stetson, because Stetsons are made in America, although the President’s daughter probably tells Texans to buy her hats, made in her Chinese hat factory, because it’s making her ridiculously rich. I won’t buy her hats... or her dad’s... although he often gives them out for free. I will only buy Stetsons and I’ll have to buy plenty, because I’ll also often give them out. (And if I run for President, I’ll probably win Texas.)

  3. I won’t tell anyone how to vote. Why bother? It’s a free country, unless you ride a horse, in which case you spend a ton, because horseshoes and hay and saddles cost real money. Since real money is real, you can say what you want. Everyone’s got a strong opinion, and so everyone can wear a Stetson that says, “Make Americans Laugh Again.” And I’ll listen, and not hire some clown. There’s too many clowns in politics already. Hire a real comedian.

  4. I’ll feed whoever rides with me. People get hungry. So do horses. Yes, it’ll cost a lot of money, so winning the lottery will make people fat and happy. People will laugh. People will remember this forever. Horses may not. But they’ll be fat and happy, too.

  5. We can propose ridiculous ideas. How can we “Make Americans Laugh Again” unless we stop saying, “It’s my way or the highway.” Riders shouldn’t prefer highways, because we’ll get struck by trucks, or need a lot more horseshoes. Instead, when riding a long path across this long nation, we’ll come up with a long list of ridiculous legislation, like, “Put Elvis Presley on the Two Dollar Bill.” No one owns good ideas. That’s a great one. Elvis was great. He still is. And it takes an Act of Congress to change faces on paper money.

  6. Everybody says four words. Since my novel about riding across America appeared in 2014, we claim dibs to say four words, or to put them on a hat. America’s a free country. (And that’s four words.) Say whatever you want. That’s four words, too. Have fun with that.

  7. We’ll watch Americans yell at each other. Why is this a free country? So people can yell. While we quietly ride our highways and byways, protesters and counter protesters will yell and cuss, although our horses will be popular. The rage burning this great nation will remind Americans that we all suffer from hatred’s fire. If a great horseback ride across America shows that we must once again work together to retain our greatness, then pouring lottery money into this absurd action is a great investment.

  8. And maybe Americans will vote again. Hatred makes people stay on their couch. As a real comedian who rode horses said, “The only political party worse then my own is the other one.” We won’t tell you how to vote. Just vote. Even just a little... for somebody. (Like, maybe... that certain Some-bo.)

  9. Because I’m a Groucho Marxist. I’m not a Democrat. And I’m also not a Republican. I’ve left organized politics as a protest. But if I win the lottery, I will obey the Angel Groucho, and never leave the Party of Grace, which technically does not even exist. Why is that? Because Groucho Marxists pledge, that, “I will never join any club that would have me as a member.” (If you remember nothing else, remember Groucho. He’s probably not even an Angel, unless God made him one. And maybe his brothers, too. Only God knows.)

  10. This isn’t so “Somebody Rich” can run for President. Will “Somebody Rich” just use a billion dollars to run against “Someone Already Rich?” Who knows? That possible “Somebody Rich” doesn’t know, and that certain somebody happens to be me. (Or I hope to become that certain somebody who wins the biggest lottery ever.) It's $970 million on Friday, but if I do win, I’ll probably get sued, unless I legally change my name to, “Somebody Rich.” The President happens to like already being called “Somebody Rich,” and he stays rich by not paying taxes, like a certain someone who wins that $970 million will be legally required to do. That certain President hires lawyers to protect his "good name," including buying names, like, “Somebody Rich.” He fires lawyers who do (or don’t) pay strippers to not say certain words. So I pledge to not require anyone to call me “Mr. Hey I'm Somebody Rich,” even if I've paid the court to change my name. People who ride with me won't have to say, "H.I." or even "Hey." The great people who join me for that great ride across this great nation, can call me, “Some-bo....”
    Those are my pledges.

    I promise to make Americans laugh again. And I keep my promises, even if I don’t exactly remember everything I’ve said... except for Elvis on the Two.... I’ll always remember that.

    So if I do run for President, I won’t hire some clown. I’ll beg a professional comedian to run, like That Jon Guy. He might have nothing better to do, and Vice President That Jon Guy would absolutely make Americans laugh again. And if I fall off a horse and get trampled by a stampede, President That Jon Guy will absolutely win reelection. Why will he win, too? Because Americans want to laugh again. In fact, we’ll throw a coin -- a great giant huge coin -- to see who gets the nomination for President. Maybe That Jon Guy gets calls at 3 am.

    Thank you, God, for hearing these humble words, for You are omnipotent, and already know whether a silly game will result in fulfilling these ridiculous pledges. I’ll obey Your will. You’re worth far more than the lottery. You’re worth everything.

    And since my friends Nichole Blande and Jerry Caligeri are in Heaven listening to my Mom -- Lennie -- play guitar, please tell them, “Hi,” because lost souls are never forgotten, even if Lennie knows two thousand songs and can sing forever.

    ABSURD UPDATES.... Tuesday! Yes, I did choose two winning numbers -- 3 and 45 -- but that wasn’t enough. The slave-owner and a man who likes slave-owners didn’t win. And that’s okay, because that’s the “President Hater” line, and who wants pure hatred to win? Well, 3-7-15-19-45 sure do. Only someone in San Francisco came close, and that person probably wear flowers in their hair. “Somebody Kind’a Rich” can buy lots of flowers.









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Billy Orton is a novelist and historian living in Long Beach, California.