Honey Badgers in History

“Honey Badger Don’t Give a Shit”

-motto of Steve Bannon, White House chief strategist

On the plains of Africa – circa 18,000 BCE

Gog is standing by Dug and Dug’s woman Laka. An incessant buzzing is heard and eyes turn to see a honey badger contentedly gnawing on a honeycomb while swarmed by thousands of angry bees.

Dug – Honey badger take what want. Stings no bother.

Gog – Me honey badger. Me no give shit. Take what want.

Gog puts his hand on Laka’s breast. She slaps his face.

Gog – Slap no bother. Gog puts his other hand on Laka’s other breast.

Laka – Keep small hands off. She slaps him again. Gog grabs her groin.

Gog – Wookie grab.

Laka – Dug! She bashes Gog on head with a small rock.

Gog – See stars, but no bother. Honey badger want wookie. While Gog fiddles with his loincloth, Dug picks up a large rock in both hands and stoves Gog’s head in. Gog crumbles to ground.

Dug – Honey badger bothered.

Laka – Honey badger dead.

 

Pharaoh’s palace – 1232 BCE

It’s been a tough week for the Egyptians. Sunday the Nile turned to blood; Monday frogs inundated the land, Tuesday was gnats, and so on until last night when every first born male of Egypt died. The plagues are attributed to Yahweh, the Hebrew god.

Ankhu, the Vizier, is quietly sobbing in the corner for his dead son.

Pharaoh – Ankhu! Sound the trumpet! We are giving chase to the Hebrew dogs!

Ankhu  – O Great Pharaoh, Son of Ra, Dispenser of Mercy, Destroyer of Infidels, I beseech you, let them go!

Pharaoh – Are you a woman?

Ankhu – O Great Pharaoh, Bringer of Light, Lord of Goodness, Father of Justice, Yahweh’s plagues have devastated Mother Egypt!

Pharaoh – Disloyal dog!  Who is the god who laughs in the face of pain? Who is the god whose strength grows with every set-back?

Ankhu – lowers his head It is you, O Great Pharaoh, Mighty God of the Honey Badger

Pharaoh – And don’t forget it! Now bring me the Honey Badger and call my army!

Ankhu hands Pharaoh the long-snouted mask and drapes a black coat with a thick white stripe over Pharaoh’s shoulders. Ankhu picks up the trumpet and blows.

 

The island of Elba – 1820

Napoleon Bonaparte sits in exile with his lieutenant, Marcel.

Marcel – Emperor, I’ve bribed the guards. A boat for our escape will be made ready tomorrow.

Napoleon, with hands clasped behind his back, stares at the wall and sighs.

Marcel – Emperor, did you hear me?

Napoleon – Yes, yes, Marcel. I heard. I’ve no stomach for it. Defeated by the Russian winter. And now Josephine dead. I am done.

Marcel – Can it be true? The Uniter of Europe? The giver of the Napoleonic Code too defeated to stanch France’s carnage?

Napoleon – I am no more than a simple, defeated man.

Marcel – This cannot be. You are our savior!

Napoleon remains unmoved.

Are you not the Honey Badger of France?

Napoleon slowly turns from the wall to face Marcel. For the first time since his exile, his eyes gleam, his posture straightens, and he thrusts his right hand into his shirt.

Napoleon – Do not stand as a mute. Pack my bag and sharpen my sword. I will march to Waterloo, for I have an engagement with that British dog Wellington.

 

Little Big Horn – 1876

The 7th Calvary under the command of General George Armstrong Custer is being badly beaten by a force of Lakota, Cheyenne, and Arapaho. Out of Custer’s initial 600 men, he and his brother Boston are two of the dozen soldiers still standing.

Boston – This is a fine mess you’ve got us into.

George – Don’t falter, Boston, we’ve got them on the run.

Boston – Shit! A goddamn arrow into my thigh!

George – Don’t be such a little girl.

George yanks the arrow from Boston’s thigh. Boston screams.

George – You’ve always been too soft.

A bullet strikes George in the arm.

George – shouts at the Indians You’re making me more pissed off you dirty Redskin dogs!

Boston – How do you do it? We’re being massacred, you’re shot in the arm, and still you taunt them.

George takes aim with his good arm and shoots.

George –Remember that book Ma read us when we were little about them honey badgers who never give up? That’s me. I’m a honey badger and don’t give a shit. Damn, I just took one in the side! Fuck you, Redskin! I’m going to kill you all!

 

Beverly Hills – 1962

Richard Nixon just conceded the California governorship to Edmund “Pat” Brown. This follows his defeat by Kennedy two years prior for the presidency. His political career appears to be over. He is mobbed by reporters.

Reporter – Mr. Vice President, anything to add to your concession speech?

Nixon – Never in my 16 years of campaigning have I complained about your coverage of me. I only wish you’d give my opponent the same going over that you give me. For 16 years, you’ve never missed an opportunity to attack me.  You’re going to miss me. You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore, because, gentlemen, this is my last press conference. Good night.

Nixon leaves the stage. His wife, Pat, embraces him.

Pat – Honey, the media has always treated you so unfairly. Now we can finally live a quiet life in San Clemente. I’m so happy for us.

Nixon takes Pat’s shoulders and holds her at arms’ length.

Nixon – I don’t give a shit how they treat me. I’m a honey badger. I’ll be back in ‘68.

 

The cockpit of American Airlines Flight 11 – 2001

At the controls, the hijackers Mohamed Atta and Abdul Aziz are flying low over Manhattan approaching the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Abdul – Have you said your final prayers?

Mohamed – Yes. Are you ready to martyr yourself for the glory of Allah?

Abdul – And the 70 virgins.

Mohamed – Yes, the 70 virgins.

In the lull, a child’s scream can be heard from the cabin. Abdul cocks his head and becomes contemplative as the World Trade Towers come into view.

Abdul – Does it bother you about the innocent children among the infidels?

Mohamed glares at Abdul for a moment, then turns to the North Tower.

Mohamed – America is corrupt. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy it all. Innocent children? No American is innocent. Besides, I’m a Honey Badger. Honey Badger don’t give a shit.

Mohamed guns the engines.

 

Mar-a-Lago– 2016

Donald Trump’s campaign is in free fall. Pussygate dominates the news cycle.  Hillary Clinton has whipped him in the debates. Her lead is so large, she is seen at Nordstrom’s picking out curtain swatches for the Oval Office. Trump is having a drink with his campaign chair, Steve Bannon, at poolside.

Steve – You look relaxed.

Donald – Just thinking about headquartering Trump TV at Trump Hotel Washington DC.

Steve – What the fuck you talking about?

Donald – The day after the election, I’m starting Trump TV. This campaign has been great. More publicity than I ever dreamed of. And power, so much power. When Hillary’s President, she’s going have to go through me to make any deal because I’ve got the people behind me. Oh, I’m going to make some sweet deals.

Steve – That cunt isn’t going to be President, you are, so you won’t have time to start a fucking TV station.

Donald laughs and shakes his empty glass at his butler.

Another Diet Pepsi! Steve, gin and tonic?

Steve slaps the empty glass out of Donald’s hand.

Steve – What the fuck. You had some setbacks. You think honey badgers give up when a swarm of bees stings it? Or if some cunt cobra bites it? Or a fucking hyena throttles it?

Donald – What the hell are you talking about? A honey badger? Is it like a pussy grab?

Steve – It is the toughest mother-fucking animal in the world. Honey Badger don’t give a shit about what happens to it. It wants something and it gets it. Nothing stops it. Like you and me. Forget TV. When you’re the fucking President, you can bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment. Isn’t that why we got into this? Isn’t this why so many people love you?

Donald – I am very loved. Extremely loved. My rallies are 10, probably 20 times bigger than hers.

Steve – They’re the ones going to elect you President.

Donald – It’s called a Honey Badger?

Steve – Yeah, a fucking Honey Badger.

All I Really Needed to Know, I Learned in Military Boarding School

Famous people from all over ask me where I got my philosophy on life, my moral code. Even though I went to the world’s best business school and knew much more about business than my professors—who frankly couldn’t make it in the real world—the truth is that all I really needed to know to become the greatest and most powerful man on earth, I learned in military boarding school.

This is what I learned.

Discipline. Greatness begins with self-discipline, self-control. I came to boarding school with zero discipline. But I learned. No matter how much I wanted to pound some dweeb for borrowing my Brylcreem and squeezing it from the middle, I never did. By the time I graduated, I was a master of self-discipline. Folks, the beauty of it is that if you are disciplined, then your inferiors will be too. My cabinet is the most controlled in the history of our country.  When they’re not, I use the same paddle that I disciplined underclassmen with. It’s got holes for less wind resistance. Perry gets it once a week, minimum.

Justice. If someone hits you, hit him back three times harder. I never started a fight in my life. I am a peaceful person. Perhaps the most peaceful person in the world, if you want to know the truth. But when you’re standing at parade rest, what are you supposed to do when some loser talks smack about your hands? You hit him until he bleeds all over his white parade gloves. Same with Taco Land. If they don’t pay for the Wall, we hit them with 20% tax on their exports. If China thinks they can bully us by stealing our jobs and dumping cheap goods, we’re going to hit them with a 45% tariff.  No one will ever mess with America again.

Service. It is so important to serve those that are less important than you. Give them your time. Give them your money. Give them your empathy. This was a tough one for me. I learned it when this very developed girl at the local girls’ school had a huge crush on me. Huge. (All of them did.) She was too poor to buy textbooks, so I gave her the money—not a string attached. That, my friends, is service. And even though she insisted that I not do a different “service,” I did. Good service means giving more than you promise.

Honesty. Do not lie. Lying makes you a terrible person. The dishonest media tells you I lie. Wrong. I never lie. However, in extraordinary situations, it is honorable to give alternate facts as long as the point being made is truthful and no one of consequence gets hurt. When I went a little AWOL, I gave an alternative fact to the commanding dormitory officer which pointed to a very unpopular nerd. It is also honorable to destroy a person if he is a really bad dude who will harm your school or nation. Pat Haman ran for Class President. He was son of a senator and captain of the debate team and the football team, so everyone thought he’d win. But he was a bad dude, very dishonest, and someone needed to stop him. It was up to me. In the debate, I said he tried to hold my hand. After I trounced him, he transferred schools.

Respect. Respect everyone. Respect your parents, respect your classmates, and respect your teachers. Even respect your enemies because if you do, they can never surprise you, and you’ll always win. Pat didn’t respect me, and in the 2016 election, not a single opponent, not a single media respected me, so I mercilessly destroyed them. Maybe Lying Ted should think about transferring back to Canada where he’s from. Here’s what Jesus taught me in the school chapel, “Do unto others before they do unto you.”

Comradeship. Folks, you can’t go it alone. You need friends and comrades to help you. Without Leon Pruzinsky, I wouldn’t have made it through history class. It was the most boring class I ever slept in. Didn’t learn a thing. Leon “borrowed” the final and gave it to me. Now I have Vlad. He helped me during the election, and I’ll lend a hand when he reunifies Belarus back to Russia where it rightfully belongs. In your life, there will be many, many jealous losers and haters who will want to take you down. Everyone needs a Leon or a Vlad to watch his back.

Fairness. Truth is, this is the single cadet trait that’s misguided. Forget about playing fair and being nice and giving good effort. Only losers play fair. Be a winner. Because if you lose, no one cares if you played fair. People only remember winners; winning is the only thing that matters. Break the rules. Make your own. Ryan Dowling was starting centerfielder. I was so, so much better than him, but he had insider connections, so I gave the pitcher from Carter High 20 bucks to throw one at his head. Once I took Ryan’s place, our team was amazing. We won everything. Just like America used to do against King George, the Indians, and Mexico. With me as Commander-in-Chief, we’re already winning again!

Tidbits Picked Up in the Locker Room

Never apologize. Winners are never sorry.

If you hire a nerd to do your homework, don’t pay him the agreed upon amount. They all take pennies on the dollar. If not sock him. Same with scientists.

Live a balanced life – insult some and chase some and buy and sell and bully every day some.

And finally, when you boil down everything that I learned at boarding school into one thing that has shaped my moral code throughout my life, you get the touchstone that I return to whenever I face an ethical dilemma: Remember the Golden Rule—whoever has the most gold, makes the rules.

 

Audacity/Humility

34 years ago, I was leading a class of 6th graders on a nature hike when we came to a creek moving swiftly due to a storm the previous night.

“Do you think it’s safe, Flying Goose?” a student asked. My nature name was Flying Goose.

“No problem. We’ll do a caterpillar.”

A caterpillar was where I held the hand of the first kid, who held hands with the next, and so on. I was a naturalist at environmental education camp. The job description was to take city kids and immerse them in nature. What better way than wading across a gnarly looking creek.

“Hold tight!” I commanded and led the way. Halfway across, unbeknownst to me, was a large hole, so when I unwittingly stepped into it, I lost balance and fell.  Luckily, kid number one had the sense to let go of his naturalist’s hand, and it was only Flying Goose who flew down the river, swept away by the current.

“I thought we lost you,” the classroom teacher said, as the bedraggled “wilderness guide” hauled himself out fifty yards down the creek. The lesson those 20 impressionable minds learned that day was nature is dangerous. Better to stay inside and play Super Mario.

 

Following my stint in the great outdoors, I followed the more traditional educational path as a public high school English teacher. Though I haven’t endangered anyone by knocking over a bookshelf filled with a class-set of War and Peace, I am as clueless as that young 23-year-old Goose when it comes to teaching. Perhaps I suffer from false modesty; after all, I am expert in dozens of classic novels and poems. I know when to use semi-colons; many of my students can craft a passable essay, and a minority come to appreciate that Huckleberry Finn, rather than being a racist screed, is one of the great American novels. Yet in the area that really counts, helping teens deal with life’s essential questions, I am clueless. How can I teach students about life when I have little idea about my own. I don’t know how to usher adolescents into adulthood.

Still every weekday, I stand in front of six groups of teenagers, look over a sea of expectant (or indifferent) eyes, wait for a bell, and then commence, “Take out your journals.”

The audacity to teach.

Education is partly about pouring information into our students. William Butler Yeats is said to have called this “filling the pail.” To do well on state-mandated tests or Jeopardy or get into a decent university, a student needs a fairly full pail; for that, my colleagues and I do a poor to moderate job. Following graduation, about a fifth of our graduates enroll in four-year institutes of higher learning, a fifth of them go straight to work in low skill/low pay jobs, and most of the rest try community college or technical school. Some succeed, the majority muddle through or drop out.

It is not only parents, politicians, educational experts, and captains of industry who are frustrated by public high school’s middling record. My colleagues and I work hard. I want my students to succeed. I use research-based education techniques. I stay after school to tutor. I come in on weekends to prepare. I take part in continuous professional development. Yet the majority of my students will not graduate high school competent in basic English. And it isn’t just me. Over 50% of freshmen in state universities take remedial English.

If the bar for my students to clear is English proficiency or an understanding of oneself, then I was, am, and will always be a failure. So what good am I? What use can I be to the majority of students whom I cannot provide the tools or guidance to adulthood? By the time many of the 16-year-olds first walk into my classroom, they are already closed off to knowledge; poverty and dysfunctional families put out their intellectual fires long before high school, and short of a miracle, there isn’t a lot I can do to spark them back up. This doesn’t make me happy; this doesn’t give me a free pass to not try. I try. My colleagues try. But if I don’t want to despair, my definition of what it means to be a teacher must expand.

We read Dick Gregory’s essay “Shame” in which he recounts a childhood incident where he bragged to his third grade classmates about his father until his teacher said, “Richard, we know you don’t have a daddy.” The shame of being called out by a teacher stayed with him for over twenty years.

The students then write about incidents that caused them shame. Though they often write “i” and put in apostrophes every time a word ends in “s,” as I read, I reach for the facial tissues instead of the red pen.

Abby writes about how she was to ashamed to go to school when she was eight because the chemo used to treat her leukemia made her hair fall out.  Blake remembers seeing his father grab the back of his mother’s head and slam her against the refrigerator. When she slumped to the floor, Blake thought she was dead, and despite only being four years old, the fact that he couldn’t protect her still “is an open gash filled with salt.” DeSean writes about how he hated gays until he learned that his favorite aunt was a lesbian. She and her partner had a better relationship than his parents. Chloe feels shame about her dead father. He was a gambler, and the family was sometimes homeless. She used to pray that he would die. She even made a voodoo doll. When he was killed by a drunk driver, Chloe felt responsible. And so on through the essays. It’s always like this.

I tear up because so many of their young lives already have two strikes against them. I tear up because I don’t see how I or anyone else can possibly make any difference. School is not going to take these young people, erase their pain, and turn them into critical thinkers who will score well on standardized tests, go on to successful careers, and live the American Dream. If this is the goal of public education, it will forever be an abject failure.

And then I came to an epiphany. Though I will never turn these teenagers into what society desires, I can bear witness to the traumas of their lives. This will not transform them, but having space to share their authentic emotions is something many of our students have never experienced. This is something I can do as a teacher.  There is nobility to that.

 

After the crowd of student hikers stopped gawking at me when I pulled myself out of the creek, they walked over to some benches next to a redwood grove and ate a snack. As I dried off, the boy who had earlier let go of my hand stayed behind.

“You’re not hungry?” I asked, hoping he would take a hint and leave me to regain my composure.

“Last year my dad left and hasn’t come back.” The boy teared up and said no more. I had no idea how to respond or what to say. He needed a therapist, and all he had was me. I took his hand and held it tight, and our eyes met for a brief moment, the time it takes for a struck match to light a wick. His lips formed a tiny grin; we released hands; he wiped a damp eye and took off running to the snack area.

Sometimes my job requires the audacity to teach; more often, it requires the humility to listen.

 

 

Presidential Tweets – First 100 Days

Presidential Tweets

First 100 days

January 21 2:34 AM   Best Inauguration ever! Kanye & Elton highly overrated. Mormon Tab Choir AWESOME!! Since gays can marry, I’m legalizing polygamy. #Whystop@1

January 21 10:35 AM  @CNN being haters and losers, again. So what if Secretary Perry forgot where Energy building is? Empathy, folks. Empathy.

January 21 10:36 AM  Obamacare, dumbest law ever, about to be repealed and replaced with the best healthcare plan ever!!! America, We Are Great Again!!!

January 21 10:54 AM  Nice congratulation call from Vlad. I can do business with him. Very smart. Obama didn’t have a clue how to deal with a real man. #Is44gay?

January 21 10:56 AM  Pence! Where’d I put the briefcase with the football?

January 21 3:30 PM Disregard last tweet. Barron had it. He’s having lots of fun here. #wearereallyreallysafe

January 22 2:35 AM Blind trusted my investments to keep terrible media off my back. Instructed Ivanka to advise blind trust to buy CNN.

January 23 11:56 PM  8” of snow since Inaug day. Global warming, right. Scientists don’t have a clue. Make coal great again! #chinahoax #I’malso8”

January 24 12:12 AM  Instructed Donald Jr. to advise blind trust to corner market in down jackets. Very, very cold in DC, you loser scientists.

January 24 10:34 AM  Reviewing amazing plans for Wall. Nicer and Bigger than China’s. #ifyoubuildittheywontcome

January 24 10:36 AM  Help design Muslim identification patch #greencrescent. Winner gets photo op with me @White House. Send sample/pix to @mikepence

January 24 10:37 AM  Cutting unemployment by hiring 2nd Amendment people to roundup and send illegals back to Taco Land.

February 1 10:40 AM  Chat with Vlad. We’re on the same brainwave. He figured out who I’m nominating at S. Court and I haven’t announced person yet. Great minds…

February 8 3:45 AM  @CNN, @HuffingtonPost, @Foxnews don’t get it. Not at all. Sad. They say TrumpCare repackaged ObamaCare. Wrong. #Besthealthplanever

February 10 10:34 PM  Melania at Trump Tower M-F. Any hot woman who wants internship, send pix/video to: @whitehouse.

February 11 4:35:12 AM  Phone message from a Kim Jong-Un? Did @kimkardashian divorce loser @kanye? Her butt makes America great! Kim, call me, better, stop by.  😉

February 11 4:35:47 AM  @megynkelly come to @whitehouse so I can explain how Trumpcare so much better than Obamacare. Wear your low-cut, tight black dress. 😉

February 11 7:25 AM  I’m told Kim Jong-Un is idiot whose company built exploding Samsungs. Make our phones here like they do at Apple. #madeintheusa

February 11 11:22 AM  @CNN quotes my jokes to make me look bad. Sad. Of course I know who @dearleader is. Unlike 44, he’ll listen to 45.

February 12 11:35 AM Dispatched Ambassador Rodman to NK to work out details with @dearleader to buy his bombs. Folks, can I negotiate or what?

February 14 4:23 AM To all the haters and losers who say I misogynist women, you don’t have a clue. I just nominated @sarahpalin for Supreme Court Justice!

February 14 4:48 AM @dearleader more like queer leader. My hands are perfect size! He’s the one with child-size gloves. Who’s he think he’s dealing with?

February 28 2:34 PM  Vlad, nice joke, but please remove troops from Slovakia. It’s funny, but the thin-skinned media giving me headache. #amendfreedomofpress

February 28 3:59 PM  Vlad, could you start the retreat. Okay? And while you’re at it, bring them back from Czechland. You’re still my BFF.

February 28 11:20 PM  Seriously, Vlad. Now.

March 9 6:23 PM  Need a few more workers for Wall. Interested? Contact @mikepence #Wantajob?Standatcornerofmini-martparkinglot

March 20 4:20 PM  20mill who got Obamacare, don’t worry. Trumpcare going to be much, much better. Cheaper, better coverage, and Trump quality guarantee.

March 21 2:50 AM      Hosted Ku Klux for white tie dinner. Amazing people. Very polite unlike stupid media. One AMAZING woman. #pussygrab

March 28 10:45 AM  Trumpcare not awesome, SUPERAWESOME!!! No preexisting conditions! Kids covered til 26! Folks, sign up to keep it affordable.

April 3 4:45 AM Shootout between 2nd Amendment Immigrant Enforcers and Latino police overblown by terrible @CNN coverage. Grenade launcher NOT used!

April 29 2:34 AM  Not one @ISIS attack since January 20. I took care of those radical Islamic terrorists like I promised. #DontmesswithDonald

April 29 11:43 PM  Airport attack stupidest thing you losers could ever do. ISIS, kiss your tiny hands and your caliphate goodbye! #DontmesswithDonald

April 29 11:57 PM Psycho Kim another missile test! I warned the small-handed one. @dearleader messing with wrong hombre. Hope NK has fallout shelters.

April 30 12:01 AM  Day 100 and idiot media said I’d never make it. And now I say adios to Psycho Kim and ISIS terrorists. Pence! Where’s the damn football!?