Sir: I want you to know that I haven't laughed at a single one of the jokes. Everybody seems to have one, even my deputy czars and underczars, and I try to grin along with the hilarity, but the truth is, sir, that I just don't "get" it. Why is it funny for your name and "intelligence" to be mentioned in the same breath? What is an oxymoron, anyway, sir? Any reassurances you could give me at this point would be very much appreciated.
Sir: I'm afraid there's not just much intelligence in much of this intelligence. Like the intelligence you got about those weapons of mass destruction. That wasn't intelligence, sir; it was just somebody pulling your yang. If you'll excuse me for saying so. This makes it most uncomfortable for me to go on being called the Intelligence Czar. I wouldn't want to change the title to Presidential Yang-Pulling Czar, but how about something more accurate and less pompous-sounding, like maybe Poop Czar? The young people would relate better to a Poop Czar, and I could go on MTV and rap with them, if that's what you call it.
Sir: Just when I thought I'd got a handle on this intelligence business, one of my underczars came in with a piece of counterintelligence. What is counterintelligence, sir? Something you pick up at a coffee counter? Something that's retarded? Nobody told me anything about any extra job responsibilities that wear me out before I can get finished spelling them.
Sir: It's me again, your faithful Poop Czar, wondering if we might change my title again and remove the czar part of it. I think czar might be a Russian term, like gulag or dressing. One of the underczars told me that it was, and we sure wouldn't want our spanking new bureaucracy named after something Communist. Next thing these smart-alecks in the press would be calling me the Poop Commissar, or Comrade Poop? I'd rather be the Poopmeister if we just have to use a foreign term. Poop Daddy would go over even better with those MTV youngsters, but the thought of Dan Rather calling me Poop Daddy in front of millions of people creeps me out a little bit, sir. My own choice would be Poop Poobah but one of the sorehead underpoops here says it reminds him too much of the Ku Klux Klan. You can't please everybody. I should tell you in closing that I find the concept of counterpoop much more appealing than the 19-letter monstrosity you dumped on me earlier.
Sir: I need to ask about Spy v. Spy, both of whom I assume now fall under the jurisdiction of this office. When the black one drops a piano on the white one's head, or the white one slips a bomb under the cape of the black one, and a big crash or explosion results, and the one that's the victim gets X's for eyes, does that mean he's dead? I've been told that it does mean that, but these conflicts within the department have to be handled with great delicacy. Thought you might be able to advise.
Sir: As a follow-up on that Spy v. Spy business, I'd like to know what my supervisory status is concerning one James Bond, whose identification number, I'm given to believe, is 007. Is he British, and if he is, does that mean we have no control whatsoever over his immoral activities and outrageous expense accounts? How am I supposed to "ride herd" over this intelligence community, per your instruction, when such as him are running wild? Is this the same rapscallion who sometimes goes by the name Maxwell Smart? Is either one of them the Man From U.N.C.L.E.? Which side was the Mata Hari on, and would a svelter caboose got her a reprieve from the firing squad? This is how I spend me day. And you? Oh, I flagged those old ational-nay uard-gay files, and you can rest easy about that.
Sir: Sifting through all this intelligence, or poop, I came across the enclosed, and thought you might get a kick out of it. It's Jethro Bodeen's application to be a Double-Naught Spy. Or a fry cook or brain surgeon if we don't have any immediate spy openings. We get all kinds here in Intelligence, or Poop, sir. I'm also sending along the Elvis Presley application to be an FBI agent. I had been under the impression that this "Elvis" was also a fictional character, like the Bond fellow or Julius and Ethel Rosenberg. Don't know where I got that idea. I mean, I knew Jethro Bodeen was real because we got to see him every week in or around the cement pond, but I thought Elvis might be just a character out of one of his songs that the impersonators like to impersonate. Alias Smith and Jones were two others in the spook business that I was never sure about. You don't happen to know, do you, sir, if they were real or not? If so, they would've worked under President Grant and their dossiers might be there in your "G" filing cabinet. Nothing about them in our famous intelligence files, and I don't know why, unless maybe they worked under code names, which a lot of people in this line of work seem to do, for some reason.
Bob Lancaster, one of the Arkansas Times longest and most valued contributors, retired from writing his column last week. We’ll miss his his contributions mightily. Look out, in the weeks to come, for a look back at some of his greatest hits. In the meantime, here's a good place to start.