Sloppy Joe on the bus, an Allegory

I had written this on October 24, 2008, just before the presidential election but never published.  Seems at least as pertinent today is it did then.


October 24, 2008


As he got on the bus, I knew he was heading straight for the empty seat beside the thin man in front of me.  I watched this poor man looking fit and slim sitting comfortably in his seat, look away, out the bus’s window hoping in silence the big man coming toward him would pass.  Fate was against this unfortunate soul who I thought of as Average Joe.   It was the perfect storm.  Most seats on the bus were already taken and those empty were next to similarly large, ok, fat people just like the man approaching.

There would be no room for him next to those of his size so he would have to take the empty space just to the left of Average Joe.  That space existed simply because Average Joe obviously worked hard at keeping himself in decent shape.   As the approaching man thundered down the narrow isle it was clear he wouldn’t try to take the space from those like him who obviously did not work as hard to keep in shape.  So, like the government, this insatiable man came to take the space of the responsible man sitting by the window.

I watched as he squeezed in next to Average Joe, his body flowing into the seat to his right and pinning Joe against the window. Naturally he immediately began speaking in some unrecognizable tongue on his cell phone disturbing the bus full of commuters. 

As for me, I watched, predicting the events when I was suddenly horrified to realize that we may all be seeing this situation play out more and more in the coming months and years.

I thought about this season of Joes making an impact on the presidential election.  From Joe the Plumber who used his mouth and a few simple sentences to finally focus the country on Barack Obama’s vision of change, (redistribution of wealth) to Joe the Biden using his mouth to insert his foot but also focus the country on the dangerous inexperience of his running mate Barack Obama.   Joes have had quite an impact.

Now here I was putting myself in the shoes of Average Joe, stuck on the bus, trying to keep what he had from Joe the Sloppy or Sloppy Joe, as I began to think of him.   I realized that this large man taking an empty seat and forcing Average Joe into a corner was an allegory for big government oozing into our space in the form of Obama’s socialized medicine and wealth distribution. 

I imagined Average Joe working hard and keeping fit, in part so he would have some extra room for his long, daily commute to his job.  That extra room represents the reward for hard work.  We may also refer to it as wealth.

Because of his obesity, Sloppy Joe crowded from his now filled seat into the one next to his, thus taking his neighbor’s space; allegorically taking his neighbor’s wealth.  Like the working guy on the bus, responsible Americans will be penalized for their responsibility; for working hard and keeping financially fit.

Notice Sloppy Joe did not squeeze next those like him on the bus.  They were left with two seats.  Perversely, like Obama’s designs on working Americans’ wealth, they were rewarded (with more room on the bus) for being unfit.

So when you think of Obama’s socialized redistribution of wealth, think of a Sloppy Joe on the bus.  

Is that a mess you want on your hands?