Mary had just had a bad night; a really, really bad night. The man her “friend” set her up with and had assured her was the “catch of the century,” had predictably turned out to be anything but. He was grossly immature and socially awkward with a strange and unsettling twitching left eye that never quite seemed to look directly at her. As she brooded over her mug of hot coffee, she thought to herself that it could have been much worse. He could have been an Oakland Raiders fan.
She wiped a single tear from her eye and opened her Ipad. She surfed the local and state news reports as an ad popped up on her screen. “Single in Birmingham” flashed in big crimson letters. “Yeah, right,” she thought. Upset with her current love life, or rather lack thereof, she clicked on the picture of the cute guy with the chiseled chest and washboard abs. A multitude of ads and images came up. Intrigued, she clicked on another site.
Once there she found dozens of personal ads promising “love,” “companionship,” “financial stability,” and every sort of assurance a young woman could ever want or imagine. As she read through the list, one ad in particular caught her attention. The picture was of a healthy man in his late forties to early fifties wearing an expensive, black Armani suit leaning up against a yellow Ferrari that was parked in front of his classic WWII P-51 Mustang. His rugged good looks, clean shaved appearance and to be honest, apparent wealth instantly appealed to Mary. It was his written ad, however, that sealed the deal.
“Widowed, forty-something man tired of the dating rat race. Lost my beloved wife to cancer last year after 25 years of marriage. I am a Christian man in search of a woman with similar Christian values.” Mary looks up at the Nativity scene on her mantel and nods to herself, “Well, that’s me alright.” She reads further, “Not into games, too old for that. Looks not important. Honesty, fairness and loyalty are paramount. I will honor and respect any woman I meet and will not deceive in anyway. I am just lonely and want to spend my time with a woman who will appreciated me and my God. If interested, call Johnny at 555-555-0327.”
Mary puts down her Ipad and ponders what she just read. “Is this possible? Guys like this really don’t exist, do they.” But after her date with left-eye the night before and the disastrous time with the Tibetan Siamese twins the week before, she thought this couldn’t possibly miss. How could the government allow a website to promote false advertisements like this? And surely, if it were a lie, she would eventually find out. She pondered another minute, reached for the phone and dialed.
The voice on the other line was more than she had hoped for. His voice was calm and soothing with a twinge of Texas hill country in his accent. She was immediately smitten. “Hello, is this Johnny?” The conversation went smoothly from the start and she could tell that Johnny still pined for his wife since she noticed he held back the tears when questioned about her. They agreed to meet later that week since Johnny had an important meeting in Washington D.C. the next day. Yes, Friday would be perfect. She agreed that he would pick her up at her home at 1700 sharp and they would go to one of the fanciest restaurants in town followed by a night of dancing. Finally, the stars were beginning to align in her favor.
Over the next couple of days, Mary busied herself with getting her hair done, a manicure, a pedicure, spa treatments and buying the perfect dress and other sundry items for her date. They talked two to three times per day on the phone and she began to feel a connection she had never felt before. She even told her best friend that although they had never met and she really knew nothing about him, she felt she was falling in love with Johnny. He had and promised everything anybody could ever want.
Friday night at precisely 1700, Mary heard a car turn onto her driveway. She was upstairs putting the final touches onto an already finished masterpiece of feminine appearance. The dress, the makeup, the hair, the perfume; all of it was certain to impress Johnny. As she looked out the window, the doorbell rang. She looked out the window too late and was not able to get an image of her date but noticed an ugly, 1970’s era Ford Pinto in the driveway. The car, once white, was now primarily an ugly primer orange with just a few mottled areas of white visible among the various dents and dings. “That’s odd,” Mary thought but refused to allow the obvious to cloud her judgment.
She grabbed her shawl, killed the light and bolted down the stairs. She didn’t want to keep her prince waiting any longer than necessary. Certainly, any man that had personal meetings in Washington had to be of some importance; definitely more than any of the men she encountered there in town. Before she opened the door, she took a deep breath and tried to calm her shaking hands and racing heart. She felt like a giddy little 17 year-old school girl instead of the 33 year-old woman who had been through so much the past few years.
In that moment, Mary thought about her best friends Frank and Becky who had been married for over 35 years. They were almost like surrogate parents to the heartbroken Mary. They told her repeatedly to be careful with Johnny and that she needed to find out more about him before she goes willy-nilly into the night with a man she admittedly knows nothing about. “How do you know he is telling you the truth?” “How can you be sure of all his promises?” Infatuated with the thought of a long sought after romantic relationship, Mary rebuffed her friend’s questions. When her coworker said she thought she saw the same stock photograph on another dating site, Mary dismissed it as jealousy and ignorance. “No,” she argued. “This is the right man for me. I know it. I can feel it. Why can’t any of you just be happy for me? No one would create such huge lie and expect not to ever get caught. I’m going Friday and that’s that. I’ll talk to you on Saturday.”
Mary took a deep breath, straightened her dress and nervously opened the door. Her smile quickly faded as she noticed the man standing in front of her.
Instead of a neatly dressed and handsome middle-aged man, she was staring into the bloodshot eyes of twenty-something kid. From the unkempt hair, facial tattoo and ratty clothing, it was all too much to take in at once. “Johnny,” she muttered quietly, “is that you?” The man smiled, showing the lack of a considerable number of teeth and nodded “yes” to the question.
“But the Ferrari!”
“Sorry. Pinto. 1972.”
“The meeting in Washington, D. C.?”
“Nope. I had to buy some pot over on Washington Avenue.”
“What about the airplane?”
“Yeah, right! Do I look like a pilot to you?”
“But I trusted you. I believed you. You deliberately deceived me.
How could you?”
The man now looked deep into Mary’s blue-grey eyes and said, “If I had been honest with you, would you have actually gone out with me? Would you have given me a second thought? Would I have stood a snowball’s chance in hell?” Mary looks down and away. Johnny speaks up again. “I did what I had to do in order to get a date. Face it, you messed up. You trusted me. So now I guess you are stuck with me. So are we still going out or what?”
Okay, so what does this story have to do with anything? Yes it is a play on an idea that the Obama administration, in concert with M.I.T. economist Dr. Jonathan Gruber, intentionally duped the American public, and more specifically Congress, and was not forthright in detailing all the aspects of Obamacare. There is so much information about this to go around that I did not want to simply rehash it. At the end of the column you will find links to several articles and videos about Jonathan Gruber and the administration’s deceit of the American people. From Nancy Pelosi stating in a news conference she had no idea who Gruber was although she sang his praises in a Q&A session in November 2009, to the President claiming Gruber was not on his staff (maybe technically correct but he was a paid advisor). This claim despite former President Obama advisor Steve Rattner claiming that Gruber was basically “the man” when it came to crafting Obamacare.
Like Mary in our story, she was seduced by a series of well-crafted lies. Even if her new beau turns out to be a really neat guy, he only got his “foot in the door” based upon his lies. Of course, the question becomes do the ends justify the means? Even if Obamacare helps millions of people, does it make the government’s subterfuge acceptable? I don’t think so. Had the government been totally honest, would the bill have passed? Jonathan Gruber clearly admits that an intentional “lack of transparency” was critical to passing such legislation. And let us not forget the immortal words of Queen Pelosi who said, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it – away from the fog of the controversy.” Oy!!
I for one cannot believe Gruber is not sitting behind one of those long tables being grilled for his major part to play in such a huge government backed deception. But since it passed because of admitted lies, like Mary, we are going to be forced to live with it.