Monday, March 7, 2011


There's still lots of protests going on in Wisconsin, in part in reaction to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker's plan to cut three-quarters of a billion dollars from public schools. The other side is starting to push back, though, and last night we got a recorded robo-call on our answering machine warning us of "angry radicals" rioting at the Capitol. I am actually kind of excited to be referred to as an angry radical, and I am downright touched that they were generous enough to overlook the fact that I don't own a single pair of Birkenstocks. With two kids, a husband, a job and a mortgage, if I'm radically anything these days, it's radically boring -- so I was buoyed by the knowledge that at least someone considers me a danger. (Other than David, who of course considers me dangerously sexy.)

A reporter picked me out of the protesting crowd to interview, and my quote was included in a Reuters article that appeared on the New York Times website. My friends were amazed, given that there were by some estimates 100,000 people at the protest that day -- how did I manage to get picked out of the crowd? I had to explain to them the concept of The Cornelius Luck. Basically, when it comes to random occurrences, I and some other people in my family are extremely lucky. In fact, whenever I buy a raffle ticket and I don't win something, I'm befuddled and secretly suspect the drawing of being fixed. Every year I buy a ticket to the Big Brothers Big Sisters raffle, which has a grand prize of $50,000 and every year when I don't win, I go around glaring at people because SOMEBODY STOLE MY MONEY.

Some versions of the Reuters article that quoted me included a reference to my 10-month old son "Walton." I think Baby W (whose name is Walter) should demand a retraction. I mean, I know the public educational system in this state is going to be massively defunded, that we should expect extensive layoffs in local government, and health care for low-wage workers is going to be cut back. But by golly, there is some good news in this state, and that is that I DID NOT NAME MY SON WALTON. Let's take the silver linings where we find them.

At first I thought it was a problem that my is baby named Walter, since his name is just one letter different from Governor Walker's. But then I realized the potential for amusing Freudian slips. For example, I accidentally wrote in an email that the baby has a bad cold and "the twin tracks of greenish snot creeping out Walker's nose sometimes reach all the way to his chin." There's also lots of potential for diaper-related jokes -- something along the lines of Walker needing a change due to offensive load he's carrying. (You work out the exact wording for yourself, okay? I can't do everything around here.) Now I am going to type a bunch of capital letters because THAT'S HOW I ENDED THE PREVIOUS TWO PARAGRAPHS, AND I LIKE TO DO THINGS IN THREES.

I'm afraid that whatever becomes of all this strife, the state of Wisconsin will never be the same. I'm afraid that we'll lose our tradition of innovation in governmental service delivery, of protecting our neediest, and strengthening our middle class. Things could be worse, I guess. All these changes could be driven by a governor named WALTON.

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