By Ed Vasicek
For the Kokomo Tribune
“Ed, did you see them new flowery median strips on Apperson Way? Aren’t they good looking?” Emil asked.
“Yep, I like ’em. You’ll have to excuse me, though. Just woke up from a Sunday afternoon nap,” I added.
“Yep, you remind me of that old TV show when I was just a kid, ‘Ben Casey.’ You look like a fellow called ‘Dr. Zorba.’”
“Oh, I remember him. Oh!” I gasped as I ran to the mirror. When one’s hair is thin, it can take a pyramid shape after a nap.
Emil had that mischievous look on his face as he announced, “OK, Ed, it is time to play true or false news.”
I don’t know why or when Emil started this little game of his, but I have to admit it is amusing. “Go ahead, shoot,” I replied. Emil began:
“Story number one: A guy in Brazil was awarded $17,500 at McDonald’s expense. He claimed that while working at McDonald’s, he was responsible to sample the food every day for quality assurance. In addition, the restaurant provided free lunch to its employees. He says it is McDonald’s fault he put on 65 pounds during the years he worked there.”
“Hmm,” I contemplated, “I would say that is false. I mean, I have put on 50 pounds since I started here ministering in Kokomo, and some of that from church dinners. The church isn’t going to give me anything for my weight other than a diet plan. And then they recite that old fractured Bible verse, ‘The spirit is willing but the flesh is too much.’”
“No, Ed, you are wrong,” Emil gleamed. “The story is true. Happened at the end of 2010. Read it on Fox News, AP and the BBC.”
“OK, you got me this time. What’s next?” I asked.
“Well,” Emil continued, “Story number two. The Kokomo city council decided to populate the Wildcat Creek with a collection of porpoises and dolphins. Since they are oxygen breathing mammals, they can live in the creek even during drought times.”
This story seemed ridiculous and obviously false, so reverse psychology kicked in. “True,” I smiled, thinking I had outwitted Emil.
“No! Where is your brain?” Emil rebuked. “Of course that is false. OK, I’ll try one more.” I noted Emil’s rebuke and lost my faith in reverse psychology. He continued:
“Story number three. They have this African weed called kenaf, sort of closely related to Okra. They say this plant is the cure to many of our ills. For one thing, you can eat it because it is rich in protein. Great for animal feed, especially for chickens. It has these unique fibers that are good for making insulation. Actually it yields 6-10 tons of fiber per acre.
“It eats up CO2 permanently – that bad gas associated with global warming. It reduces carbon by 3 to 8 times compared to a tree. An acre could absorb 20 tons of CO2. You can make a light-weight replacement for concrete blocks from this stuff, and get this – even the blocks absorb CO2 permanently.”
“Well,” I thought to myself, “Last time I tried reverse psychology and made a fool of myself. This story sounds like a Pollyanna pipe dream. A plant that does all that – good grief!” I shared my verdict: “False!”
“Haw, haw,” belly laughed Emil. “I got you again. No, this is true. Read it on the Mother Nature Network.”
“Remember that old margarine commercial, Emil? ‘It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!’ This time, Mother Nature fooled me.”
“Yep, you are right,” Emil chuckled. “Dolphins in the Wildcat? Haw!”
Don’t know if I can live that one down.
• Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.