I was at this place where I did some physical rehab once and the owner lets me use it to work out. He keeps the TV on CNN for me with subtitles, but with the sound off for everyone else. The radio's playing Christmas songs and there's a survivor kind of camaraderie. Not too many people who look like me, a diverse group of many shades and accents, though the dominant one is working class Jersey.
There's immigrants and injured cops and firemen and retirees and the occasional young athlete. Some are regulars and friends, but as I'm doing my routine a woman I hadn't seen before, a big beefy middle aged lady sitting up on a therapy table with one of those electric stimulator machines soothing her injury, looks at the TV and says:
"Oh Jesus no, every time that man opens his mouth the stock market goes down."
I look to see who she's talking about and there's our president standing at a podium speaking. I can't make out the words so don't know what it is but can't help saying, "That's not true."
"Oh yes it is," she says, "they said it on the TV" and I already knew she meant Fox News.
There were a few more exchanges as I tried to enlighten her, pointing out the fact that the stock market was plunging off the deep end when he got elected and under him it's turned around, mentioning the success of the auto bailout with Chrysler paying back their loan six years ahead of time with interest, and the rest.
But she wasn't having any of it. When it looked like I might be more prepared to defend my position with facts, she said we shouldn't talk politics. So I stopped.
Later in the day when I got home, I turned on the news and there was the same shot of our president speaking at the podium and what he was saying when she made her misinformed and, unknowingly or not, lying accusation about the president, was that the war in Iraq is over. A war generated and supported by the last president and his party's lies, a war whose price tag contributed mightily to our debt and the economic catastrophe they created.
I guess that's what you call ironic. But I'm sure she wouldn't have any of that either.