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The virus Mental-health ruminations over a game of chess

The Winchester Star - 3/7/2017

CHARLES BRILL

“The crowd . . . is so ready to treat great men as lunatics.”

Cesare Lombroso in “The Man of Genius”

My old friend and I were playing chess and having a fireside chat over perique and a bottle of Glen Mhor. We chuckled at the latest attempts by the anti-Trump crowd to promote the idea that The Donald may be mentally unbalanced. Alzheimer’s, perhaps? Maybe even syphilis ...

My friend, a noted academician, has insisted I not identify him — “We live in weird times,” he cautions — so we’ll call him George Alphanone.

“Trump is the gold standard,” he smiled. “We have mutual friends who tell me Donald has some things in common with Teddy Roosevelt and Winston Churchill. He’s retained a boyish enthusiasm for life in general and he refuses to run with the pack. Unbalanced! Not by a long shot.”

He paused, turning over a bishop between thumb and forefinger, and seemed to hesitate before adding:

“Funny we should touch on mental illness. You know something about my research at ‘The Institute’ ...”

“Not much. It’s hush-hush, I know that.”

“We’re keeping it that way because, if the general public knew ... the idea that there may be an apocalyptic malady spreading whose source is unidentifiable. A cure? Where to begin?”

“Worse than HIV? Than Zika? Not containable?”

Alpha moved a pawn to Queen’s Knight 3.

“It’s a mental aberration that’s affecting a large part of the U.S. population and well beyond. The odd thing is the groups it targets. It confines itself exclusively to liberal Progressives.”

I gave a low whistle. “Well ... that would explain a lot — legalized abortion, sexual perversion as perfectly normal behavior, the election of Barack Obama. But where did the virus come from? Maybe some hellish microbe brought back from outer space?

Alpha shook his head.

“It’s been around long before the space program. Remember Lenin? Margaret Sanger? FDR? The virus has simply metastasized. There’s something about the Progressive mind that draws it like iron filings to a magnet.”

He had ceased to concentrate on his moves.

“Check” I muttered, then “Mate.”

Mr. Alpha shrugged, smiled, and stood up.

“We’re not beaten yet,” he said as he shook my hand and reached for his coat.

“Pray for us, my boy. We’re going to need it.”

Charles Brill resides in Gore.

 
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