Freddie Jingo was the star of the high school class reunion this year. The very same Freddie Jingo who was the class clown, the guy who would never amount to anything, the loser.
Freddie showed up for the reunion driving a Bentley convertible, wearing bespoke threads and tripping the light in skin-thin Italian shoes.
"Did you hit the lottery?" everyone asked.
"Heck, no," Freddie replied indignantly. "I got rich the Murrican way. Entrepreneurship. I spotted a need and filled it. I'm founder and CEO of TEA, Inc."
"Wow!" everyone said. "How rich are you?"
"So rich that the socialist administration wants to let my tax cuts expire."
"Like Blankenfein's and Hurd's?"
"What is TEA's line?"
"We manufacture 'Trendy Euphemisms and Acronyms.'"
"Sounds high tech."
"Cutting edge," said Freddie.
"What 's your market ?"
"Republicans mainly. The people who make this country great. But we keep expanding -- governments at every level, defense industry, consumer goods, military. There's even a growing market in education."
"How did you get started?"
"Well, frankly I wasn't doing all that well in sales. . . ."
"That would be when you were peddling hot knock-offs of Rolex on the sidewalks of Manhattan?"
"On Wall Street. In front of Goldman Sachs."
"And. . . ."
"Well, one day this guy in an aluminum suit stops by and browses my goods, and finally he says, 'If you can sell these things, maybe you can tell me how to unload all the bad loans we're holding.' Quick as a wink, I say, 'They're not bad loans. They're credit default swaps.' 'You're a genius!' the guy says, and offers me a job working on the Chinese Wall. Paid big bucks. My first specialty was analyst signals. I gave 'em the CVR II and the TRIN Thrust, among others. Eventually, I decided to go out on my own."
"That's when you started TEA, Inc.?"
"Right. I leveraged it with Hot Fund shares and Toxic Turtle Soup."
"Sheer genius! But what got you into politics?"
"One of the Goldman shills was laying heavy bread on his buddy DeLay and Tom mentions this dilemma. Seems they've dusted off this old Draconian bill that repeals the Bill of Rights, but they don't think it'll pass without a catchy title. So the shill tells Tom,' I know just the guy for you. But you'll have to repeal Glass-Steagall to get his name.' 'Consider it done,' says Tom, so the shill gives him Freddie Jingo."
"So it was you who coined. . . ."
"Yep. The USA PATRIOT Act -- the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001. My personal masterpiece."
"And your fortunes continued to soar throughout the Bush Administration, right?"
"Right. We expanded rapidly. Created separate departments for euphemisms and for acronyms."
"Might you have helped Rummy on 'collateral damage'?"
"They very first product to roll out of our new DOE."
"What are you working on now?"
"Our newest client is Obama's deficit reduction commission. They want a title for legislation to pay down the deficit by eliminating Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid."
"A tough one!"
"Yes," said Freddie, "because 'Compassionate Conservatism" is already taken. They're considering something that's a joint product of our two divisions. 'Social Conscience to Reduce Economic Woe.'"
"Love the acronym!"