Credit: Cagle Cartoons

BE AFRAID:  Donald Trump on steroids? Really? The answer, it turns out, is yes.

This might well prove to be the epitaph of the United States of America, crowning pinnacle of Western civilization. After 244 years on Planet Earth — one year, it turns out, for every pound on Trump’s pinkly obese body — the United States is at risk of going the way of the Nehru shirt because of just one especially egregious case of ’roid rage.

Trump — who insists on gallivanting about commando-style where facial coverings are concerned — woke up last week with a case of COVID bad enough to warrant the heavy-duty one-two punch of oxygen infusions and steroids strong enough to keep his antibodies from killing him before the COVID does. Naturally, the Prez could not be constrained.

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First, he busted loose from Walter Reed for his now-infamous joyride, during which he basked in the adulation of well-wishers. Taken along in Trump’s presidential SUV — hermetically sealed tighter than a can of tuna fish — were a couple of Secret Service men. They knew all about “taking a bullet” for the Prez; no one ever warned them about inhaling his potentially fatal sputum vapors.

The next day, Trump sprung himself from Walter Reed. After wheezing his way up the White House steps, he dramatically stopped and ripped off his black face covering with enough sudden force to suggest it had been affixed with duct tape. If only.

The situation at the White House, we are told, is very fluid. That’s like saying the waterfalls of Niagara Falls are “very fluid.” At this point, no fewer than 11 of Trump’s personal Goebbels and Mengeles-in-waiting have been reported infected, but that number keeps metastasizing. The entire Joint Chiefs of Staff of the mightiest military power in the history of eternity are in now in self-imposed lockdown.

And Wall Street is at last in a tizzy — finally — because Trump unilaterally guillotined negotiations with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi over a stimulus package that could have extended, among other things, supplemental unemployment benefits for 26 million people. Trump’s dramatic refusal to do his job took place only moments after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell implored the President to pass a stimulus bill. Hanging in the balance was the economic stability of pretty much the entire Western world, which, I suspect, includes your job and my job.

People want to judge. Me, I have compassion. I’ve had my own steroid moments.

A few years ago, the ligaments controlling all the rippling muscles that slither throughout my left forearm had become inflamed because I’d gone on a serious ukulele bender and was intent on learning to play better than Jake Shimabukuro in just one weekend. The steroids definitely helped relieve my forearm ligaments, but along the way, I found myself transformed from the well-mannered Dr. Jekyll I am into the hair-on-fire rage-aholic Mr. Hyde. Before it was over, police would have to be called.

Tragically, they did not arrive in time to prevent the abuse that befell my poor uke. The cops, for the record, could not have been more compassionate. In hindsight, I like to think race had nothing to do with it. But I can’t help but wonder. Few things on the planet are as screamingly white as our most recent fixation with all things ukulele, despite the instrument’s third-world origins and trajectory of colonization.

If I were Congressmember Salud Carbajal, who represents Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties in D.C., I might be less forgiving. Carbajal, as has been reported, just tested positive for COVID, having contracted it — he’s all but certain — from Utah’s über-right-wing Senator Mike Lee, who lives right next door to Carbajal in the very same apartment house. Lee attended the now-nefarious White House garden party ceremony on September 26, at which Trump announced the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.

A giddy, gloating, triumphant time was had by all, excepting that many participants took the COVID virus home with them as a souvenir. Lee, like most everyone attending, wore no mask during the event, though he did dangle a wispy blue surgical mask provocatively from one hand as he mowed through the crowd, bear-hugging anyone in sight.

Did Trump infect Lee? Can we say that Salud Carbajal got infected indirectly by Donald Trump? It would be nice to know, but the White House won’t be conducting any track-and-tracing of that garden party. Like masks, track-and-tracing is manifestation of deep state power.

For the record, I’d point out certain instances of deep state overreach have proved beneficial in the extreme. Because of seatbelt requirements, 255,000 people lived who would have otherwise been killed in car crashes between 1975 and 2017. Airbags were good for another 50,000. Two years after California mandated motorcycle helmets, UCLA reports a 40 percent drop in motorcycle fatalities. And state-imposed restrictions on our God-given and Constitutional right to inhale cancer-causing chemicals in the form of cigarettes have saved an estimated 22 million worldwide.

Just sayin’.

Trump infamously said, “Don’t be afraid of COVID.” But Trump on steroids? Be very afraid.

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