I have been studying how I may make jokes about this year that’s ending. And because there is nothing funny about it, I cannot do it. Yet I’ll hammer it out.
I stole that from Shakespeare: Richard II, Act V, scene v.
I have been studying how I may compare
This prison where I live unto the world:
And for because the world is populous
And here is not a creature but myself,
I cannot do it; yet I’ll hammer it out.
OK! Let’s have some jokes here!
Didya hear the one about the little girl from Guanajuato who was taken from her Mom in Laredo and thrown into prison apart from her Mom? Then they both killed themselves?
Har! What a joke on them!
Didya hear the one about the Honduran woman who was tortured so badly that she bled from her eyes as they killed her husband in front of her, for trying to organize a union?
Talk about “enhanced interrogation”!
What a joke on them!
Didya hear the one about Bill Barr’s theory of the “unitary presidency”?
Ho ho … ho? What’s in your stocking, Bill?
Think you could find a backbone there? Maybe? Or just a lump of coal?
OK. All right. This is supposed to be a humor column. So get a load of this!
Many years ago, a lovely young Salvadoran woman was dragged from a city park and gang-raped by a death squad and left for dead, naked in a ditch. They carried off her boyfriend and killed him. She had to make her way, naked, through the back streets of San Salvador.
After that, she and her brother planned to escape to the United States. But they didn’t have the money. So he told her to go first. ‘Get a job in Los Yunay and send for me.’ So she did.
The Border Patrol caught her on Day 1 and threw her into prison in Laredo: the first U.S. immigration prison farmed out to a private prison company specifically to imprison women, children and babies.
There, they strip-searched her, including body cavity searches, before and after each time she sought legal counsel.
And only when she sought legal counsel.
I was her legal counsel.
Not a lawyer, just a paralegal.
Then we learned that her brother, the one who gave her all his money and stayed behind, had been kidnapped and killed by a Salvadoran death squad. They dismembered him and tossed his body pieces into this young woman’s back yard, where her young children lived, and saw it.
Ha! What a joke that was!
Your taxes at work!
So. I got her out of prison by marrying her. There was no other way back then, on the border. Political asylum? Forget it. This was 1985.
In the years that followed, after a few happy years, she tried to kill me. More than once. I had to leave her.
What a joke on us that was! As we used to say in junior high school: So funny I forgot to laugh.
That was thirty-some years ago. Under Reagan.
Would you believe me if I told you that the past four years have been worse?
Well, they have been. They have been.
Wish I could tell you a joke right now. But none come to mind.
(Author’s Note: “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40))