Smart Tony Episode Four: I Gots me a Bug Problem
“Science is a single truth, to make you think I’m smart and helpful.
The fact is that there’s no dispute, since you know I am like God.
Science is a list of rules, follow them and ask no questions.
Science is a lot like faith, except we throw in numbers.”
-From The Sciency Song, The Great Stupidity
All songs from The Great Stupidity are now available on my website and Apple Music or Spotify. Book out soon!
Smart Tony was busy conquering the Greek Alphabet of Delta, Gamma, and Omega while he and the Science President were making an important new law to not let any kid come out of the womb until “that brat is vaccinated and has a mask on, and I’m losing my patience with mothers who say otherwise,” the Science President said on TV. But all this fighting for America was getting him tired. Since he had come into a lot of cash during COVID, he got help from his good friends Billy G and Jeffrey B—who had also gotten really rich during COVID by being good and smart guys like Smart Tony—he decided to buy a house out in the country.
Now, Smart Tony, he was a city boy, so he had to hire a whole bunch of new maids and gardeners to care for his 12-bedroom cottage and the pool and all the land, which he did easily since he had the pecuniary gratitude of the American people to help him. One day he was sitting by the pool when he started getting bitten all over by little bugs. He tried to swat them away, yell at them, even shame them, but nothing was working, and he was getting real angry at their defiance.
“I ain’t used to all these bugs,” he said to his maid. “It ain’t like this in Brooklyn.”
When he told it to Joe in the Morning, Joe advised him to use his sciency brain to figure it out, which Smart Tony told him was a brilliant idea.
So, first stop, he went to visit his very smart infection doctor pals at the University of Washington that were on TV all the time telling people that if they didn’t wear masks that a zillion million people would die “based on our very precise calculations” they said. He knew these geniuses would have a sciency solution to his bug problem.
“The way we figure out what works,” said a super smart doctor who was helping save the world from COVID by shutting it down, “Is to build a model. We just plug some things we think we may be true into our computers, and then we let science do the rest!”
How lucky was Smart Tony to be in the friendship of such lifesaving doctors as these. So, they got going.
“OK,” said this brilliant doctor from his dark basement office that he hadn’t left for like two years; being so busy saving the world he didn’t have time to go out and look at the world.
“First, let’s assume that bugs never fly higher than six feet. Next, let’s assume that bugs will fly into metal if they see it. Next, let’s assume that bugs don’t like being alone, so if they go somewhere and there are not a lot of bugs, then they’ll leave.”
Smart Tony smiled. It was so good to assume things, plug them into a computer, and then generate facts! The whole COVID cure he had come up with was built on these bricks of science, and all the liberals and his TV friends thought so highly of doing it this way, then surly it would help him with his bug problem!
The computer spit out some answers that the smart infection doctor showed to him. “Looks like if you build a chain link fence six-feet tall around your house, that will do the trick! The bugs can’t fly higher than six feet, they will probably fly into the metal on the fence rather than through it, and if the fence stops transmission of 40% of the bugs, which our assumptions suggest is true, than the bugs that do get through will be lonely and will leave.”
Science was just so wonderful!! Smart Tony immediately hired some people to build his fence, which was metal and strong and reminded him a lot of an ally in the Bronx where he kissed his first girl, Smoochy. Him and his maid went out the next day, but unfortunately the bugs kept biting. So, he called up his university doctor friend.
“The bugs must be less bad,” Smart Tony said. “I mean, I know things are better based on all your very precise calculations. But I’s still getting the bites!”
The doctor called in his colleagues from Hopkins, Stanford and Cambridge to study the model and see why there were still bugs. They spent all night plugging in assumptions and generating facts. And then, at 4am after too many cups of tea, they had their eureka moment.
“It seems, Smart Tony,” the very smart doctor said to him. “That everyone in your neighborhood has to put up the fences, so that the bugs get really lonely and are forced to go somewhere else.”
This revelation made Smart Tony very happy, since now he had a solution sanctified by science and easy to implement, as long as everyone in his neighborhood was compliant.
But they weren’t! Many of his selfish neighbors were reluctant to put wire chain-link fences around their lawns, some science-deniers didn't find the bug problem to be very bad, and his most anti-science neighbors doubted the proven fact that fencing would solve the bug problem.
“The bugs will just go over the top of those fences or go right through them,” one very ignorant and misinformed neighbor said. He must listen to right wing talk radio!
So Smart Tony talked to the Science President, and he got Congress to pass a mandate that all houses in his neighborhood had to put up fences, since if any one of them didn’t, it would prevent all the others from eradicating the bugs. And sure enough, because this was America, everyone was forced to get the metal fences around their yards at their own expense.
The next week, after a much-needed trip to one of Jeffrey B’s private islands, Smart Tony came back to sit by his pool, and immediately the bugs started biting him.
“I know there are less bugs, because science says there have to be,” Smart Tony again said to his maid, who didn’t seem to be bitten as much. “But I don’t like it nonetheless!”
Lucky for Smart Tony, he had other scientists to help him, and for that he went to his NIH friends in Wuhan and his CDC friends from Pfizer. They had Encyclopedia Britannica, the best source of knowledge of all, and they started looked up stuff in a sciency way. Then, after much meticulous research, they came up with a solution.
“It seems,” one told him. “That bugs like water and trees. So, if you want to really get rid of them, you have to get rid of the water and trees.”
That made great sense to Smart Tony, especially since in his high-priced country subdivision there were lots of tall trees, a few ponds in parkland, and everyone had a pool. He went door to door and told everyone that it was time to chop down the trees, cement over the pools, and fill up the lakes. “If we don’t do that, then we ain’t never getting rid of these pesky bugs,” he told them.
But again, his very anti-science bug denier neighbors balked. So again, Smart Tony had to call in his liberal congressman and the Science President and force these ignorant people to take appropriate measures, since their own selfishness and wrong-headed misinformation could not prevent Smart Tony from eradicating a problem that was serious for everyone, not just them.
Soon enough, the Science President used tax-payer money and an executive mandate to bring in all sorts of big trucks and machines to chop down the trees, fill in the ponds, and cement the pools. This made Smart Tony so happy! When he returned from his next trip across the South, where he was teaching kids how to give their parents booster shots when the parents refused such shots (“You’s kids just go in their room late at night, pull down their jammies, and shove that needle into their right-wing butts,” he told them), his whole neighborhood had changed. Now there were no trees, no ponds, no birds, no pools. Just a bunch of houses surrounded by six-foot metal fences, most of them with a For Sale sign on them.
Smart Tony sat in his backyard enjoying the view of progress! The bugs were still biting him, but he didn’t mind it so much, since he knew that he had gotten rid of them in the most sciency of ways, so he must be imagining it. After a few days, he decided that he really didn’t want to live there anymore.
“I feel good that we helped all these people, even though they didn’t understand that they needed to be helped in my sciency way and they sometimes fought against my help out of ignorance and selfishness,” Smart Tony said to Rachel in the Meadow the next morning. “Sometimes science is just too sophisticated for the average Joe to understand.”
“You mean like Joe in the Morning, who I agree, is average, and he used to even be a Republican, if you can believe such a thing,” Rachel in the Meadow laughed. “So, why did you move from there, Smart Tony? It sounds like the perfect place to live now!”
“Well, it comes down to this, Rachel in the Meadow,” Smart Tony said. “First off, my maid tells me that none of the houses are worth much money now, so lots of undesirables are moving in. But mostly, I’m a city boy, and in the end, even though I gots me enough money to do what I wants, all I really wants to do is save the world from the never-ending threat of COVID. I learned that science has its place everywhere, but I feel selfish worrying about bugs when a far worser bug is upon us, the Delta bug!”
Rachel in the Meadow laughed. “You’re right, Smart Tony,” she said. And then she swatted something off her arm and looked at it. “What do you know,” she said. “Lice. I think your bug problem was lice, not what you thought it was. Well, you can’t always be right!”
Smart Tony smiled. He was always right. But that’s ok. Sometimes it was nice to be humble!