Folk Hero

A mother and her little boy are in the kitchen having lunch. The boy grabs a paper towel from the dispenser, but as he does, it tears. He turns to his mom and asks:

“Mommy, why don’t paper towels work the right way?”

“What do you mean honey?”

“Every time I pull one off the dispenser, it tears. They’re not very strong.”

“Well, they’re not made to be strong.”

“Why not?”

“The manufacturers make them so they rip easily on purpose. They’re meant to be poorly made so we’ll keep having to use more and more of them.”

“Oh. Where do paper towels come from?”

“They come from trees.”

“Paper towels come from trees?! I love trees! I thought trees were strong Mommy. ”

“Yes, I love trees too, and they are strong. But they’re no match for human consumption. You see, all paper products come from trees, even toilet paper. The idiots that make these products have consciously decided not to use more sustainable resources to manufacture them because of greed and money. They keep chopping down trees so you can wipe your… mouth.”

“Why do they put a picture of a strong man on the outside if the paper towels aren’t strong then?”

“You’re referring to the brand with the log cutter on the packaging? Well, it’s to fool people into unconsciously thinking the paper towels are a lot stronger than they really are. It’s called Marketing.”

“Log cutter? I thought he was called a Lumberjack.”

“Log cutter, Lumberjack… they’re the same Tommy, they’re both idiots.”

“Paul Bunyan is an idiot too? I thought he was a hero like it says in the book.”

“Nope, he’s an evil tree cutter that destroys the planet. Well, not him personally because he doesn’t really exist; he’s not real. It’s the giant corporations who are the evil tree-cutting idiots.”

“Paul Bunyan isn’t real?!”

“Of course not Tommy, he’s something the log cutting corporations made up to make people believe what they want them to believe and to ignore the truth. They take something destructive like cutting down trees for profit, and build a narrative around it, making it seem harmless, like a big, strong folk hero with a blue ox going out into the woods cutting down trees for an heroic purpose. That’s what we call Propaganda.”

“I can’t believe Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe, aren’t real.”

“Well, Mr. Smith next door can’t believe my breasts aren’t real either but that’s just a sign of a great plastic surgeon. Anyway, it’s all about spin, honey. This whole thing with the Coronavirus is a perfect example: Our leaders are causing fear and panic everywhere, and that fear… that paranoia, is especially concentrated in places where people voted for Trump; they’re the ones buying up all the toilet paper from Costco, so if we don’t have any next week, they’re the ones to blame.

“You see, fear incites consumption; when people are afraid, they consume: Products, alcohol, drugs, porn, precious metals, toilet paper, microwave popcorn… anyway, remember that every election year there has been a dangerous virus going around, and that’s not just a coincidence. This is an attempt to make our President look like a hero because he signed an 8.3 billion dollar healthcare package, even though just months earlier, he drastically cut Medicaid, the ACA, and was putting people in cages to die. See the parallels with the Paul Bunyan story? We call that Hypocrisy… and Authoritarianism.”

“Oh okay, well can I go out and play now?”

“Of course you can honey, but don’t forget to put on a mask first.”


Published by Clever Girl

Intrepid writer, reader and comedian.

24 thoughts on “Folk Hero

  1. I enjoy your humorous storytelling style. Interesting twist on the marketing theme, Maybe there is an opportunity for paper products and body modification to combine marketing?
    From my perspective I hope all the American voters take the November election serious. I think the republican candidate won because the polls indicated they could stay home, and see what happened. Once every four years, is it too much to ask to vote even if it’s not convenient?


  2. People are running about with their hands in the air…Usually it takes a threat of snow here to empty the shelves.
    I can see it now, people on the side of the road selling toilet paper for 5 bucks a roll.

    Liked by 3 people

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