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Simple Simon encountered a wise man while attending a political affair. Simple had no use for wise men, so all he would do is stare. The wise man nodded to Simple and then gave him a smile. He extended his hand and said “Hello,” which was his usual style.  But Simple would not shake his hand and asked questions to deride: “What nationality are you? I want to know. Has your citizenship been denied?” The wise man gave Simple a puzzled look and sadly had to conclude that Simple was another contemptible being who took pride in being rude. Simple, usually self-assured, felt now that he must worry because he noticed that the wise man did not bother to answer his query.  The wise man, though irked by Simple, decided not to vent. He then asked Simple politely if he was running for president.  Simon grinned, clicked his heels and arrogantly stuck out his chest. “Yes, and among the candidates, I certainly am the best.  I know most nations and people stink, so I don’t care about what they think.” The wise man now recognized Simple but could not remember his name.  He feared many folks would vote for Simple because of his ongoing fame. The wise man now to his mind there came with clarity  some of the lyrics to the song “Cult of Personality.”
“…I’m every person you need to be. I’m the cult of personality. … I exploit you still you love me. I tell you one and one makes three. …”

It was a shame how folks were easily duped by charm and consequently ignored how much the charmer could cause harm.

The wise man told Simple that he really had to go.  The thought that Simple might become president had filled the wise man with woe. 

Peggy Tarr

Peggy Tarr has been a columnist for the Evanston RoundTable since its founding in 1998. Born in Bruce Springsteen's hometown of Freehold, New Jersey, she graduated from Rutgers University with a degree...