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*****
The Cranky Yankee - reprinted from the South Shore Puzzle Journal, Issue No. 40 - July, 2009
By Stephen Martin

      What's the difference between people in America, Canada, Mexico, Europe, South America, Russia, China, North Korea, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Sudan, Zimbabwe and so on?
      "You tell me," says the Cranky One, down from Clayton Lake for the holiday. "Nevah mind, I'll tell you." He raises the back of his chaise lounge and adjusts his brand new Go To Hull baseball cap, removing his cheap sunglasses for emphasis.
      "Fust of all," he begins, "Canadians ah just plain dumb, that's all." He chuckles and shakes his head. "Mexicans ah wetbacks with swine flu. Most all of South America's gone Socialist now, same to be said for Europe. The English ah all on unemployment. You'd think with socialized medicine they'd have a dental plan. France is an entiyah nation of ungrateful turncoats."
      Stunned, we open our mouth to speak, but can't think of anything to say. Waxing oratorical, he continues, "Yoah Russians ah Commies, yoah Chinese ah takin' ovah the country from the Jews, and the North Koreans ah just askin' fur it. All of Islam wants to smite us, Christian and Jew alike, and I don't know why we're involved in Africa's affairs at all, with owah own economy in such a mess."
      "Ayup," he concludes, replacing his shades.
      Now, this is extremely hardcore crankiness, even from the Crankmeister himself. Still in shock, we look around furtively to see if anyone was listening. Sure enough, a mother and her children are dragging their Barney beach towels to a safer distance.
      The boy puts down his little red shovel and looks up from his sand castle. "But Grampa," he says, "I thought all men were created equal."
      Now it's Cranky who's speechless. He clears his throat and stammers, "Well, yes, of coahse that's true, on a highah level, but you see I was speaking in patriotic terms."
      "Sounds more like jingoism to me," says Cranky III. Little pitchers have big ears. We're so proud of the precocious little tyke.
      "What-ism?" says the old man.
      It's a few hours later now. Crankys I and III are asleep, and we have the wee hours in which to wonder. We've noticed that a lot of folks are unclear about the meaning of certain words. Take simple and simplistic, for example. Simple, in this context, means easy, uncomplicated. Simplistic means overly simplified, often because of the ignorance of facts. For all you cranky patriots, here's a simplified list of germane definitions:
      Patriotism: love for or loyalty to one's country.
      Nationalism: Excessive or fanatical devotion to one's country, along with the belief that one's country is superior to all others.*
      Jingoism: Extreme nationalism, marked by a belligerent foreign policy.
      Just in case you didn't know.
*****
* Third definition in my dictionary - editor
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