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Nothing Like The Real Thing

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Memo to anyone who will listen: FLAT DADDY?

Flat Daddy? Really? Flat Fucking Daddy? You're kidding, right? It's a joke, a hoax, an attempt to get into Guinness. It's a bit from a sketch comedy show that went eight episodes and got cancelled. Flat Daddy. It cannot possibly be real, because it's the product of CRAZYWORLD.

If you haven't heard of Flat Daddy, I'm not surprised. Even if you heard about it, it's the kind of concept you reject like a black-market organ. A Flat Daddy (there are also Flat Mommies, in case you were wondering - assume I'm talking about either from now on) are the product of the Maine National Guard. They take a picture of a National Guardsman serving in Iraq. They blow it up to life-size. They glue it to foam-core, cut out the outline, and give it to the family. FLAT. DADDY.

You will, I'm sure, want to take a minute or two to let the implications flow through your synapses. I understand. It's metaphor overload. It is the ultimate expression of this war and the times we live in. Giving a cheap two-dimensional stand-in to families to replace their husbands and fathers sent off to war. And the families accepting that facsimile and treating it as if it were real. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"I prop him up in a chair, or sometimes put him on the couch and cover him up with a blanket. The cat will curl up on the blanket, and it looks kind of weird. I've tricked several people by that. They think he's home again." - Kay Judkin, whose husband Jim is serving in Afghanistan.

As someone who makes a concerted effort to verbally flay only the deserving, you can see where I'm running into a bit of trouble here. Because obviously, these people have it rough. They didn't sign up for the National Guard thinking it'd mean a two-year stint in Operation Prop Up A Failing Moron Frat Boy With Genital Inadequacy Issues And Fulfill The Dark Power Fantasies Of The Cadre Of Satan-Sucking Bastards Who Hitched Their Wagons To Him.

They're scared, they're worried, they're lonely, and this has, apparently, driven some of them completely fucking insane. Part of me wants to be accepting and tolerant and understanding about whatever gets these people through the day, and another part of me is aware that they're putting a fucking foamcore cutout representation of their loved one at the dinner table and pretending it's real.

It's like the whole goddamn war, really. It's utterly just that this should break around the same time that Dubya is starting his umpteenth series of speeches designed to convince everyone once again that really, this is necessary, and really, this is going well, and really, we can't stop now because that would appease Hitler. A two-dimensional cardboard cutout of a free, democratic Iraq propped up by thousands upon thousands of fucking corpses.

Don't prosecute the war properly. Just make sure that every time you're asked, you say things are going well. Don't rebuild the WHOLE city, just make sure that at least one building looks good for the anniversary photo-op. And don't reunite soldiers with their families, they've got Flat Daddies. And everything will seem just fine as long as no pesky naysayers point out that it's all a collective national delusion.

CRAZYWORLD.

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