Donald Trump was more grumpy than usual. He’d called in some of his henchmen and a few family members for a laid-back lunch in the informal dining area of the West Wing. He’d invited them with the understanding that they could chat candidly – and off the record – about anything, but mainly about him if possible. Sadly, they ended up discussing things like pollution and global warming, which to him was fake news anyway and he wasn’t happy.
Lunch had been served, and they’d all queued for their two Big Macs (extra cheese) with a double portion of chips– and inexplicably a diet Coke. This, we presume, was to somehow counter the colossal calorie intake. The Angry Orange squinted down at his plate, and seized the moment to swing the focus back to him.
“I’m very unhappy with this new method of lighting,” he complained to the gathering. “These bulbs are too dim or hazy or something. My beef patties look grey. Very weak. I can’t even see if they’re medium or well done. Who made them?”
“McDonalds, your Highness,” from down the table.
“No! The weak light bulbs! Who’s bright idea was that?”
“Well, Your Majesty, Edison was the first to…”
“No – Edison. Thomas Edison.”
“Never heard of him! Is he a democrat? I bet he’s a democrat! They’re always out to make me look bad – and that’s not good.”
As it turns out, Thomas Alva Edison didn’t give a fig what Trump would look like – good or bad – because he died in 1931, long before the toxic seeds of the Angry Orange Tree found their way into the orchard. But a closer look reveals a rather remarkable man. (Edison, not Trump).
For a start, as a youngster he contracted scarlet fever and an ear infection, which resulted in complications, rendering him completely deaf in his left ear, and with only 20% hearing in the other. This, obviously, is not ideal for most people – unless you want to become a music composer, like Beethoven. It seemed to work fine for him.
Anyway, regarded as America’s greatest inventor, Edison developed and pioneered the way in many fields such as electric power generation, mass communication, sound recording and motion pictures. He lodged a record number of 1 093 patents before he died aged 84.
“Who’s in charge of our Resources and Energy Department?” barked the tangerine tyrant at the head of the table. They all pointed at each other and avoided eye contact. “OK. Then where do these new lights come from? Who makes them?”
“We do, Your Majesty. General Electric in Chicago and…”
“And the old ones?”
“Imported from China, sir.”
Due to his deafness, Edison taught his wife-to-be Morse code while they were courting. Once she’d perfected sending and receiving messages, he proposed to her by tapping the question on her hand. She answered in the same way, and once married, they often chatted to each other in Morse code. I’m not making this up. When attending a play, she’d keep a hand on his knee and tap out various important lines from the actors, so he could appreciate the work more fully.
In 1880, Edison set out to establish a company that would deliver the electricity to power and light up the cities of the world, called the Edison Illuminating Company, which later became General Electric.
“China? That’s bad. Don’t we have some kinda tariff war with them?”
“Yes Your Highness.”
“Well, remove light bulbs from the list! In fact give them a rebate.”
“But our new bulbs save energy,” piped up a lady from further down the table. “People will pay less because they last much longer.”
“I don’t give a damn about the people! These bulbs make me look orange!”
“But you are orange – from the tanning machine. Except for the lilac eye-bags, you are…”
“EXCUSE ME! You’re fired! Out! Wait… who are you anyway?”
“Tiffany. Your other daughter. And you are orange!” (Sniggers around the table).
Lunch ended abruptly.