A child ran into an ice-cream shop in The Middle East with tears streaming down his cheeks.
“What’s wrong, ” the shopkeeper asked.
“The ice cream I just bought from you is melting!” the child wailed, holding up the evidence.
Sure enough, the delectable treat was dripping down the cone.
“I’m sorry, ” the merchant told him.
“I want a new one, ” the child demanded.
“I’ll be happy to give it to you, but I warn you; it will also melt. ”
“But why?” the child asked. “Is it the heat?”
The shopkeeper glanced at the thermometer that hung on the wall. It read 110 degrees.
“No, son, it is not the heat. ”
“Then what is it?”
“Blame America. ”
“America?” the child asked.
“Yes, especially President Bush and his administration. They’re responsible. ”
“Why would they make ice cream melt in the sun?”
“Why would they want us to kill each other?”
“They want that, too?”
“Why else would we do it?”
“Oh, ” said the child. “Is America to blame for anything else?”
“Oh, yes, ” said the shopkeeper.
“Everything that goes wrong. ”
“Really? I thought America was spending a lot of money to make things better for us and that a lot of America soldiers were dying to help make things better for us. ”
“No, no, my son. You must not listen to such lies. Just blame America. ”
“Why else? When we blame America, we don’t have to blame ourselves. ”
“Oh, ” said the young man. “But do people really believe America is responsible for everything that goes wrong?”
“That depends. ”
“On what?” the child wanted to know.
“Repetition. I say it, you say it, we all say it over and over – and pretty soon we all believe it. ”
“But how do you know America is to blame for everything?”
“Don’t let yourself be sidetracked by idle thoughts. All you have to know is, blame America. ”
“What about the summer heat?”
“And who do you think is responsible for the summer heat? America!”
“Of course. Didn’t you ever hear of global warming?”
“No, what’s that?”
“It’s what happens when America makes anything. It always makes smoke. The smoke goes up in the sky. The smoke traps the heat that comes from the sun. The earth gets warmer. So your ice cream melts. ”
“Isn’t anybody else to blame for global warming?”
“I told you before, don’t complicate things. Just blame America, and everybody will agree with you. ”
“Oh, OK. Then I’ll blame America. ”
Just then the child’s ice cream fell out of the cone and plopped onto the floor.
“See what America did to your ice cream? What do you say?”
“Blame America. ”
“Very good. And what do you wish for America?”
“What do you mean?”
“What we all wish, ” the shopkeeper said. Then he raised his fist, and shouted, “Death to America!”
“Oh, ” said the child, who was so frightened by the yell he jumped backward.
“So say it after me, ” the merchant encouraged him. “Come on, now. Death to America!”
“Can I have another ice-cream cone if I say it?”
“Of course, you can. Just say it. ”
“Death to America!”
“Excellent!” the shopkeeper said, and reached for the scoop.
Tom Attea, humorist and creator of http://www.NewsLaugh.com , has had six shows produced Off-Broadway. Critics have called his writing “delightfully funny, " “witty, " with “good, genuine laughs" and “great humor and ebullience. "