Let us pause for a moment to take note of the current state of affairs.  In discussing the state of affairs, we will start with the obvious: affairs is not a true state.  Although affairs may be willing and interested in becoming a full-fledged state, to do so is a long and unnavigable process (which includes explaining the word unnavigable).  To become a full state they need about a thousand more people as well as a state flag, bird, rock, flower, movie, seal, otter, author, song, handshake, capital, nickname, tree, motto (usually something catchy like “The Pudding State”) and especially better plumbing.  When held up against that definition, it’s obvious to see that affairs is no more of a state than Idaho is.  The dissection of how a state is born is altogether a fascinating topic.  In discussing it, one immediately can see the need to redesign our process of statehood initiation; one can also see a need to desperately remodel our education system as well as the kitchen hallway, but we shall leave that for another day.


While we’re speaking of states, I’d like it to be known that I am currently selling North Dakota.  Before you scoff, remember that I do pay taxes. (Or at least for the sake of this essay I do.)  I pay taxes and the last time we voted North Dakota was still in the country, although it was by a rather slim margin.  The way I see it I’ve paid for it, I own it, so North Dakota’s for sale.  I’d prefer to sell it as a whole unit, but I will entertain bids to sell it in parts.  It’s not that I dislike North Dakota anymore than I dislike South Dakota, but I need the money and really have nothing else of value except an antique photograph of Ben Franklin in a compromising position with a loaf of rye bread.  But as that’s something of an heirloom, North Dakota’s on the block.


Somehow we seem to have gotten off of our topic to which I shall now return.  (For those of you with short memories, or those of you who jump into an essay in the middle, the topic is “The State of Affairs”).


Affairs are bad and to rattle on about them, even worse.  As far as writing about affairs, would you want your sordid stories all over the page in black and white for your neighbors and the mailman to see?  Exactly.  So the state of affairs is just this: although it pretends to be one, affairs is not a certified state so be cautious when dealing with it.  You’ve also been advised to be alert when handling a rye bread and if we had more time I would warn you about the inherent danger in the sentence “But of course my cat can whistle Dvorak.”


(For more on the role of the mailman in this affair, see part six of this series.)