Larry Jones is not a crackpot.
He is a responsible citizen who holds a job. He is a voter who never fails to perform that particular civic duty. He once even worked in a presidential campaign, where he learned that honesty and personal integrity won’t help you at all in such contests.
Larry Jones maintains his yard, both front and back. He is on friendly terms with many of his neighbors, even the retired lady who feeds the pigeons in the alley between their houses, making it a no-man’s land of bird droppings every afternoon at four o’clock. Larry Jones is fond of animals, and feeds strays that wander into his yard, sometimes becoming so involved with them that they move in and stay indefinitely.
He is concerned about the environment and is replacing his incandescent lights with compact fluorescent bulbs, even though the CFL’s give off a weird, inadequate light. He drives a little Honda that would fit in the back of some SUV’s, but he doesn’t think these small actions will reverse global warming.
Larry Jones is pretty smart — he went to college and earned a degree in Semantics (of all things) — but he nevertheless is not climbing the corporate ladder at his job, because he doesn’t know how to suck up. Larry Jones feels that being reliable and doing superior work ought to be enough, so he knows he will never be promoted, and he’s OK with that, even if he kind of wishes he had the money that goes with a fancy title.
In his spare time, Larry Jones plays in a rock’n’roll band, a group that he started because he loves music, but also to keep from feeling like a great big zero (see “job,” above). He is proud of his band, almost as proud as he is of the fact that he has managed to stay married to the same (beautiful, intelligent) woman for 27 years.
Larry Jones is a regular guy. He is not holed up in a primitive cabin with an assault rifle, two years’ supply of canned goods and a portable Smith-Corona, feverishly pounding out 800-page manifestos (manifestoes? manifestum? manifestae?) and paranoiac conspiracy theories.
You might want to take Larry Jones with a grain of salt. After all, he’s been politically liberal since the first time he gave that sort of thing any serious thought. He understands that not everyone shares his world view, and he can live with that. But Larry Jones has been around a long time, he’s lived through various wars, natural disasters, economic ups and downs and multiple swings of the political pendulum, and he’s not kidding when he tells you that things are getting vewy vewy scwewy.
He’s trying not to panic, but chunks of ice the size of Rhode Island are breaking off from the ice caps, hundreds of kilos of plutonium are missing, the United States government is torturing people, the world’s banks are trying to keep the lid on a collapse that will make the Great Depression look like fun, and when he looks around everybody is buying 42-inch flat panel high-definition TV’s and acting as if nothing’s the matter.
So Larry Jones tries to maintain, and asks your forgiveness if he sometimes seems a little jumpy.