A More Sensitive Census

THE CENSUS MAN:  I know, I know.  It’s a weird question coming from a government official.  But I mean it most sincerely.  Your government realizes these are troubling times, and we’d like to know how the citizenry is handling it.  At the Census Bureau, we’re on the frontlines with the public.  The president chose me, personally, following my long and distinguished career in the Bureau’s Department of Bunting.


THE CENSUS MAN:  It’s short for “bum hunting,” one of the Bureau’s toughest and most under-appreciated jobs.  Out on the streets, under the overpasses, in the flophouses, down in the sewers; we had to find the forgotten, reach out to them.  There were boxes to be checked, statistics to be made, reports to be read.  And I was the best bunter of them all.  Through my diligence and the numbers I tallied, never before seen amounts of money poured into homeless care funding.  Then they transferred me.  Take those healing hands to the people, they told me.  They seemed to think I had an incredibly humane spirit, but really, a backroom ether indiscretion had obliterated my sense of smell in my formative years, making me immune to the reek of the wretched; that pungent odor that has sent many a bunter packing with tears stinging his eyes, bile climbing his throat, and mere guesstimates on his clipboard.  But not me.  And when you don’t look like you want to puke and you’re not going to run away, people really open up to you.  So when the president called to tell me about my transfer, or at least I got a note from Rob saying he had called, I wanted to call him back to tell him it was just my nose, not my heart; but Rob said the president hadn’t left a number.  So I took up my cross and came out, came out to see you, Fred.

Fred dabs at his teary eyes.

FRED DRUTHERS:  Oh, wow.  I’m getting kind of emotional.