Governmentology is literally the study of leadership. It is a critical skill set that provides for eventual success in all things. To properly understand the mechanics of leadership is to make an adventurous first step on a bold journey into guaranteed social recognition and personal fulfillment. Do you have the courage to take it? There are many people just like you, all competing in the rat race of life for the same empty prizes and meaningless job titles. Only a precious few will ever get somewhere, only to have your prize and title snatched at the last moment by a virile go-getter who possesses a superior grasp of leadership. Some of you may even organize for better pay and shorter working hours, electing some unkempt career student who majored in Leadership Studies as your union representative. After a tough round of negotiations, he wins management concessions for better health benefits, increased job security, and a summer camp for your ten-year-old son. He brings the new union contract at break-time and you enthusiastically sign your name.

An unusual aura of optimism sets the office aglow. Lashonda from Payroll Processing smiles for the first time in seven years, delighted that she'll finally be able to afford braces for Flatbush and Crenshaw, her two snaggletoothed children. Around the water cooler, the worker drones are buzzing that the system finally works for them. None of you realize that you've actually consented to dangerous drug experiments, surgically implanted monitoring devices, and collectively waived your right to sue. The gravity of your mistake becomes painfully apparent at the celebratory pot luck lunch. A company nurse spikes the Diet Coke with Rohypnol and replaces one of your kidneys with a GPS tracking unit. Foggy and sore, you awaken in the infirmary to the punishing electric shock it delivers when you are absent from your cubicle without authorization. A smiling team leader greets you at your desk with an airgun injection. He claims it's an antibiotic, but it's really a mood altering substance to thwart the rage that's building inside you. When you go home and try to sleep, a strange beeping keeps you awake. Getting up for the bathroom prompts an unexpected telephone call from work, a pre-recorded reminder that well-rested employees statistically demonstrate a 3% increase in leadership potential.

A week later, your son doesn't come home from school. You call his teachers, his friends, even the bus driver- all of them suspiciously tell the same story. They claim that you were there and probably picked him up, but negligently left him to wander the aisles at some supermarket. Your agreeable personality is chemically inclined to concur. With all the job stress and mysterious workplace injections, you haven't been yourself lately. You're about to drive to Price Leader Foods to find your lost child when the phone rings again. It's your friendly union representative, calling to inform you that the boy is safely in company hands. He reminds you of your signed contract, also a permission slip, consigning your son to a brief stint in summer camp. You breathe a sigh of relief and hang up the phone. Yet somehow the conversation resonates with an insidious undertone, as if an important fact was deliberately omitted. Then you remember the two week Executive Leadership Retreat in the Ozark Mountains that is scheduled to begin this afternoon. Six days later, a highway patrolman finds your boy by the Interstate... bound and gagged in a burlap sack. His eyes are as wide as saucer plates. He hasn't eaten in days.

Over the next few months, the finest minds in medical science painstakingly coax the power of speech back into your son's feral brain. He has a morbid fear of cheese whiz. His trembling, cryptic sentences are always in rhyme. You visit Doctor Steinführer, the eminent child psychiatrist, who diagnostically prognosticates an incontrovertible discombobulation predicating an imminent monetary disbursement. His secretary hands you a hefty bill for your first therapy session. The good doctor is simply aghast when you announce that you cannot afford to retain his services. Left untreated, your son will surely mature into some spastic freak who pushes brooms for a living and forever curses his lot in life with rambling Shakespearean soliloquies. The world doesn't bother to understand certain types of people. He'll be doomed to a marginal existence living in crime infested hovels, screaming at the walls in a hateful iambic pentameter, scribbling the gilded distillate of his musings on to paper napkins that no one will ever read. All those years of private tutors and piano lessons will have been for nothing. Now you understand what you must do. On your way home, you cash your last paycheck at Leadership Savings and Loan and take a crisp $500 bill down to the sporting goods store. The man behind the counter takes your money with a gleam in his eye, a born leader. He beams a bright smile as he hands you a pistol and a box of bullets.

Weapon in hand, you shlep your broken offspring back to the car. Your son chooses this moment to go limp and throw a tantrum. Happy shoppers gawk at the boy as he extemporaneously composes an ode to fluorescent lighting, smiling at you while they diligently parse each tortured syllable for hidden signs of child abuse and subversive political thought. You watch on in exasperated horror as he struggles to capture the essence of proletarian gloom. Your precocious little savant cleverly forms "reified" and "deified" into a spiteful, death-defying couplet. A bold young seminarian vaults himself upon the sales counter and thunderously denounces you as a godless agitator for the Soviet Empire. You emphatically deny his accusations even as your boy suddenly belts out "The Internationale" in a blurty childish treble. What?! You quickly clamp your hand over your son's mouth. The priest winces at your brutal display of parental authoritarianism. Children in the Free World must be allowed to sing to their tiny hearts' content, unfettered by motherly commissars and fatherly dictators. Where could he have learned such a song? You explain his terrible accident and the grifting band of speech therapists who were charged with his care. Yes, yes, it is a likely story... a modern day Doctor's Plot spun by a cornered Communist provocateur. He continues his instigational sermon, commanding righteous shoppers to rise up and smite Totalitarianism with the spiritual armaments of God.

Testifying ruffians bellow pious encouragements and begin to brandish bits of sporting equipment. "Preach on!" cries a man in a catcher's mask as he hefts the weight of a croquet mallet. All around you, the faithful sheep are lacing up their golf cleats and grabbing aluminum baseball bats. Their sweaty shepherd glowers like an engineer from the Age of Steam, stoking the fires of an ancient and terrible machine, ready at any moment to unleash some patriotic automaton stitched out of pigskin. You frantically search your mind for semantic cues to remind this hysterical mob that the Cold War is indeed over. "Glasnost", "perestroika", "Gorbachev", and "Yeltsin" are seditiously un-American words to an illiterate yokel. Demonstrable evidence of any knowledge beyond God and Country could prove fatal at this point. Mentioning the Berlin Wall will surely invoke the looming specter of the Third Reich- you'll be hanged as a German collaborator.

Your next thought is to flee this horrible redbaiting establishment while you still can... but it is too late. You've been surrounded by a squad of flannel-clad, dirt-smeared goons wielding hockey sticks. Shooting your way out is not an option. In the time it would take you to load the magazine, they'd have bludgeoned you to death seven ways to Sunday. It's time to accept the fact that your plans have been permanently derailed. You might not live long enough to savagely euthenize your damaged child. You might not even survive to commit suicide.

But wait!

This drunken, surly, unshaven throng is no hysterical mob! It's merely a gang of slumming Governmentologists stocking up for our upcoming Crusade! A friendly youth counselor takes this opportunity to tell you about our church. Oh, never mind the Padre. Our truculent preacher pal is merely a friendly mascot we picked up at a state home for the emotionally disturbed. He provides convenient cover and lighthearted entertainment as we raid neighborhood strip malls for liquor and supplies. After following our patented Sidewalk Towards Advancing Self Improvement, you manage to stitch the soiled fragments of your life back together. Your son is flourishing for the first time in his life under the new moniker of Grandmaster Brezhnev, a paleomarxist preteen rap artist.