Shortly before my son was born, a colleague offered me the strangest piece of advice I’d ever heard: “Keep his butt coated with olive oil,” he said, “and even the stickiest shit will slide right off of him.”
I supposed the idea might work—my colleague swore by it—but I wasn’t about to try it. I mean, what would my wife think if she caught me basting our child with olive oil? And so I just forgot about it. Until, that is, Donald Trump started campaigning for the presidency.
Like so many others, I was amazed at the way Trump could say the most outrageous things—so many of which ought to have been outright disqualifying—without losing the slightest bit of support. I kept thinking, “Nothing sticks to this guy. It’s like . . . like . . . the olive oil!”
Feeling inspired, I sat down and started writing. I came up with the following Onion-style headline: “Powerful New Lubricant Discovered on Donald Trump’s Skin.” And then the piece pretty much wrote itself. There was one bit about satanic transubstantiation that I was particularly proud of.
The article seemed quite relevant at first; but then Trump’s feud with Khizr Khan began. It finally looked as if, for once, something was actually sticking to the man. His orange-tinged oil was failing him. I checked Five Thirty-Eight and saw that according to the polls, Trump’s chance of winning had fallen below ten percent.
Now, of course, Trump has won the presidency. In his followers’ eyes, the man can do no wrong; he really does seem to be coated in a lubricant that has magical exculpatory powers. And so I’ve decided to post the piece again, afraid that it will now remain relevant for at least the next four years. Here it is:
CAMBRIDGE – A powerful new lubricant has been discovered on Donald Trump’s skin, scientists at MIT announced on Wednesday. The fluid, which researchers are tentatively calling LT1 (LT stands for “Liquid Trump”), appears to be a chemical that Mr. Trump’s body produces as a result of a rare genetic mutation.
“The first clue was that nothing ever seemed to stick to Mr. Trump,” said Clyde Jansen, director of MIT’s Department of Herpetology. “For obvious reasons, herpetologists and slime enthusiasts everywhere have long been interested in Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump. But it wasn’t until we saw scandal after scandal slide right off of Mr. Trump that we realized something truly special was going on here.”
Trump’s slipperiness eventually led Jansen and his team to perform a chemical analysis on various items that had come into contact with the candidate’s skin. What they found was an orange-tinged fluid that exhibited unparalleled viscosity and thermal stability — two properties that are essential to an effective lubricant.
The discovery has already opened up new lines of inquiry. “The first question we all had was, ‘How do [Trump’s] pants stay up?’,” Jansen said. “It’s easy to see how his shirt stays on, since it’s supported by the normal force exerted by his shoulders, but pants and socks usually depend on friction to remain in place.”
Even more exciting than these questions are the potential applications of LT1.
“This is at least as big as superconductivity,” said Emil Schwartz, a physicist at Stanford. “Just as a superconductor has an electrical resistivity of exactly zero, surfaces lubricated with LT1 appear to become completely frictionless. With this fluid at our disposal, we will be able to create machines of unparalleled efficiency. The next step is to find a way to synthesize or harvest it in large quantities.”
So far, no one has had much luck. Jansen and his colleagues were able to create a molecule with the same structure as LT1, but tests showed that it lacked the level of lubricity exhibited by the samples taken directly from Trump. Some experimenters have gone so far as to suggest that a supernatural mechanism may be at work — something that gives the chemical its miraculous properties only after it has been exposed to Trump’s aura.
“It’s reminiscent of the concept of transubstantiation,” Jansen said, “except that extreme slipperiness is a property you would expect to find in something that came from the body of Lucifer, not the body of Christ.”
Despite the roadblocks they have encountered in synthesizing LT1, Jansen and his team are already exploring applications for the new lubricant, which could prove to be both highly profitable and highly beneficial to humanity. Unfortunately, their progress in that direction has also been hindered — by multiple lawsuits filed by Mr. Trump.
“He’s suing us for both intellectual property infringement and defamation,” Jansen said. “It’s embarrassingly contradictory, since the IP suit implies acknowledgement that the lubricant does indeed come from Trump, whereas the defamation suit suggests that it has nothing at all to do with him. Of course,” Jansen added, laughing, “pointing out the flaw in his legal strategy likely won’t hurt his standing at all.”
Even Trump’s lawsuits haven’t stifled Jansen’s excitement, though. He envisions that LT1 will revolutionize travel, manufacturing, construction — virtually every industry one can think of. “When enough time has passed that LT1 no longer brings to mind images of Mr. Trump, it may even revolutionize the sex industry,” Jansen said. “But I still don’t foresee anyone ever wanting to cook with it.”
Disclaimer: This article is fictional. It seems necessary to stress this point because Donald Trump has a history of suing and bullying anyone who says things he doesn’t like — a serious indication that he is unqualified to lead a country that claims to value free speech.
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