A Tale of Two Fauci’s and My Impending Bankruptcy and Divorce
In the early stages of the pandemic, I was skeptical of Dr. Anthony Fauci. My fraud detector was beeping “warning”, but I kept an open mind. This munchkin sized guy was adorable and had mass appeal — everyone’s Uncle Teddy! And, he had “credentials” — alphabet soup after his name. On the other hand, Ted Kaczynski the Unabomber had MORE letters following his name than Fauci, a genius level IQ of 167, attended Harvard at age 16, and was a professor at University of California, Berkeley. Education and intelligence don’t always translate into competence, honesty, and ethics.
America became enamored with Fauci. He promised hope at a time when it was desperately needed, and the government did a masterful job of marketing him to the public. His popularity caught on like wildfire and we embraced him as our great savior; a God on loan from Olympus who would lead us out of the COVID darkness into the land of milk and honey. The COVID Jedi had arrived! Listen to Dr. Fauci Americans, and we will all sing in the sunshine. There will be an Edenic Hollywood ending with milk and cookies for all.
Suddenly he was on every magazine cover, the front page of every newspaper, and TV talk and news shows around the clock. It was Fauci, Fauci and more Fauci — 24 x 7 Fauci. He had the media hanging on his every word. Short, nerdy, clumsy, unpolished, and wearing geek glasses, the only thing missing was a beanie with a propeller on top and a chin strap. He had a face for radio. He was an unlikely hero, with all the charisma of stale bread. Having seen so many odd ducks, a new variety is always interesting. I can usually tell a hero from a zero, but Fauci puzzled me.
With the help of his handlers, coaches, and world class marketing, he soon took to his newfound celebrity status and began to feel comfortable in front of the camera. He had learned quickly that fear sells. Before long he was a confident and masterful actor with the ability to bend the gravity of the room towards him. If pushed off the diving board one quickly learns to swim. To be conversant with the world, people often act against common sense when they have fallen in love with a fantasy. Fauci had created Mass Formation Hypnosis. Everyone bought into “Fauci the savior.” Hope had become America’s mirage.
My business opportunity detector is always on reader. I can’t switch it off. It was now in full red alert mode. Business 101 — Never let a good crisis go to waste. After many hours of thought, my idea for the Fauci Teddy Bear was born. I saw my retirement plan emerge right before my eyes. Hawaii, here I come. I purchased some shirts with flowers and surfboards and modeled them for myself in front of the mirror. The opportunity was enormous. I envisioned my Fauci Teddy Bear in every size from a small one that attached to your key ring, to a life sized one for the bedroom. I had other ideas as well. How about Fauci handbags? Forget Gucci! Get a Fauci! Towels? Swimwear? Vitamins? The product possibilities were endless. I saw Fauci’s face with dollar signs superimposed on it everywhere I looked. I was awake all-night thinking about how I would spend my millions. In business “first mover’s advantage” is everything. Surprises and advantages are usually temporary, like ice cream. I needed to act before someone else hit the streets with the same idea. I knew my idea wasn’t bulletproof, so I had to crystalize my plan and act NOW!
I did not have the luxury of time to do this on my own, so I hired a product design company to develop the prototypes. I wrote a check. Outsourcing manufacturing although extremely cost efficient carried too much execution risk. I needed to have it manufactured IMMEDIATELY, regardless of cost. I could “sell this”, and perhaps it would make it even MORE attractive. “Made in America!” Wouldn’t you agree that supporting American manufacturing is worth a few bucks more? I contacted a reputable manufacturer and got pricing for one thousand, ten thousand, one hundred thousand, and one million bears. I wrote another check. I had no room for small dreams. Was I thinking too small? Ten Million?? I would start with the medium size teddy bear as it seemed like that would be the most desirable model, and then add to my product line once the money started pouring in. I needed to get the word out at once, so I contracted a product marketing firm to handle advertising and promotion. I wrote another check. I met with a business attorney and formed a corporation. I wrote another check. I contacted a patent and trademark attorney to protect my idea. I wrote another check. I hired a consultant to get merchant accounts with Mastercard, Visa, AMEX, Discover, and PayPal. I wrote another check. The idea had many moving parts and during the pandemic was a logistical nightmare, so I contracted with a logistics consulting firm to coordinate everything. I wrote another check. I choose to prevent amateur mistakes by not involving amateurs. I phoned Fidelity and made arrangements to dip into my “rainy day” fund, as a very SUNNY day was in the offing for me. I began daydreaming about yachts and European sports cars. All I had to do was continue to write checks and ultimately cash bigger checks. I was going to be rich beyond my wildest dreams! Sometimes simple ideas with perfect execution are grand slam home runs. What was that pillow guy’s name?
A once little-known bureaucrat with MD after his name, Dr. Anthony Fauci unexpectedly found himself in the national spotlight with the inception of COVID. Unfortunately, neither then, nor now, was he up to the task. He became the poster boy for saving America. He reveled in the interviews, speeches, attention, and fame. He began to believe his own publicity. His ego and swagger grew larger each day. I firmly believe that this man had a serious inferiority complex. Perhaps he was not held enough as a child. What did I care? Let his shrink unpack that baggage. He was going to be my golden goo$$$se.
As a nation we have 64.4% of our population “fully vaccinated” (two inoculations), and 42.9% having received a booster dose (three inoculations). These numbers are NOT moving. Vaccines are readily available, and anyone wanting to be vaccinated, by now, most certainly has been. The entire concept of a fourth dose is laughable. The media has coined the term “vaccine hesitancy”, but hesitancy implies that action is forthcoming. This does not appear to be the case. As far as vaccinations go, we are as the Brits say, “done and dusted.” Despite threats of mandates, firings, public shaming, and even vaccination cash bonuses, the needle (no pun intended) is not moving. Fauci’s original master plan is circling the drain.
The polls now indicate that the American public has lost faith in Fauci. His approval numbers continue to slide, and the majority of the population now believes that it is time for him to sail into the sunset and start spending that $350,000+ annual Federal pension before he himself logs off. He has made more predictions than Nostradamus, but few if any have panned out. His misleading “do this and don’t do that’s” have soured us. Initially he was adamant that we don’t wear face masks at all. Then he wasn’t sure. Then he recommended we wear one, and then two. What’s next doctor? — Tin foil hats? This is not the work of someone who knows what he is doing. Fortunately, at this point nobody is paying much attention to him.
He told us we needed one inoculation, then two, and then three. Now he is mumbling something about a fourth. His various estimates on the percentage of population that needed to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity changed more often the I change my sheets. They ranged from 60% to 90%, and everything in between, and ultimately, he tacitly indicated that the whole concept is unachievable! Even a broken clock is right twice a day! Fauci, despite being the government’s highest paid employee with an annual salary of approximately $500,000 per year, was being outdone by the broken clock, probably manufactured in China. This man could give an aspirin a headache! The Fauci ship was about to hit the fence.
He was being ridiculed as “flip-fop Fauci”, and “Tony Baloney Fauci.” People began sniffing around his e-mails and something smelled rotten. His involvement at the NIH with back door funding of the Wuhan lab came to light. It looked sleazy and unethical. Fauci unconvincingly tried to deny it. An entire cache of documents indicated the veracity of the allegations. The Congressional gain of function inquiry left not just egg, but an entire omelet on his face. Had he lied? His image with long Pinocchio noses began to appear in print. He was ridiculed and labeled “Faucinocchio. “Fauci Lied” T-shirts were suddenly in on back order.
What was he covering up? Despite having developed into a talented performer in front of the camera, Rand Paul rained on his parade when he shredded him in front of Congress and the American public. Fauci came across as angry, arrogant, vindictive, and frustrated. When challenged about the public availability of his finances he responded with more stories than Mother Goose. It was a circus of denial. His strategy of deflecting questions with other questions did not sell. There were now cracks in the plaster, and the Fauci ceiling was about to fall down. My fraud detector was now registering a full red alert.
His “follow the science” pitch began to develop leaks that couldn’t be patched with Flex Seal. Numerous additional missteps took place and soon he was being accused of outright lying, fraud, duplicity, and incompetence. It was suggested that he was more of a “desk doctor” than a hands-on clinician — a General who fought battles from an air-conditioned war room and not the trenches — A big fromage in the Navy who couldn’t swim! Despite initially having a good bedside manner with the public, with each misstep Americans were losing faith. COVID was still with us despite the good doctor’s promises, predictions, and now questionable leadership.
It was then alleged that according to documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, Fauci’s National Institute of Health division provided a research grant to torment and kill dozens of Beagle puppies in gruesome, unethical experiments of questionable scientific merit. This blew the roof off of what little credibility Fauci had left, and he was now being viewed as not just a false profit, but a deplorable individual. He played deaf, dumb, and blind, and danced the Watusi in an attempt to diffuse this. His handlers and supporters closed ranks, but the ball had left the pitcher. Fauci’s world was spinning. He had gone from hero to villain.
Sensing this sea change, his supporters who initially climbed on the bandwagon to ride to fame and fortune on Fauci’s nickel, began to abandon the sinking ship like rats, and ultimately sharply criticize him. Suddenly he had more enemies than Nixon! Perhaps Fauci was not the COVID Jesus that we had all believed he was, but rather a bureaucrat with limited skills and knowledge, who was in the right place at the right time. Was he a destructor masquerading as protector? Was he an immoral person consumed by his newfound fame and fortune? Was he a skilled con man who understood that gaining trust is the first step in any successful deception? An old-fashioned snake oil salesman? All of the above? It’s not for me to say. My only use for him was as a money machine. Cha-ching!
He was being compared to the evil Dr. Faustus (spelling is correct) in Christopher Marlowe’s 16th century play The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus.
“Disillusioned with life and frustrated due to the limited scope of man’s knowledge, Dr. John Faustus decides to sell his soul to Lucifer in order to obtain power over the demon Mephistopheles. Through this demon, Faustus is able to travel far and wide, as well as learn and perform different types of magic.”
Others began to compare him to Captain Queeg in the Caine Mutiny by author Herman Wouk.
“Queeg is unsuited for the pressures of command, stubborn, paranoid, and confrontational, but he is not necessarily insane. He performs admirably in the routine elements of his command and would have made an excellent commander in a peacetime Navy. However, Queeg performs badly under the extreme circumstances of war when asked to perform tasks for which he is unprepared and to command sailors more educated, clever, and skilled than he.”
As the tide of COVID receded, Fauci went out to sea with it, and my golden goose drowned. The TV appearances, interviews, and magazine article requests dried up. The media and press had moved on. Once in demand as a public speaker, big payday engagements began to evaporate. His stock had crashed and was about to be de-listed. He had become a persona non grata. Fauci was now a man with one foot on the edge of the wet bathtub and another on a bar of soap. Perhaps the Gong Show would be next for him. He had lost his sparkle and relevance and now found himself on page nineteen. Nobody was paying attention to him anymore. Although I NOW HAVE BIG PROBLEMS, Fauci will continue to make half a yard per year riding a desk at the NIH and remain a poodle to this president and possibly the next.
Personally, I never really drank the Kool Aid when it came to Dr. Fauci. To me he was a business opportunity. In business everything takes longer than expected. That, reader, was my downfall. It took my Fauci Teddy Bear idea too long to get out of the gate. I should have seen it coming. The impact of most crashes is immediate. Shock prevents one from feeling the damage and pain of their situation. I was speeding on denial highway. By the time I went live with my Fauci Bear, Fauci had become a non-performing asset and no longer the celebrity du jour. My retirement plan had crashed and burned along with him. He was now the Sheriff of low expectations. Elvis had left the building just as I took receipt of ten thousand medium size Fauci bears.
I had originally planned to sell them for $29.95 but my loss will be your gain, and you can now get yours for $19.95 plus shipping and handling. But wait there’s more! Order now and you can get a second Fauci Bear free. Just pay separate shipping and handling. I’ll throw in a set of steak knives for the first five hundred callers. All forms of payment are accepted, even cash, with proper identification. Bitcoin? Why not. I am desperate. My phone is ringing off the hook with Fidelity calling to inform me that I had overdrawn my accounts, and my wife will probably leave me! A retirement in Hawaii now seems unlikely. I returned the shirts. I now need every penny that I can get. Call now. Operators are standing by.
Howard Axelrod is a travel photographer, writer, and former high technology executive. He has photographed in 85 countries on six continents. He is a resident of Ashland, Massachusetts and Delray Beach, FL. Howard can be reached at email@example.com.
Disclaimer: All views expressed herein are the opinion of the author alone, and all information is accurate to the best of his knowledge.