Dimo’s, the Doc’s take: This is not the Zodiac speaking. 

*sigh* Ted Cruz was not, and is not, the Zodiac Killer.

Liberals confuse me at times.

Take, for example, my best friend, the Maestro. Those of you lucky enough to be his Facebook friend— or to have been his Facebook friend in the last year or so— know that, this election cycle, he had developed a very…intimate…relationship with Senator Ted Cruz, erstwhile Republican candidate for president.

(Digression: a subset of people reading this will remember that I, your humble Doc, once aspired to be something other than a psychologist, dating coach, motivational guru, and cult-guru-without-the-crazy-Manson-beard-and/or-Naval-uniforms. Namely, from the ages of about 11 to about my junior year of high school, I wanted to be president.

I don’t exactly remember where, when, and why it started. I do know the aspiration to be Leader of the Free World was sandwiched between wanting to be a writer— of what, I never quite knew— and wanting to be a Roman Catholic priest. But for, like, five or six years or so? I lived, breathed, quoted, and immersed myself in presidential history, trivia, and minutiae. I can, to this day, name all the presidents in order, identify them by sight, and probably, if pressed, tell you a thing or two about their sex lives. Didja know, for example, that President John Quincy Adams was known for taking a nude swim in the Potomac every morning before he began work? Betcha didn’t.

Anyway, it is because I was the world’s most redheaded presidential history and trivia expert between ages 11-ish and 17-ish, that I can tell you, with certainty: the fact that Ted Cruz was born outside of the geographical borders of the United States makes him Constitutionally ineligible for the office of the presidency. It is VERY CLEARLY SPELLED OUT. “No person other than a natural-born citizen” shall be eligible to be president. Ted Cruz is not a “natural born citizen” of the United States, born within its boundaries; he is, rather a “naturalized” U.S. citizen, due to his parentage. “Naturalization” is the process that occurs when a foreign born person meets the criteria for becoming a citizen, as Cruz did when he burst forth from his mother’s vaginal canal. Location of said canal, at that specific moment, being in Canada. Making him “foreign born.”

So why mention this, you might ask? It comes back around to what the Maestro ended up talking about, my Libertarianism. And the fact that the GODDAMN TEXT OF THE CONSTITUTION DOESN’T SEEM TO MEAN, LITERALLY, ANYTHING TO THIS CURRENT GENERATION OF WHIPPERSNAPPERS. Not to Democrats, obviously; not to the news media, I suppose somewhat understandably; but nor, apparently, to Republicans, the supposed party of “limited government” and “constitutional textualism.”

See also, under similar headings: Amendments, Second and Fourteenth.

Anyway. What was I talking about? Oh yeah: the Maestro and his politicrush on Ted Cruz. Back to that.)

The Maestro loves this Cruz guy. That is to say, he hates him. With a passion that, when professionals in my field encounter it, makes us raise our eyes and reach back to our graduate training for the exact definition of “reaction formation.”

(Google it; I’ll wait.)

I remember once having a conversation with the Maestro. He was gloomy. It was the day when news had broken that maybe Ted Cruz had a sex scandal in his background. I, myself, had taken the fact that Ted Cruz had gotten extramarital ass as a given; as a longtime aficionado of finer pickup artist literature and advice, I can tell you that Ted Cruz is exactly the kind of guy pickup artistry was created, quite successfully, to get laid. The Maestro, however, remained strangely hopeful that maybe the rumors weren’t true; maybe Cruz really did walk the talk of his evangelical Christian rhetoric.

“Please, please don’t let this be what brings Ted Cruz down,” the Maestro signed. “Not a stupid sex scandal.”

And we come back to why I find liberals so confusing. Because I, in my naiveté, would assume that the revelation that a leading conservative candidate for president, who was staking his political fortune to evangelical Christian fervor, was a slimy hypocrite hornball on the the down low…that would just be, like, the best. At least for someone who claims to loathe Cruz as much as the Maestro does.

Not so. Maestro was almost in despair, hoping against hope that Cruz weathered this storm.

So, I began doing what I do: I started peeling back layers of the onion.

And, as it turns out, on the onion layer that exists between the layer that represents the Maestro’s guilt for having voter for Ralph Nader in 2000, and the deeper onion layer that features a flashing neon sign reading “MOMMY ISSUES,” I found the source of his consternation: he wanted Cruz to go down not because he was a slimy hypocrite. The Maestro wanted Cruz to go down because he (Cruz) had shitty ideas and philosophies, and he (Maestro) earnestly wanted an informed, responsible electorate to reject said shitty ideas and philosophies.

RIGHT!!!

Because if there’s anything the American electorate is AWESOME at, it’s a) being informed, b) being responsible, and c) making decisions based upon variables other than the same ones that lead them to choose, say, Coke over Pepsi or McDonald’s over Burger King. That is, marketing and branding bullshit.

Mind you, I’m not mocking the Maestro’s idealism, here. Hell, I’m sufficiently idealistic and delusional enough to consistently cast my vote for a party that considers 8% a pretty big election year.

What was remarkable, rather, was the seeming contradiction in the Maestro’s feelings: on the one hand, he wanted to believe that Cruz was an awful human being. I mean, in Maestro’s cosmology, one HAS to be an awful human beings to believe some of the things Cruz believes, and to say some of the things Cruz says.

On the other hand, though…here we had my buddy, hoping against hope that Cruz really was the consistent, straightforward, God-fearing Christian he claimed to be, so that if and when he went down, it was for the RIGHT REASONS.

“Extramarital ass” doesn’t count.

That same kind of contradictory liberal thinking surrounds this “Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer” trope. And, as a psychologist with a good deal of forensic training and a more than passing interest in serial killers, it drives me up a fucking wall.

Yes, yes. I understand the reasons why it’s allegedly funny to say that Ted Cruz was Zodiac. He does, after all, bear a passing resemblance to the famous police sketch art that, for decades, was prominently featured in Zodiac’s “Wanted” posters. The fact that police sketch artistry generally, and that supposed sketch of the Zodiac suspect in particular, is about one step above using Rorschach blots to identify criminal suspects’ facial features, notwithstanding.

Zodiac enjoys an outsized reputation among serial killer aficionados for mainly two reasons. One, he was never caught. And two, while he was “doing his thing,” as Zodiac himself called it in his many taunting letters to police? He was loving every minute of it.

Do you have any clue how hard it is for a serial killer, even a brilliant one like Ted Bundy, to get away with multiple homicides committed with the same modus operandi that clearly suggest a pattern of victim selection? It’s nearly impossible. I’m here to tell you, if Hannibal Lecter was real, he’d have been caught about fifteen minutes after Mason Verger tried to feed his own face to his dogs. Because in the real world, it’s just not that easy for serial killers to do what they do and have it go unnoticed or uninterrupted for very long.

But Zodiac did. And, as he daintily eluded the ham-fisted machinations of law enforcement legends like David Toschi— the real life Dirty Harry— he did things like sending letters to the cops and Halloween cards to journalists covering him, often accompanied by swatches of the bloody shirts of his victims to verify his authenticity.

That takes not just balls the size of church bells, to quote the 80’s comedy “Dragnet,” but also just wicked cleverness. Zodiac had handwriting analysts, criminal profilers, and forensic scientists of ten other types poring over every intonation and turn of phrase in his letters, noticing literally how he dotted his i’s and crossed his t’s. And yet, he kept them at bay. For years. Indefinitely, as a matter of fact.

Now. Let’s say you’re a liberal, and you hate Ted Cruz. And let’s say, for the sake of argument, you don’t experience any kind of grudging respect for the man. Let’s say you assume that anybody of that guy’s Neanderthal political positions has to be missing key chromosomes. Where normal people have a brain, in other words, let’s say you assume Ted Cruz has a Whack-a-Mole game.

(Anybody remember “Whack-a-Mole?” Staple of the Chuck E. Cheese experience. Also makes a surprise appearance in the “Office” episode where the crew is hanging out at Dave and Buster’s, and Dwight is trying to ditch Angela for Pam’s hot bridesmaid Isabelle. Google it, I’ll wait.)

Do you really want this guy you revile equated with one of the most brilliant serial killers of all time, the guy who succeeded in staying un-caught when even the likes of Ted Bundy failed? You’re basically handing him a mantle he doesn’t deserve, even by your own calculus.

Serial killing may not be an honorable hobby, but Zodiac did it much better than Ted Cruz has ever done, well, anything. Certainly better than he ran for president.

But hey, he kinda looks like the police sketch. Sort of. If you squint.
It’s a hell of a compliment to hand Cruz.

Wouldn’t be my choice of taunts.

Liberals confuse me.

Oh, the pizza. Dimo’s. Quickly place. Bright reds. Odd wire scuptures. Friendly staff eager to explain inconceivable variations of pizza, which they would sell to us slice by thick, greasy slice.

I chomped on a few of the non-meatzza options available that day. Mac and cheese on a pizza? Why not. Margherita? Love me tender, my old flame. Straight up cheese? Difficult to go wrong.

The ‘za was tasty enough. Though I will say it was like a goddamn war of attrition to finish a slice. My jaw literally got tired from chomping, chomping, chomping. Which was fine; I like to do more listening than talking anyway, especially when the Maestro brings his famous opera singer friends. I’ve met more sopranos over pizza in the last year than Ted Cruz has met, I don’t know, someone fill in the rest of this with a lame Ted Cruz joke. I’m outta gas on that subject.

John Quincy Adams, in the buff, kids. Now Google THAT, and try to get that image out of your head. I’ll wait.

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