John Hood’s laugh-out-loud funny column pokes fun at the ridiculous notion — but often repeated notion — that Art Pope rules the world.

Despite being the true political boss of North Carolina — the one that Gov. Pat McCroy, House Speaker Thom Tillis, and Senate leader Phil Berger take their orders from over cocktails at the Stonecutters Lodge — Pope has used recent events to camouflage the extent of his power.

He gave McCrory permission to stake out public positions Pope had previously opposed on issues such as economic incentives and transportation policy. He signaled to Tillis that it might be wise for the House to propose a 2014-15 budget that put greater reliance on proceeds from the state-run lottery, an institution that Pope had long tried to keep from being created.

Most recently, he made arrangements to leave a bundle of secret commands for Berger to pick up in the parking lot of a Roses store near Greensboro. They authorized the Senate leader to pick a fight over Medicaid numbers with Pope — not just a private disagreement among fiscal and budget staffers but a very public scrap in which Pope was specifically singled out for abuse by seemingly angry Senate leaders, who even mentioned the idea of subpoenaing him to testify before an appropriations committee.

It was, characteristically, a brilliant maneuver. The ensuing debate gave Pope the opportunity to befuddle his liberal critics by arguing that the Senate’s budget plan would lay off too many government employees and weaken the state’s main safety-net program, Medicaid. At the same time, it gave Phil Berger and other senators a target other than the governor to pummel — and a handy means of establishing their apparent independence from the infamous Pope Political Inc.

And that’s just the beginning. Read the entire piece and I guarantee you’ll be laughing out loud. John also provides a footnote to the piece:

* Note: If while reading this column, you at any point thought to yourself, “you know, this could really be true,” then please push away from your screen, stand up carefully, and proceed as soon as possible to your nearest health care provider for a thorough examination.

I’d bet that some of the state’s progressives will read this column and try to convince their fellow haters that it’s true. Keep them in your prayers, for they need someone to rescue them from their conspiracy-filled existence.