August 07, 1996
We all get a kick out of something. In my suburban neighborhood, neighbors obviously are first on the list of passionate subjects to discuss. Neighbors after all never agree with us -- except to bash the local authorities, which are second on the list of our favorite subjects. Personally, in these electoral times, I get my kick from listening to the candidates. While we already know what they are saying, the way they are saying it is most entertaining.
Both candidates, Billy and Bobby, have their speech writers and their scripts to follow. A few commas here, a few periods there and the punch-line of the night.
Bill, being a disciplined non-inhaler, follows his text in a monotonous voice. He sometimes looses his line on the tele-scripter or on his 20-point style-sheets, mumbles a second with an allergy driven cough, sending his staff to hell and beyond, and somehow picks up the path where he got it and delivers the punch-line as expected by his spin-handlers. It's not rock n' roll but it always looks centrist enough that, in my suburbia, I can go back to my neighbors' bitch-and-complaining, feeling that the next four years will be like the last twenty in spite of his declamations to the contrary. Billy is a safe and boring baby boomer reassuring my safe and baby boomer's concerns, which are best summed up by the very idea of becoming old. Billy keeps repeating I have nothing to worry. I'll be old and dead, and taken care of. What a relief!
Bobby, a true hawk in almost everything, from budget deficit to abortion, is slightly more undisciplined. He starts reading his script and, like Reagan in years past, doesn't understand the lines. So he says "whatever", stutters for a couple of seconds on a non-existing word -- in his mind -- and grabs his favorite motto. "It's a hard world baby, requiring hard work, and I know when hard is hard enough, and hard I am. If you want me to be Reagan, I'll be Reagan", he says. (Mind you, he does not mean what you have in mind since he has not had one in twenty some years and does not intend to add a stone to the over-population syndrome.) "If you want me to be Billy, so be it, and Liddy will be Hillary..." [Note: He does not actually say the latter but he does look desperate enough to try the impossible and even think of it.] Bobby tells us we can have our free lunch and eat it with no consequences whatsoever, or "whatever". I like that. Free lunches allow me to forget about my neighbors and concentrate on the local authorities. His punch-line is bare: "I can do it", he says. How hard he can is a subjective matter that makes me safe enough. I might still be hard enough when I'm dead. It's a consolation!
This is the best of both worlds. No more neighbors, dismissed board of supervisors, and as dead as I am I'll be taken care of. And hard enough I'll remain! What more could one ask? I ask you.
I only wished they could express two words in a row without the help of a script...
This, I know, is too much to ask.