In a certain town in New York, in a year I prefer to forget, I decided to become a politician. One of those men who keeps a Mercedes in the driveway, a Bentley in the garage, a wife at Saks, an abortionist on call, and a young undocumented maid in the kitchen.
I had suits of many colors and fabrics, ties beyond description, shirts made by British tailors in Hong Kong and Chinese tailors in London — many, many shirts. And in a walk-in closet large enough to house three generations of a family from an unimportant country, in a curiously shaped Chinese box of teak, reposed 266 bejeweled cufflinks bearing the seals of all 133 nations of the world. Or 282 and 141. Or 274 and 137. Whatever.
I was 69 years old, of a sturdy constitution, solidly framed, with a faultless three-iron, a smooth putting stroke and an overlapping grip. Great out of the sand, for the sand wedge demands a firm, determined stroke: no hesitation, no premonition of regret.
When the news ran round that I had become a candidate, without the imprimatur of our overlords, the vile campaign began to “vet” me: that is, to doubt me.
These efforts of the Enemies of the People are of little importance. I never was an Enemy of The People. I always was The People’s Friend.
Don’t we all love soft soap? And the hope of a miraculous shampoo? And glycerine-coated enemas that slide in so smoothly and relieve us of … what?
Of gas? But don’t we love gasoline? And pornography? And cable TV? And the Internet? And Freedom As We Know It?
Of course we do. So shut up and listen.
I was born on the deep, rich topsoil of Queens, on a certain day in a certain year, at 7:59 a.m., just in time for the cartoons. I was the largest baby in history — Huge! — 259 pounds …
The above-named gentleman, whenever he was at leisure (which was all the year round) gave himself up to politics with such ardor and avidity that he neglected the watching of sports and even the management of his property; and to such a pitch did his infatuations rise that he sold many a condominium to buy books of politics, and brought them home for his children to read to him. And of them all there were none he liked so well as the Neocons, for their turgidity and conceits, which caused him to lie awake at night and nurse his resentments.
Many a time was he tempted to take up his pen and finish their thoughts, which no doubt he would have done — better than anyone else! — had he been able to determine what their thoughts were, and where they began or ended, if anywhere.
In short, what with little sleep and much watching of TV, his brains got so dry that he lost his wits. His fancy grew full of what he saw on a small screen — bigger than a computer, but smaller than a movie: wars, detergents, fund-raisers, lips, bile, demographics, and all sorts of impossible nonsense; and they so possessed his mind that this whole fabric of fantasy became more true to him than the real world.
And so he came to say that Reagan the True slew the giant Communism, and that Bush the First slew the evil Balanced Budget with his Miraculous Tax Cut, until Clinton the Unworthy conspired with the Witches of Mordor to regenerate the Gorgons of Liberalism, which W the Incomprehensible speared upon his Sputtering Tongue of Fire, till Barack the Severely Admonished unloosed Caution upon the World, which nearly triumphed until … (here the papyrus is torn).
And so, his wits being gone, he hit upon the strangest notion of any madman in this world: that he should become a knight-errant, roaming the world in quest of evil, and putting in practice all that his children had read to him, and all he had seen on Fox News, righting every kind of wrong. Already the poor man saw himself crowned Emperor of Louisville, by the might of his arm; and so, led away by the enjoyment he found in these fancies, he declared himself a candidate.
To Be Continued!
(Editor’s note: Any resemblances to Don Quixote de la Mancha are adventitious. That book was never under copyright anyway. And it’s in Spanish.)