Flavin’s Corner
1-19-01 

The Next Four Years

We’ll survive the next four years.  Perhaps not easily.  Life sucks, death swallows, and we define ourselves in moments of consensual clarity.  When it works.  When the many feel like one.  The election of Gov. George W. Bush to the office of  President of the United States was an unexpected occurrence.  Victory presumed the defeated wouldn’t closely monitor a state in which the governor was a candidatural sibling.  The defeated have none but themselves to blame.  We’ll survive.

As William Jefferson Clinton and Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. leave public service and Bush takes the oath of office, America once more shows the world her humor.  I was always uncomfortable with Andy Kaufman and still wonder if laughs were a major goal.  Jazz is equally annoying, as I never know for sure when I’m supposed to clap.  Bush appears remedially challenged, but then twenty years ago Ronald Reagan, a grade-B movie actor, was America’s choice.  I hope and pray we have much to chuckle at over the next four years.

Having the National Rifle Association sponsor school lunch programs will assuredly amuse emerging nations.  Attacking a woman’s right of choice and ignoring bias against homosexuals are crowd pleasers and should elicit giggles globally.  Racial dissonance, Darwinian economics, moral hypocrisy, and anti-intellectualism should all garner guffaws from the cheap seats.  I personally look forward to Christian creationist rhetoric to bring down the house.  If Bush’s “vision” of America were a stand-up comedy act, I’m thinking France will benefit most, as they adore Jerry Lewis and will probably regard Bush as a genius.

We must honor the office of the president regardless of who occupies it.  Toward this I’ve chosen to hold a small, private, and personal inaugural celebration.  For entertainment I’ve decided to forgo playing any Ricky Martin, Clint Black, or Wayne Newton music, and will be content to listen to some old Lou Reed tunes.  Food?  Well, as Bush hails from both Texas and Maine, the choices are obvious–chili and lobster!  No, not together; two separate dishes.

For nearly twenty-five years I’ve enjoyed making a pot of Carroll Shelby’s chili.  His Ford Mustang design thrilled me as a kid (the car Steve McQueen used in the film adaptation of Thompson’s “The Getaway”) and his chili recipe has been a constant in my kitchen.  I’ve prepared it mild, hot, added veggies, fixed it plain, and though the currently sold package of spices doesn’t suggest the alternative to ground hamburger with small cubes of stew-beef, I remember when it did.  So, I’ve put together some special (read: expensive) chili to honor Texas.

I lived in Texas once.  For six months during 1969/1970, while my dad took courses to prepare for an assignment in Panama, we lived in Wichita Falls, TX.  Near the panhandle; I remember frost on the cowpatties.  I’ve some limited football memories (and a couple of cheerleader ones), was published for the first time (my English class wrote the ambassador of Sweden to protest the Vietnam War and my letter was chosen by the ambassador for reply and was reprinted in the local newspaper), and I’ve some vague recall that I was told a third of the town was destroyed by a twister a few weeks after we left.  A few years ago, between changing planes in Houston, I raced outside to smoke a cigarette and was almost knocked down from the humidity.  Two puffy, puffing chicks laughed at the water fleeing my body.  They told me Houston guys travel with at least a couple of clean shirts at all times.  That’s it for Texas, personally.  The rest is myth, legend, a respect for cheerleading, and a general loathing for executions both legal and punk.  I made a lot of chili.

Maine?  Well, Bush’s dad was born outside of Boston, and Kennebunkport, ME was just the summer cottage.  My recent experience of “The Storm of the Century” with a raging fever while in the Downeast section of Maine is perhaps best not clearly remembered.  Just a few months ago I packed the girlfriend and her kids in the car and drove to Kennebunkport for its bookstores.  Yeah, we did the tourist thing for a few moments and saw the Bush/Cheney placards.  Nice area, but seasonal.  Lobster?  Right, those big water bugs one executes by dropping into boiling water.  I like crab, but lobster leaves me too in touch with my bash-and-eat nature.  I bought a small lobster, just under a pound for eight bucks, cut his claw restraints and released him into Boston Harbor.  I know, I wasted the money.  Boston Harbor is supposed to be cleaner now, but then one never knows for sure.  Still, maybe the big water bug will make it.

How else to mark Bush’s presidency?  Jesus, come into my heart.  Now!

Though my limited expertise in Adobe Photo-Deluxe could manage some steamy graphical manipulation of images of Bush’s twin daughters, Barbara and Jenna, I leave such options to others.  I mustn’t waste my time trying to hate this man.  He’s a Republican puppet, spoiled rich-kid and brat, ex-cokehead, and dumb enough to suggest being dropped repeatedly as a baby.  And he’s my president.  I honor his election with my chili and preemptively excuse any mephitical results.  I’ll leave Maine alone for now.  Maybe Stephen King will hire someone; who knows?

We must heave a lungful of laughter at the kismet.  Should we join with Alec Baldwin and pout with drugs and prostitutes because Bush won?  Though tempting, I’ll once more leave that to others.  Baldwin is in the middle of losing his wife and politics is, after all, mostly simple public service and little different than the public servants who take away our rubbish.  We’ll survive.  Maybe Baldwin might leave America, some farting is to be expected from my chili, and our new president will undoubtedly incur everyone’s wrath during the next four years.  Life sucks, death swallows, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Pledging enough to sleep at night,
Rick

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