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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Things That Must Suck I

Being Jon Bon Jovi’s brother.  Because, really?  You can’t possibly be better looking than he.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

But He's No Slick Willie

            Election Day here in Chicagoland has me thinking about Bill Clinton and why so many people, including me, still long to see his name on the ballot for reasons having nothing to do with politics.  (So before your heads explode – and you know who you are – remember that this has NOTHING TO DO WITH POLITICAL VIEWS.)  Here are the top six reasons I miss Bill Clinton:

(1)          He was charming.  The man literally charmed the pants (ok, dresses) off of women.  His effect on men was only marginally dissimilar.  John Travolta has been credited as saying that he was “seduced” by Clinton when he met him in 1997.  That takes a special kind of appeal, considering Travolta has never claimed to be anything but straight (I mean, he was Tony Manero, for God’s sake!)  But perhaps the best evidence of Clinton’s charisma is the fact that the man was impeached, yet no one seems to have noticed.  Or to even remember. 
(2)          He was comforting.  Bill could give us bad news and make it seem, well, not so bad.  Something in his tone, in the rise and fall of his voice, made me feel that in the end everything would turn out just fine.  On 9/11, I frantically flipped channels searching for his image.  I needed him to tell me everything was going to be ok.  Because I knew I would believe him.
(3)          He got the joke.  Remember the image of Clinton wiping away tears of laughter as he stood alongside Boris Yeltsin at the FDR Library in 1995?  The man found the funny in Boris Yeltsin.  Clinton’s laugh was genuine and contagious, and he wasn’t afraid to throw his head back and let it peal when the moment struck.
(4)          He reminded us of Elvis.  It wasn’t just the Southern thing – it was the Southern thing, and the hair thing, and the impromptu jam session thing and the ever-so-slightly-curled lip thing.  Even the usually humorless Secret Service noticed the resemblance and assigned the President the code name “Elvis”  (Which, by the way, is awesome.).  Like the late King himself, Clinton could work a crowd, except Slick Willie didn’t need a rhinestone jumpsuit.  
(5)          He had embarrassing relatives.  Not since the Carter Administration had America enjoyed such a dysfunctional sibling like Roger C. Clinton, Jr.  His cocaine-related conviction aside, Roger served to amuse and to remind us that even the wealthiest and most powerful among us have to deal with embarrassing family members. 
(6)          He seemed like one of us.  Bill Clinton was human.  He was flawed, for sure – he cheated on his wife, he regularly caved into his cravings for junk food and he wore wholly unattractive shorts while jogging.  Yet, in the end, those flaws may have constituted his greatest asset, as they made him relatable, they made him real.  Deep down, Clinton was just a regular guy with a remarkably exceptional job.  William Jefferson Clinton answered to “Mr. President,” but he also answered to “Bubba.”  He lived and owned up to a complicated dual identity, like many of us do:  one person at work, another at home.  But even clad in his most official-looking suit, reading his most serious-themed speech at a most official-sounding event held halfway around the world, Clinton could not fully hide the heart of the “boy from Arkansas” beating just behind the starched collar and presidential tie.  Embarrassing?  Sometimes.  Pompous?  On occasion.  Human?  Definitely.    

Monday, February 7, 2011

Baby You Can Drive My Car

           Dear Fellow Driver:

I see from the large yellow sign in your back window that you have just welcomed aboard a Baby!  Congratulations!  I hope your bundle of joy brings you years of happiness and love.

I have one question, however:   should you really be allowing Baby to operate your vehicle?  That is the only explanation I can find for the “driving” I have witnessed over the past few miles.  The random stopping and starting, perpetual turn signaling, and complete disregard of the speed limit all point to the conclusion that Baby must be at the wheel.  There’s also the attraction to shiny objects, like parked cars and mailboxes.  (I think that mail carrier may need to borrow a clean diaper after that near miss a few blocks back.)  And Baby can’t read, which likely explains the cute little wrong-way-down-a-one-way street distraction, doesn’t it? 

A mother myself, there are a few things I don’t understand, like Baby’s shunning of infant classics like “Five Days Old” by The Laurie Berkner Band for – is that Slipknot?  And then there’s the lit cigarette butt Baby flipped out of the driver’s side window.  An unfiltered Camel, no less!  I know, I know – kids today!  Growing up so fast!

Although I appreciate your thoughtful sign warning me that Baby is indeed “on board,” perhaps you should rethink your decision to give the car keys to an infant for purposes other than jingling.  Might I suggest starting the tot off with a toy steering wheel and some plastic teething keys, followed by a few years behind the handlebars of a Big Wheel until he or she is ready for the ultimate test:  the motorized hot pink Barbie Jeep?  I mean, a baby’s gotta crawl before it can walk, right?  (Baby will get that one – classic infant humor).

If I have grievously erred by somehow jumping to the wrong conclusion, and you, not Baby, have been driving this whole time, I have one last question:  would you consider switching car seats with Baby?  Because, really?  Baby could not possibly drive any worse.  And Baby has a valid excuse for not knowing that “red means stop,” but you?  Do not.

Perhaps Baby could drive you back to the mall where you purchased your adorable yellow plastic suction-cup window sign to find something more suitable – like “Jackass Behind the Wheel?”  

And maybe, just maybe, with enough practice, you and Baby will master the Barbie car.