Corpus Christi, TX (SPA) -- September 23, 1998
I sat down for breakfast yesterday morning at my favorite coffee shop when I saw my old friend Henry J. Finglethorpe, IV. "Henry J.!" I called out since I hadn't seen him in a long time.
"Oh, hi Bob," he replied sourly. "I go by 'Hank' now. I don't want people to think I'm too uppity."
"Ah, I understand," I nodded. "So, why are you so moody today?"
"Some low life on the bus insulted Fred today. I've been with Fred for a long time now, and it really hurts when someone attacks him."
He must have noticed my look, because he cleared things up quickly. "Oh, no! Not that," he interjected nervously. "Fred's my pet weasel."
I breathed a quick sigh of relief. "So why did this guy attack Fred? What did Fred do, bite the guy?"
"NO! Fred didn't do anything to him. That's what has me so upset," Hank answered forcefully.
"So, what did he say about Fred?" I was getting curious now.
"Well, he didn't talk about Fred specifically," Hank noted.
I was getting a bit frustrated at this point, so I pressed him a bit further. "So, how did he insult Fred?" I asked with a much stronger emphasis.
Hank choked back a few tears; "He called the President a weasel." After sniffing a few times, he looked at me and said with that sad puppy dog face that only someone in real pain can manage, "Why would anyone talk about Fred like that. Fred has a useful purpose; he helps protect the house from rodents!"
I had to think about that for a moment. I could see Hank's point. I could imagine how I would feel if someone called the President a "snake-in-the-grass." My pet boa constrictor has been quite a comfort to me, and we have a lot of mice around my place. I couldn't imagine anyone comparing President Clinton to a useful animal like a boa constrictor or a weasel.
So I decided to try and comfort Hank. "People just don't understand weasels, Hank. Maybe we ought to think of another way to describe Mr. Clinton."
Hank agreed, so we began thinking together. I can tell you it was rough trying to think of another description for the President. I mean, how else do you describe a character like him? What animal has shown his capacity for evasiveness, lying and other bad characteristics?
If you just call him a "Liar," I am sure that Liar's Clubs across the country would rise up in outrage. Calling him merely an adulterer would enrage 100% of the population, since we know that everyone else is acting like that anyway. No animal comparison would be accepted because there would bound to be some support group for that animal.
Old Hank and I worked on this one for a long while. We didn't realize how long we had been there until the waitress brought us a lunch menu. So we ordered lunch and kept on working, not because the fate of the free world hinged on our decisions, mind you, but because the challenge was there. About the time the waitress cleared our lunch dishes we both hit upon the title that worked. We both agreed that this was the perfect title for President Clinton. I just hope we don't hear from the "Pond Scum Lover's Society" about this.
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Ó 1998 by Bob James. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to distribute this article to others without charge as long as it is distributed in its entirety and this notice is attached. This article may not be distributed commercially either individually or as part of any anthology without the express written consent of the author.
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