I WAS THINKING ABOUT President George W. Bush, and I thought about him sitting in his TV room—once the president’s study, but now it’s the president’s TV room—and the TV is on of course, and Bill O’Reilly is on the TV of course and talking about the liberal media, over and over. It’s a loop of O’Reilly that Bush’s staff has prepared for the president and usually it makes Bush happy just to sit and watch it. O’Reilly saying “Liberal media” over and over. Bush will sometimes clap his hands and repeat “Liberal media. Liberal media.”
His staff has also rigged the TV so that when he’s alone and it’s late he can watch Ann Coulter in one of her long black, Republican, high-cut skirts as she crosses and uncrosses her legs and tosses her blondish hair. Also a loop.
“Uh huh, uh huh,” George W. Bush will say in his loopy way.
But tonight George has tired of O’Reilly and clapping and it’s too early to think about Ann, and the president is looking at his thumb. George seems amazed by his thumb, and Laura Bush comes in.
“Look!” says George. “Look.”
“What is it, George?” says Laura.
“Look.” And George holds up his hand and makes a clutching motion, thumb to palm. “What is that called?”
“That’s your thumb, George.”
“Oh, I know that. George knows that. But what’s that called?”
“I don’t know what you mean,” says Laura.
“That,” says George. And he again moves his thumb to his palm.
“Oh. Opposable. Prehensile. Called prehensile. I was a librarian.”
“No. No, George,” says Laura.
“Yes, you said.”
“ I said ‘prehensile’ not ‘presentable.’”
“Oh.” George looks back toward the TV. “Don’t be mad. Don’t be mad at George. I’ll say it right. ‘Presentable.’”
“It’s okay. Yes. Whatever, “ says Laura.
And I thought that was pretty funny, but then I thought, this idiot has killed over 30,000 Iraqi civilians. Children have died.
Still, I couldn't stop thinking about George and Laura.
“We are the only ones that can do that, huh?” says George to Laura. “God must have loved us very much to give us a thumb.”
“Well, yes, George. God does love us very much for he gave his only begotten son. But actually other primates can do that and some have prehensile feet and tails too. Apes, chimps, monkeys. I was a librarian so I know that.”
“Yes, George. You are curious; and don’t let anybody tell you that you’re not,” says Laura.
“No, not me, La-La, silly.” George calls his wife La-La. “Curious George has that, can do that. That book. Remember that book? That monkey? ‘Curious George.’ A great book that I have read. ‘Curious George.’ Just last night I started to read it again. And George was a monkey with a presentable tail.”
“Yes,” says George. “And feet, too. But, La-La, isn’t that evolution? Should you be saying that about other primers and how other primers have presentables too? I don’t think that you should say that, La-La. E-vo-lu-tion.”
“No, that’s okay, George. And it’s ‘primate.’ Not ‘primer.’ That’s not evolution, that’s intelligent design. God made opposable thumbs and prehensile tails. That’s intelligent design. It’s okay to say that. I was a librarian. It’s okay to say that. Intelligent design.”
“Oh,” says George.
And I thought that was pretty funny, too. But last Sunday I saw “Baghdad ER” on HBO with its wounded and dying soldiers. And I thought about U.S. military deaths in Iraq. 2455 as of 22 May 2006. And the 17,488 wounded as of 22 May 2006.
Still, I couldn't stop thinking about George and began to think about him and his mother.
And George was sitting in his TV room in the governor’s mansion in Texas before he became president, when his mother came in.
“George!” Barbara Bush screamed. “Why are you looking at your thumb, George? Stop staring at it. I’ve told you about that.”
George was sitting in his La-Z Boy when his mother came in and when she screamed she startled him out of his thumbish fascination and onto the floor.
“Oh, hi Mama.” George looks up from the floor.
“Why aren’t you wearing your shirt? And are those your boxer shorts? Are you wearing your boxer shorts?”
“Yes, Mama. Hey, Mama, watch this!” George W. Bush stands up and faces his mother and wiggles his ears.
“Very nice, George. Now, George…”
But George isn’t listening. Instead he touches the end of his nose with his tongue. “Look, Mama. Hey Mama, look.”
“Very nice, George. Now, George…”
“Hey, Mama…” And George puts his hand into his armpit and lowers his arm rapidly, making a rude sound. Then he jumps up and down laughing. “Hey Mama! Hey Mama. Wasn’t that funny Mama?”
And Barbara Bush becomes very angry.
“George! Goddamnit George. You fucking idiot. Pay attention. I want to talk to you. Your father and I want to talk to you. And stop crying. Stop that goddamn crying.”
Barbara Bush goes to the door and yells down the hall, “George! George! Get the fuck in here and talk to this idiot with me.”
After a moment George H.W. comes in. “Yes, Babs?”
“Yes, Babs; yes, Babs. You wimp fuck. I told you never to call me that. We were going to talk to this idiot, remember?”
“Yes, yes. I remember.”
“What were we going to say to him?”
“Oh, Jesus Christ! Never mind. Go away; I’ll talk to him.” And George H.W. leaves the room.
“George! George! Stop blubbering, you idiot. George! Your father and I have made a decision.”
“Okay,” says George W. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry I cried. What is it, Mama? I’m sorry.”
“All right. Just shut up. Stop whimpering. Your father and I have decided that you should be president.”
“Oh. President, president. Oh, boy! President of what?”
“The United States, idiot.”
“Oh. Ohhhh! The United States. Air Force. Air Force plane. What’s that plane called?”
“One. Air Force One.”
“And I’ll get to fly in it? The big plane?”
“Yes, you’ll be president and you’ll get to fly in it. It’ll be your plane.”
“Oh. Okay, okay Mama. I’ll do it. I’ll be president.” And George W. sits back down in his La-Z Boy and again looks at his thumb.
“Fucking idiot,” says Barbara Bush as she walks out of the room.
And I thought that was pretty funny, too; but then I remembered that my son is in the naval reserves. And I also remembered that the American people elected George W. Bush as president. And so I stopped thinking about it, because that's not funny. ###
24 May 2006