Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Inauguration Day Recollections

As you might have guessed by the absence of any live blogging, the Hatcher was unable to attend any of the inauguration day festivities, save for catching the tail end of the parade turning off of Pennsylvania Avenue onto 20th street, as I pedaled home from work. Calvin Coolidge once said that the business of America is business, and so I celebrated by being stuck in meetings all day. Since my day rate is higher than the per capita income of many third world countries, I aint complaining, but I would have liked to go take in some of the protest crowds firsthand. Here is someone who did, and writes about it to hilarious effect.

If I were more entrepreneurial, I would have went to a group of said protestors with contracts in hand, offering them jobs touring the country as a circus of freaks. I'd buy a trailer with several different rooms that people could walk through, like one of those cheap carny exhibits. In each room I'd have one of these freaks jailed with a TV monitor showing a Halliburton commercial, or GWB celebrating, or C-Span showing Tom Delay give a speech to the House, and the patrons would see our little monkeys bouncing off of the walls. The only problem is that my traveling circus would get lots of competition from all the freaks (who go unsigned) who are willing to make asses of themselves for free. These guys need to unionize so they capture some of the considerable rents that attend to their asininity. Why protest for free when the Hatcher could take the best of the lot and turn them into a well-paid touring ensemble?

But I digress. It turns out that one actually needs a ticket to attend the inauguration, a fact that escaped me until the morning of the swearing in, at which time I abandoned all hope of going. My makeshift press ID that identifies me as a blogger that shamelessly panders to my limited audience by telling old stories that they are all too familiar with doesn't cut it in John Ashcroft's Amerika, where security would have deprived me of all of my civil liberties, and kicked me to the curb.

Despite this disappointment, I'd like to relay a short story that indicates a high probability that the Hatcher actually crept into the mind of GWB not long ago, in the way that stray thoughts that do not originate via conscious will inflict us all. About two weeks ago, I decided that I was going to run to work rather than bike. My route takes me over the Potomac on a pedestrian path that crosses the river running parallel to I-395 traffic heading in the opposite direction (south). As sometimes happens in DC, a motorcade led by six or seven police cars was heading south in the lane next to the footbridge, not five feet from me. In the first limo of two, I see a big head of white hair, and I think it is Barbara Bush. In the second I see W, looking right at me - we made eye contact, I am sure of it.

W has actually run a sub 20 minute 5K as President, although I think knee troubles have led him to abandon running for mountain biking. But nevertheless, he is a very competitive guy, and a better runner than most. My bet is that when he locked in on me running, there was a brief moment where he tuned out whoever was talking to him, and sized up a quick comparison. His initial Bayesian thought, given his better than average ability as a runner and the limited data processed in regard to an estimate of my speed, would have surely been - "I am faster than that dude." I think his eyes probably lingered another second to verify his conclusion, enough time to make a more informed assessment of how we ranked comparatively, and changed his mind, glad that he hadn't said anything out loud. Bottom line - I earned W's respect, and he would have wanted me at the inauguration. I am sorry I let him down.

Since that incident, whenever I traverse that bridge, I don my sign just in case: "Economist for Hire - Head of Council of Economic Advisors - call 867-5309."


Blogger Professor Vic said...

As much as I dislike Bush, I will say that I frequently use him as inspiration. Despite being very physically active, I have never been a good distance runner, no matter how much I train. I have literally run several dozen 5K training runs over the past 15 months where I have timed myself with a personal best time of a pathetic 23:17.

Now, how better to motivate oneself than to realize a guy you intensely dislike, and who is 15 years older than you, can beat your best times by a substantial margin? Don't think that I'm not picturing Bush as I click the treadmill up another notch or two.

One should always give credit where it is due, and without question, the President is a fitness machine. Mind you, if running ability were the prime quality for leadership, we would be inaugurating President Frank Shorter and his cabinet of young Moraccans and Kenyans. Still, kudos to a guy who is disciplined enough to be in such great shape in his fifties.

8:55 AM  
Blogger pbryon said...

Either he was sizing you up, or making some comment to Bartlett about those ugly tights and/or shorts you were wearing. "Hey Dan, check out the toe on this red haired guy running in the spandex."

8:56 AM  

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