You know, I’ve been writing this What a World column for almost half of my life. Sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly, sometimes biweekly, since 1988. On average, that comes to approximately 806 columns, or 644,800 words that I humbly hope have brought you, dearest WAW reader, a bit of insight, inspiration, and maybe even a few guffaws.
You can understand that, after all this time, sometimes it’s a challenge to come up with a topic that inspires me enough to want to share my reflections with you. That has been the case with this issue.
Should I write about the priest who molested his young, gay parishioner after the young man came out to him in confession? Too dark. Should I focus on the demise of MAD magazine and the rise of Pete Buttigieg? Too obvious. Maybe pen something about Stonewall’s legacy 50 years from now? Too Pride-d out.
At last, inspiration came like a gift from the Goddess of Liberty herself.
On the evening of Independence Day, I was comfily nestled in to my recliner, pen in one hand, martini in the other, ready to jot highlights of Donald Trump’s Super Duper Fantastical Extravagansmical Fourth of July Patriotpalooza. I was prepared to pounce on his first slip of the MAGA, his first utterance of Crooked Hillary, or any reference to building that damn border wall.
Finally, Trump began speaking from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, where in 1963 Martin Luther King Jr. moved the nation with his “I Have a Dream” speech. Interesting that a magnitude 6.4 earthquake struck California shortly before Trump appeared on those hallowed steps with the stony 16th president as a backdrop. But was that an earthquake, or fallout from Lincoln and MLK spinning in their graves?
As the speech progressed, I took snarky delight in the fact that — just like at Trump’s inaugural — it was raining. Atta girl, Mother Nature. It was fun watching her savagely uncomb his usually impenetrable comb-over, revealing his shining dome second only to the one atop the Capitol Building.
Minutes passed and, despite several slurs from his slipping dentures, Trump stuck to his script. More minutes passed. He still stuck to his script.
This isn’t normal, I thought. He sounds like a normal person. This speech is actually non-partisan.
And then it happened.
Tripping up on a riff about the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, Trump bleated, “Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over airports, it did everything it had to do.”
God bless America, I thought. Finally, something to write my WAW about.
Of course, Trump blamed his misstatement on the teleprompter shorting out in all that rain. Because otherwise, how would he know that there were no airports during the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812? Just because he’s a stable genius, that doesn’t make him an historian.
Would it surprise anyone if the Texas State Board of Education was hurriedly meeting right freaking now to make sure high school textbooks reflect Trump’s revision of history, maybe placing the Wright Brothers on the Mayflower so it all makes some semblance of sense.
The airport punch line was so deliciously glaring that nobody seemed to notice a bunch of other, almost-as-goofy gaffes that the President presented in his speech.
Only moments after conjuring the image of Redcoat fighter jets going down in flames over Fort McHenry, he burped his way through the phrase, “enemy fire.” That’s what happens when you eat too many hamberders before a big speech.
Then there was that moment when Trump bellowed, “The future belongs to us!” That was almost as eye opening as Cabaret’s version of that sentiment, when the Nazi youth sang “Tomorrow Belongs to Me”.
Speaking of eye opening, did you see the orange-turban’d Middle Eastern guy standing motionless behind Trump during “Battle Hymn of the Republic”? He never blinked, bless his heart, as the choir sang, “In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, with a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me.” Hats off to you, Buddy, for your p-p-p-pokerface.
Did you notice how Trump introduced the various aircraft fly-overs like that other master TV impresario, Ed Sullivan? “And now (insert weird, slurpy mouth-inhale), The Nighthawks!” Or “The Blue Angels.” It was Donald Trump’s “really big shew” — except the stars were military killing machines instead of Elvis or The Beatles.
By the Trump broke out in that head-bobbing, luggish, lumbering old white man dance to the Army theme song, my sides were hurting.
I hate to say it, but Trump was right. It was a fantastic show. I laughed a lot, and laugh tastes good. The martinis helped.