Sunday, August 31, 2008
As I alluded to earlier, about a week ago on the eve of the trip to Jackson that I had planned, I was called to an emergency meeting of the Executive Committee of the Board of a certain do-gooder organization non-profit agency. The long and the short of it is that as of 8:30 os so Thursday week, I am now the President of the Board. Certain other changes were in the works which required my presence here so I cancelled my trip.
The seriousness of the situation really didn't fully hit me until the ISP we use called me at 8 AM the next morning requesting permission to "do a lockout" on a certain computer. After regaining my composure, I gave the authorization. I guess the coffee hadn't kicked in yet.
" You are the President of the Board, right?" said the voice in my ear.
" Yes. I am the President. You may proceed."
It was my Alexander Haig moment. Except, contrary to Haig's sweaty, eye rolling remarks to the camera after Ronald Reagan got shot, I was in charge.
A good part of Friday and Friday evening was spent trying to assist other Board members in getting our arms around the situation by cell phone and e-mail.
As if that were not sufficient high drama for one weekend, little did I know that while I helping to run a non-profit, my brother John was in the Emergency Room at St. Bernard's in Jonesboro, Arkansas. Friday afternoon, he felt pain in his stomach followed by intense nausea. When the pain grew worse, he went to the ER where he was admitted. I got the call early that Saturday morning from Bob's wife Shirley. Shirley and the boys had come down from Conway to be with Clarke while Amy went to Jonesboro.
While the doctors worked him up to decide whether he had gall bladder disease or pancreatitis, I sent a million text messages out: His golf buddy Petey who attempts to teach me the game, his best friend Rollo who is the tallest cardiologist in captivity, Marge and Hugh in Jackson, Don in Chapel Hill, anybody I could think of. Remembered that Hugh's brother is a doc in Jonesboro. Told him to get Barry's ass in there.
The first response was from Rollo: "Huh?" I found it to be particularly apt.
Eventually, he got better. They decided he had pancreatitis of an unknown origin. He came home Sunday night looking "white as a sheep" as one of my old Legal Services clients once said to me.
The fact that he didn't have or surgery or, well, die allowed me to return to crisis # 1. I met with the staff last Tuesday to reassure them that their jobs were not in jeopardy. I was pleased to see that they weren't bearing pitchforks and torches.
I then prepared for my first Board meeting as President on Thursday. Before, that event, there were more messages and e-mails from other members of the Board. I can explain the United States Bankruptcy Code to you but I know next to nothing about Robert's Rules of Order. And I proceeded to display that ignorance for all to see. But we got through it. And nobody resigned or called for my impeachment. But it's early yet.
And did I mention I have a day job? The one that pays me money?
Looking back on all of those events of the past week, I struck by one main thought: How did we ever multi-task and/or manage events involving large numbers of people prior to the advent of digital technology? As hard as last week was, I cannot imagine getting as much done if I had to talk on the phone to relay basic information. With the push of a button 25 people get the message.
Shirley is something of a Luddite. And yet even she sees the value of having a cell phone handy nowadays. Indeed, she talked to me three times today. It is a personal best.
The family is coming over for ribs Sunday night. Everybody will bring something. PM and Karen will bring the new pups over which the little boys will like. It will be fun.
John says he is coming although he is not up to ribs just yet. He started eating solid food last Friday. The way he has it figured, this qualifies him to eat the chicken fried steak he swears he is going to eat tonight. I know the boy is hungry but this strikes me as stupid.
Better keep the cell phone handy just in case we need to get the word out again. At least if he goes down this time he will be in Pulaski County.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Friday, August 29, 2008
tmfw: I see where David Duchovny announced that he was entering rehab on account of the fact that he is a sex addict.
tmfw: I wonder how they treat that?
Mac: They make you get married.
I got spurrrrrrrrs that jingle jangle jingle.........
Sunday, August 24, 2008
More about that later. Suffice it to say it has been a crazy 3 days.
John rolled in @ 3:30 this afternoon looking like death warmed over. He asked me to get his prescription for pain meds filled at the pharmacy he uses out in his part of town. I took it in and handed it to the woman behind the counter. I told her that it was for my brother who had been in the hospital the last few days. She found him in the system and told me it would be a few minutes.
After I had gotten some soup and Gatorade for the patient I went back to the pharmacy. After awhile a handsome young man with a shock of blond hair and an incandescent smile called my name. I went up to the counter.
" Are you John?," he asked.
"No. I'm tmfw the famous blogger," I said. " I have traveled west from the People's Republic of Hillcrest and am picking this up for him here in this, the land of land of Range Rovers, bad religion and Republicans, because he has been in the hospital."
"Well," he said, " We will have to have some verification." He affected this stern look on his face.
"What's his date of birth?" he said. He was tapping his jaw with his forefinger.
I drew a blank.
"Hell. I dunno. I've got it down somewhere." I mumbled.
" Let me give you a hint," he stage whispered. "Marrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrch?"
" Look. If I were his wife or his sister I would know. I mean, I know but I just can't remember."
The pharmacist that I handed the scrip to originally came over.
" He's good," she said. " He's the one that handed it to me. His brother's in here all the time."
"Well!" he said. " That settles that."
I signed the forms. I paid the money.
He handed me the little white bag.
" March 9th" he said. " You might want to-I don't know-write it down or something." He was looking up in the sky with a fake thoughty expression.
He smiled. He winked.
I bet I don't ever forget it again.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Saturday, August 16, 2008
" The worst part of all was the trip down to the police station. The back seat smelled like this weird combination of sweaty tennis shoes and alcohol. I almost puked when they closed the car door behind me."
Friday, August 15, 2008
" Whoaaaaaa," I said.
" What is it? A wreck? A bad wreck?" she asked.
" No. There's too many cops. There's a forensic unit. Something bad happened."
She looked at her watch.
" Is it common for somebody to get shot at 12:30 in downtown Little Rock? Like down the street from the Capitol?"
This from a young woman who lives in a really dangerous city.
It is somewhat comforting-at least from a Chamber of Commerce perspective-that the murder of the Chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party by a stranger who sought him out- seemed to be the typical senseless act of an unstable white loser who confused the ability to acquire firearms with self-esteem.
What is less clear is why Timothy Johnson, who died after foolishly engaging in a shoot-out with the Arkansas State Police after the crime, made Bill Gwatney the object of his rage. By all accounts, they didn't know each other. And yet, in his house, the police found a yellow sticky note with Gwatney's last name and telephone number on it. They also found two sets of keys that bore the logos of Gwatney Chevrolet.
His neighbors described him as loner who lived by himself in a house that his late parents owned in Searcy. He had a sister in Sheridan where the cops forced him off the road after a high speed chase. Supposedly she helped him with money. There are stories that he stalked a woman who worked in a local dentist's office. The investigators have his computer. The data on the hard drive should prove interesting.
Some things are not knowable. What we do know is that Timothy Johnson quit his job at the Target in Conway after he was accused of writing derogatory graffiti about women on the walls there. He drove to Little Rock and sought out a man he apparently didn't know and shot him dead in front of horrified onlookers.
And we also know that once again, an obviously disturbed person with access to weapons, decided to go out in a blaze of what he perceived to be glory after killing an innocent person.
What we don't know is why. And that it was the sort of crazy shit that shocked a woman from New Orleans.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
You run down the hall to the men's room and lock the door. And from that ignoble space you call the front desk to get security to throw the reporters off the property.
And in the privacy of a public latrine at the Beverly Hilton your head hums. Whither human dignity? You think, " I could have been President. And look at me now."
Well? What did they expect? I say "they" because the widely admired Elizabeth Edwards says that John confessed to her in 2006. These people are not stupid. And still they pressed on with the campaign as if they thought that this story would never see the light of day.
Perhaps they would have reconsidered if they had known that the filmmaker he knew as Rielle Hunter had previously been known in New York as Lisa Druck. She dated the author Jay McInerney who said that she was the model for the character Allison Poole in his novel "The Story of My Life" who he describes as: "a budding actress already fatally well-versed in hopping the clubs, shopping Chanel, falling in and out of lust, and abusing other people's credit cards."
It is never good when a merely unstable person becomes an inconvenient one as well. Again, what on God's green Earth made them think they could pull this off in the first place?
I had an interesting conversation about this with a friend the other night. She took keen interest in Edwards referring to himself as "a narcissist." She noted that no man that refers to himself thusly really believes it. This observation was confirmed by the all-seeing and all-knowing Dr. GG who told me on the cell phone that " Narcissists never blame themselves. They have no insight. It's always somebody else's fault."
As for me, I don't know whether Edwards is a narcissist or not. We all, each and everyone of us, want to be the star in our own movie. And I have to think that the urge to run for higher elective office has an element of narcissism to it. Indeed, given the rigors of the average Presidential race, one could rightly wonder whether any person that wanted the job was actually sane enough to vote for.
I do know that, at the end of the day, he is just another man who made a mistake. And all of us have made mistakes with our money and with our private parts. Each and every one. Most of us haven't been in the glare of the public eye though.
As I say at times like these, it's not like he killed anybody. Is he a hypocrite.? Sure he is. But there have been worse. He will pay dearly for this foolish affair. I cannot imagine that he is anything else but utterly doomed politically. He will be remembered for Rielle Hunter just as Bill Clinton will always be remembered for Monica Lewinsky. He will have to repair the damage he has caused his family. And there may be a financial payout as well in the form of child support if it is determined that he is the father of the child Hunter had at all times consistent with this time frame.
But still. He didn't kill anybody. If his family can live with it, that is good enough for me. I wish him luck.
He will need it.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Monday, August 04, 2008
His last words: "Tell the Governor he just lost my vote. Y'all hurry this along. I'm dying to get out of here."
This was even better than Tim McVeigh quoting the line about being "the captain of my fate" from the poem "Invictus."
If there's any time when you are NOT the captain of your fate, it is just before you are executed pursuant to a Court Order.
Anyway, you simply cannot make this stuff up.