Friday, October 22, 2010

A Smart Ass Tribute to Ronald Reagan

Okay, let’s get this one out of the way right now. Let’s see who’s got the stomach to stick around and keep reading
Before we get too deep into this relationship, there’s something you all need to know about me. I once took a leak on the front lawn of the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan. I was a much younger man at the time. Now that I am older and wiser and more sensitive to the feelings and viewpoints of others, do I regret it?
Hell no!
I peed on the iconic president’s lawn indirectly or, through proxy, if you will. We were riding through Dixon, Illinois. Who knows why? I believe we were returning from a summer camping weekend. It was Bill and Becky, Anna and me. Bill, my wild man college roommate. (Bill once conspired with our other roommate, Mike Bachstein, to dump Bachstein out of his wheelchair in a busy sub sandwich shop on the main drag of Carbondale, Illinois, just for a laugh. Bachstein sat at a table in his ragged wheelchair, eating his sub and minding his own business. Bill walked by, looked in the window, stopped in his tracks, went up to Bachstein, cussed him out and tipped his wheelchair forward. Bachstein took a pratfall to the floor, just as they had rehearsed. Bill ran away and fortunately he ran faster than the eyewitnesses who ran after him, hoping to apprehend him and kick his ass.) Becky, Bill’s wife and balancing opposite. She’s calm, steady, practical, speaks only when she has something to say. Anna, my late first wife. The whole thing was her idea. We saw the signs trumpeting Reagan’s boyhood home. A sudden, invisible lightning bolt of conniving delight struck Anna. She stiffened in her wheelchair, snorted with laughter and said we should go there so I could pee on the lawn. (Note how she nominated me to perform such a thoroughly despicable act. I was flattered.)
But what about logistics? I couldn’t just roll out on the lawn, unzip and let ‘er rip. I’m always packing a urinal, but I couldn’t just fill it up and christen the lawn. Too blatant.
Then Becky got a brilliant idea.
“Mountain Dew!”
Mountain Dew looks like pee. So we got a can of Mountain Dew at a gas station and we all took slugs from it til the Mountain Dew was gone. I peed in the urinal. Becky, sitting in the passenger seat, poured the pee into the empty Mountain Dew can with a steady hand like a chemist. Bill pulled the van up to the curb in front of the modest boyhood home of Ronald Reagan. The place was locked up tight. Becky handed Bill the can. Bill stepped out of the van. He kept the engine running.
Bill stepped cautiously out to the middle of the lawn. He held the can high, as if offering a toast. Then he upended the can until it was empty. He ran back to the van and we sped away like bank robbers.
If we tried to pull a stunt like that today, I’d be writing this from Guantanamo. The FBI would use DNA to trace the pee back to me. I realize that by posting this on the internet I am ruining my life. I will never be able to hold public office or win Senate confirmation if I am ever nominated for the Supreme Court. All my detractors will have to do is point out that I once peed on the front lawn of the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan and I’m sunk. Only the most enlightened of humans will sympathize. I’ll probably be barred from holding down any job ever again, except writing this smart ass blog. But I can’t resist making this confession for the same reason I couldn’t resist peeing on the lawn in the first place-- in the name of justice. I’m grateful I had the opportunity to deface the lawn in the same disrespectful way that the gleeful selfishness of Reaganism has defaced America.
Hello out there in Readershipland? Is anyone still there? Do I hear crickets?

P.S. I’ve posted a new photo, which was sent in by astute reader and fellow smart ass Kevin Irvine. He was at the cheesehead karaoke bar mentioned in the intro and captured this moment. Beer and women and song. What else is there?