What now?

~a column by Colleen O’Brien

Our current president, #45, may be a perfectly fine gentlemen who is nice to his family, friends and pets.

We know he really likes one of his girls.

We know he brooks no difference of opinion with his friends, and we’ve seen lots of them drift away. But we all lose friends over time. His friends who remain seem to be okay with his whims and, from what I hear Fox reporting, his tantrums.

I don’t know about you, but I have learned over a lifetime that to hang with people who throw tantrums is a tedium of constantly being on guard, as in—“Uh oh, what did I say that just set her off?” But the pressure on the most powerful person in the world might be a petri dish for tantrums.

We know he does not have a dog. He is the only president who has not had a pet in the Oval Office; even a rooster, like President William McKinley. Because of the reputed cockiness of roosters and the tendency to crow about themselves, a rooster as a pet might make for too much competition in the White House.

If there are really cool things about our president, I have not read what they are. Either Fox News is not doing its duty, or there is nothing cool and worth snapping during the cozy at-home time of the family. Most of the casual photographs I’ve seen (I may not have seen them all) are of him in golf togs on a course he owns somewhere in the world.

Number 45, in his State of the Union speech this year, talked mostly about the State of the Administration, which is just him, not the whole Union; and the executive branch of the government is only a third of the main institutions that comprise the Union anyway. When he did get to saying something about the state of his nation—“Our economy is the best it’s ever been”—I lost the thread because I started thinking about my own economy, of which I learn more and more each month how to be more economical about.

My buck does not go as far as it did three years ago. Or for that matter, three weeks ago. Beer prices have remained somewhat constant, but those greens and fruits, wow. They are the best things for me, and their per-pound cost is approaching that of a T-bone. In three years, my Social Security, which is my income, has risen by about $5 a month. That is neither inflation nor deflation; it’s stagnation. I am not better off, other than to say that I am much cleverer than I was in 2017. Then I could live on a dime; now I have figured how to live on a nickel.

When 45 said he made 7 million jobs, I was happy for those new workers. When I looked it up to see what the jobs were, I learned that it wasn’t 7 mil but 6.7 million.

The article mentioned that during the three years before he took office, 8 million jobs were added.

I am aware of the humanness of exaggeration, I being party to it now and then myself. And might I mention how we were all taught to round numbers up to the nearest tens, hundreds, thousands, millions. So, he was doing what he must have been paying attention to in a fourth grade, rounding up to the next mil.

Most of us who work “earn” two weeks of vacation a year. Plus, of course, the 10 federal holidays. Presidents, what with the position being not only the most powerful in the entire world but also said to be the most difficult…well, presidents must need more time off.

During the three years (that would be 1095 days) since his inauguration, #45 has spent 574 days at Trump properties or at other golf courses (this according to NBC fact checkers), which means that he could have spent 521 days at the office. So, he’s been working a little less than half-time. At least in that cozy and famous little room called the office in the People’s house.

I understand how he is a man of exaggeration. I, too, am a person of hyperbole. I try not to lie, because it’s pointless; lies will out. Sooner or later, someone finds out. Besides, anyone who lies is lying to her/himself. My husband, avid golfer, used to be irate when someone cheated on a golf score (he oughtta be here now to read somebody’s golf cards). My husband realized, though, that everyone who played with a cheater knew he cheated. However important, nice, endearing, kind or loving the golfer was, that cheating part of him added a caution to other men’s estimation of him. Of course, my husband was not a U.S. Senator, who I think would not have minded watching a cheater cheat.

Another thing about the State of the Trump speech has to do with language. My Trump friends tell me that we all use the words he uses, so why be hypocritical about it? In other words, if we use the scatological words, the curse words, the bad words, why can’t he? He likes “crap” and “bullshit” and “pussy” and “son of a bitch” and the F-bomb. I say, “Have at it, 45! Be one of us! Say it like it is!”

That I was told to look in the dictionary and find a big word that might replace a vulgar word is something I might encourage 45 to do. But I do not have his ear. Maybe one of his handlers will read this and offer a synonym or two for his next State of the Trump speech. Forthwith, rather than the above words, he could substitute one of the below words:
Bunk, drivel, gibberish, guff, hogwash, nonsense, rubbish, baloney, bunkum, flim-flam, hokum, hooey, poppycock.

But, as his chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said, lots of people swear and there are more important things than coarsening the language.

I hope to get to those more important things next time.

May there be a minimum of drivel in your conversations on this day. And have a nice one.

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