by Bill Hangley Jr.
So when the President was here on July 4, I had the opportunity to shake his hand. I wasn't sure if that was a good idea or not but I did it anyway, and said to him, "Mr President, I hope you only serve four years. I'm very disappointed in your work so far."
He kept smiling and shaking my hand but answered, "who cares what you think?" His face stayed photo-op perfect but his eyes gave me a look that said, if we'd been drinking in some frathouse in Texas, he'd've happily answered, "let's take it outside." A nasty little gleam. But he was (fortunately) constrained by Presidential propriety.
But that was the end of it, until I turned away and started scribbling the quote down in my notepad, so as to remember The Gift forever. When he saw me do that he got excited and craned his neck over the rubberneckers to shout at me, "who are you with? Who are you with?" People started looking so he made a joke: "make sure you get it right." But he kept at it: "Who do you write for?"
I told him I wasn't "with" anybody and pointed to one of his staff people, who knows me a little, and said, "ask him, he'll tell you." Then I split.
Half an hour later, my boss (who had helped organize the event we were at) came up to me and said, "did you really tell the President that he was doing a 'lousy fucking job'?" No way, I said, I was very polite, I just told him what I thought.
Fortunately, he believed me. He wasn't happy with me, but he believed me.
But anyway, if you ever wondered if the Prez really was kind of a jerk, I'm here to tell you, he is, and I got The Gift to prove it.
I'm thinking of making up t-shirts so we can share The Gift with everyone:
"Who cares what you think?" - President George W. Bush
Bill Hangley is a Philadelphia writer who writes for Philly Tonite, the Weekly Press, City Paper, and many others. This is his original post, apparently to a newsgroup.