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No Dutch Treat

Feb. 10, 2011
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I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So listen: GO PACK, GO! You betcha. Yes, I know that there were some knobshines around here who were fed up with all the “hype” and “over-coverage” about our Green and Gold good guys’ quest to bring the Lombardi Trophy back home. To them I say, “Shut up and move to Ida-focking-ho,” what the fock.

And yet, I can empathize with a gut-puking allergic reaction to over-the-top mondo hype—for me, that would be the recent heaving hoopla for the 100-year anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth. If the Tea Baggers want to blather on and on about a less-than-mediocre president as if he were Creator of the Universe, fine, but keep it to yourselves, would you? At least out of respect for the sanity of clear-thinking American citizens, I kid you not.

Ron Reagan put out a book the other day I won’t be reading soon, titled My Father at 100: A Memoir. And so I was reminded of a commissioned biography by Edmund Morris: Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan,from 1999. At the time, a bunch of big-shot pundits called the book “unprecedented weirdness,” “bizarre and byzantine,” “unfathomable,” a “hallucination.”

? Sounds to me like Morris hit the nail right on the head, ’cause “unprecedented weirdness,” “bizarre and byzantine,” “unfathomable,” a “hallucination” are the very first words that pop into my head whenever I think of the Gipper.

The controversy about that book came from the “you can’t make shit like this up” school of writing, because Morris threw in a couple, three fictional characters. Yeah, big focking deal. Reagan made shit up all the time, so what’s the diff?

I never read all 874 pages of Dutch, but I did once peruse an excerpt a friend in a high place sent me, which follows here:

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap,” I said to the “Death Valley Days” TV-man from my childhood whose job on the show was to pitch laundry de-focking-tergent.

“Huh?” he said, in that familiar way he had of saying “huh.” Ha! He was cleaned, shaved and sober, and didn’t seem to care who knew it—this most powerful human being in the world who surely did know his way around a palindrome, I tell you.

“Call me Ishmael,” I continued, by way of introduction. “Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating circulation.”

He nodded, knowingly, drool trickling down from a corner of his mouth like tears. “Once upon a time,” he began, “and a very good time it was, there was a moocow coming down along the road and this moocow that was coming down along the road met a nicens little boy named baby tuckoo.”

“Swell,” I said to the president on the eve of what would be one of the most humongous landslides in electoral history.

“When you wet the bed, first it is warm, then it gets cold. Mother put on the oilsheet. That had the queer smell,” he continued.

“Yeah, rainy days and Mondales always bring me down, too,” I agreed. “But listen, whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to seas as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball.”

“There you go again,” he said.

Right then, a perky female aide with an ass like two duck eggs in a napkin entered the Oval Office. “Here’s that material you requested, Mr. President.”

“Huh?” he said. And with that, she placed the stack of coloring and connect-the-dots books on his desk and the president went back to work. Our session for that day was over.

So, there you go. When Dutch was published 11 years ago, hardcover cost $35. Today on Amazon, you can pick up a new copy for $4.18. Quite a reduction for a book about a president who never met a budget deficit he couldn’t increase, ain’a?

And good luck and god speed to you’s with your love and romance for the Valentine’s. As always, don’t forget what the Greek philosopher Anonymous said about that: “The ideal relationship can only be achieved when one partner is blind, and the other is deaf.” God bless America, ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.


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