I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz, another official Presidents Day has come and gone and if you’re like me, it’s all downhill from here. To me and the guys, Presidents Day is the highlight of the year ’cause that’s the day that coincides with our social event of the year—our gala costume confab in which we get masqueraded up as a U.S. president and then convene over by the Uptowner tavern/charm school where a bartender is usually kind enough to award a shot of bourbon on-the-White House for whichever of us looks the most like the president he’s supposed to look like. And I tell you, things can get pretty testy ’cause we’re all competitors, and this year was no exception, what the fock.
There was quite a brouhaha when Little Jimmy Iodine got really upset ’cause he would’ve won but got disqualified on a technicality. What happened is Little Jimmy came as William Henry Harrison, our ninth president who croaked one month after he got inaugurated. Not only was it the best goddamn William Henry Harrison you could ever hope to see, but it was creative to boot ’cause Jimmy came as ol’ “Tippecanoe” a month and a day after the inauguration—he even smelled like a guy who’d been dead for 24 hours, I kid you not.
But when the bartender wanted to know what the hell it was stinking up the place so bad, Jimmy said, “It’s Benjamin Harrison from the Old Dominion state of Virginia, sir!” Little Jimmy had William Henry mixed up with his grandson-president, which is understandable, what with all the excitement and hard cider we were logging onto the bar tab. But in our group, getting mixed up on your presidents is grounds for disqualification from the costume contest. And to make it doubly hard on Little Jimmy, the bartender then had him impeached from the premises ’cause he smelled worse than the election of 1888.
The bartender ended up giving the shot to Ernie who came as Thomas A. Edison. (Yeah, I know. Go figure.) Some of the scholars in our group questioned the historical accuracy of Ernie’s outfit, not quite recalling ever seeing a photo of Edison wearing knickers or anything about an Edison administration, and if Ernie looked like a president at all, it was Ben Franklin. But we were all sick of the contest by then and we agreed that it was time to stop arguing and to start drinking like Warren G. Harding.
I went as James Polk this year. I chose Polk, our only president to die from diarrhea as far as I know, ’cause he’s been getting better marks from some historians lately, plus I wouldn’t have to wear a fake beard all night; so what the fock. And as the distinguished former president from North Carolina, I felt rather privileged to field a host of questions and comments from assorted patrons who wandered in and out through the evening, like, “Hey, did the loony bin let out early tonight?” and “Hey asshole, buy me a drink.”
One guy asked me what I thought it would take for Art Kumbalek to be elected president. I thought of our current president and wondered how the goddamn orange bag of clown ever got elected. One thing, he had a university named after himself. And then it dawned on me like the Allies storming Normandy: Art Kumbalek Public University. I had my buddy Herbie Hoover get me another two cocktails ’cause I had a lot of thinking to do, you bet.
The first important thing I had to figure was what Art Kumbalek Public University would stand for, what its mission ought to be besides making a quick buck. And I decided the mission of AKPU would be to civilize the wild beast and animal. For christ sakes, haven’t these creatures ever heard of evolution, or vice versa? Take these apes, please. Us humans and them started out about the same time some millions of years ago. However, whereas we are sending spaceships into space, these big hocking primates are still spending 36 hours a day in search of bananas and they don’t seem the least tad embarrassed by it.
And yet, we’re supposed to save the rainforest for them? I’ll bet you a buck two-eighty your typical animal could give a rat’s focking ass what happens to it. And it’s not just the rainforest, but the whole planet. These animals bear as much brunt for the destruction of Mother Nature as we humans do, especially the ones we keep in our homes and call housepets. I can only imagine how much of our ozone gets spent for the making of squeakies and the manufacture of olive-green plastic water bowls. I’d sure as hell like to know where Fido thinks he’s going to get his rubberized Snoopy squeaky if the Homo sapien goes the way of the green man from Mars, ain’a? You tell me.
Yeah, there’s a lot to think about when you start a university from scratch, but it’ll have to wait ’cause right now I got to buy my buddy Arthur A. Chester a nice cocktail ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.