MARTHA’S VINEYARD, August 19, 2011— Just for the record, it was my idea to come to Martha’s Vineyard before I had any idea President Obama would be staying down the road.
But this morning walking down the beach with my son, I was thinking about what I might say to the President if we met him out here. My thoughts were influenced by the trip here in a minivan, with kids in the backseat and bikes strapped to every possible surface of the car.
IMAGINARY SCENE: Quiet beach, sunny morning, waves crashing, just us staring out at the water and President Obama walking past with a few dozen Secret Service…
Mr. President: (trying to say a quick hello and then preserve his privacy) Nice to see you.
Me: It’s an honor to meet you, sir.
Mr. President: (so relaxed he tosses in one more nicety, which proves to be a tactical error) You sure can get some perspective staring out across the ocean.
Me: Did you… ever have a day when the girls just won’t stop tormenting each other?
Mr. President: (pause) They’re generally pretty good, but sure.
Me: I have good kids, too, but sometimes they get into a pattern that makes me forget how much I love them.
Mr. President: You have to jump in and break it up, right.
Me: Yes, and all that comes out of either one of their mouths is what’s wrong with the other one, why the other one is an idiot, why it’s just impossible to even think of the other one as a human being.
Mr. President: But actually both of them are acting like two-year-olds. I see where you’re going with this.
Me: Thank you, sir. Hope the vacation brings you perspective.
Mr. President: Well, if nothing else it’s nice to have someone offer a bit of advice without screaming at me.
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