Blow Bill Blow

Minnesota summers are hot, and when I was 12 my parents’ bedroom was the only place in our apartment with air conditioning. I’d taken to hiding out there whenever I could. I’d watch sitcoms or Xena on the television next to their bed or read whatever I found around the house when I ran out of books. This happened often. I was a fast reader, and didn’t have a ton of friends. 

One bored afternoon that whatever was Time. I didn’t usually go for that but I was desperate, and by desperate I mean lazy: I’d plowed through all the old issues of Funny Times and Mad, and the boxes of books in the basement seemed very far away.

The cover showed a pretty, dark-haired woman with red lipstick hugging the President. Only his back was visible, a long gray suit jacket topped by white hair. The crowd surrounding them was smiling and laughing, but the Special Report seal and title (“Why She Turned…What He Can Do”) let me know something scandalous lurked between the pages. I was intrigued. 

I was about two pages in when my mom opened the door. She shut it quickly so the precious cold wouldn’t escape, then plopped next to me on the bed.

“What’re you up to, kid?”

“Reading.” I showed her the cover.

She made a face.

“How much do you know about what’s going on?”

I shrugged.

“Okay. I’m going to tell you what it’s all about.”

I closed the magazine.

“A young woman was dumb and slept with the President. She kept a bowl of condoms by her bed. I don’t know what she was thinking. He was dumb. They were dumb. They fooled around and did some things with a cigar. There was a dress with a stain on it. Then he lied about it. Now it’s getting blown up by a punitive asshole named Kenneth Starr.”

I stared at her, trying to find a good reply. She had hit most of the points I was curious about, except:

“Are they going to impeach him?”

She snorted.  “No.”

I nodded, relieved.

“He was a good President. He was just an idiot.”

Later, I searched through tiny clear drawers for a pin from years back. I found it: a large square, smooth and shiny, showing Bill Clinton playing a saxophone on a red, white and blue background. It was from his 1992 election. Blow Bill Blow, it said along the bottom.

I picked it up, looked at the trash can by my desk.

“He was a good President. He was just an idiot.”

I propped the pin on my dresser, close to the front.



One Comment

You were Bill’s biggest campaign supporter. You wore that pin on your denim jacket when you were young… xo

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