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Tony Kornheiser

In Search of a Qualified Strongman to Drag Politicians From the Stage

August 23, 2000|Tony Kornheiser

My friend Danny called me during the Republican convention. He told me he'd been watching politicians speak for four days (it only seemed like four months) and it was so numbingly boring he felt the only rational response was to smash his head through a plate glass window. I felt that was extreme.

Last week I watched the Democratic convention, and found it even more boring than the Republicans'. So I called Danny to get his take on it. Danny's wife said he couldn't talk; he'd just left in an ambulance, and was probably going to need at least 200 stitches.

Oh, come on, I'm joking.

Nobody would actually smash his head through a plate glass window rather than listen to Al "Al" Gore speak. The art of dubbing has come so far that Gore's mouth is now moving virtually in time with the words you hear. Hardly anyone thinks Gore's made out of wood anymore. Most people think it's some sort of a resin compound.

And Joe Lieberman! Joey, sweetie, stop, you're killing me with all your funny lines. That line about how you haven't seen such acting in Philadelphia since Tom Hanks! I plotzed! Who wrote that one, Morty Gunty? Joey, I know you believe you were a huge hit, because the crowd chanted, "Go, Joe, go!" But did you ever think they just wanted you off the stage? Having watched all the speakers, the most presidential-looking fellow on the podium was from Harvard, all right. But it wasn't Al Gore, it was Gore's college roommate, Tommy Lee Jones. I'd vote for him in a heartbeat.

You know what really bugs me about political conventions? It's the long-winded speeches by all these gasbags who don't understand that you get 15 minutes of fame, not 30 or 45. They brag about their accomplishments and chronicle the influences in their lives--like anyone gives a rat's patootie. Then they bore us to tears with histories of their family members; like maybe their daughter is looking at colleges, or their son plays golf. Then they go off on some tangent, perhaps about some piddling thing that happened to them the other day, like we don't have our own problems. The narcissism and conceit of these windbags, to think their lives are so important we have to hear about them!

So anyway, this week, Karril, Elizabeth, Michael and I were in Florida. Karril was getting a pedicure, and Elizabeth wanted someone to take her to Target to shop for CDs, I think. (I'm not sure; I could ask her and write about it next week.) And Michael and I were playing golf.

Golf is a bargain during the summer in Florida. Not only is it much cheaper to play there now (because only an imbecile would actually be in Florida during the summer), but you can get a cheaper rate as the day wears on. This is because every afternoon, starting around 3 p.m., thunder and lightning blow in, and the sky gets the color of gunmetal, and it rains so hard that you can scuba dive in the fairways. The good news is 18 holes of golf are very affordable in Florida now. The bad news is you'll only play four holes, and then you'll have to row in.

So Michael and I were playing as a twosome, and a single playing behind us caught up to us on No. 7, and we invited him to play with us. He was a big guy and powerfully built, at least 6-foot-3 and 235 pounds, with a shaved head, a menacing red goatee and a lion tattooed on his leg. I wasn't sure if he was the kind of guy who would kill us and eat us--or just kill us. To my great delight (and relief), Tom turned out to be a sweetheart, and a pleasure to play with.

So now with Tom we were a threesome, and there was a twosome on our tails. We were moving at a good clip, but they kept pressing us. On No. 10 they hit drives into us--the shots landed within 10 yards of me while I was hitting my second shot. On No. 11 they did it again, like warning shots across our bow.

It's very bad form to hit into people. Normally, I wouldn't do anything in response, because Michael is 14 and I am fat, bald, old and allergic to being punched in the head. But normally I'm not playing with Tom.

"How many more times do you think they'll hit into us?" I asked Tom.

"I'll go have a word with them," Tom said, driving his golf cart toward them.

I don't know what that word was, but I'll bet it was a doozy. Not only didn't they hit into us again--we never saw them again. I hadn't seen anyone disappear quite so fast since Laraine Newman.

I wonder how much Tom would charge to make the Democrats and Republicans disappear too.

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