BE honest, don't we all want to be US president?
It seems like a good life. For the last year, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney have been running down airplane steps then up on to little stages, beaming and waving and saying: "People of Wisconsin/Cincinnati/Tulsa -" while a band starts up with The Star-Spangled Banner and there's a shower of tickertape, and cheerleaders with unnaturally white teeth and great candy-floss pom-poms, and a crash of cymbals and an explosion of brass - You feel a kind of national pride just thinking about it – and you live in Dundee.
Even the police arresting a lone figure on top of a warehouse over the way does nothing to dampen the scene. A man arrives next to the officers and approaches the suspect, hand outstretched. "Hi. Oliver Stone. Can I just check: are you allied to any Government-funded body like the CIA or Pentagon? Or are you just a lone nutter? Sign this anyway – it's a release form for the movie."
Seriously, how hard can the job be? There must be all kinds of help. Surely, hidden in the trees behind the White House, is a series of different airplane steps, donated by various airlines, for the president to practise those arrivals and departures. "Honey, I'm flying United today," he grins, grabbing a piece of toast as he heads out for a training session. "Mr President," says an aide. "We're going to try coming down two at a time today, OK? Makes you look more purposeful." The chipmunks who play on these at night snigger: they've put a banana skin on one of the steps.
People ask about the office politics, how you cope. Well, an affair with an intern? Is that so difficult? It's simply a case of preparing the family now; that way, the live TV apology to the nation will be a doddle.
So, tomorrow morning, you'll be up early. You'll part the curtains, softly singing: "Say can you see by the dawn's early light -" At breakfast you'll address the children: "Ask not what your family can do for you, but what you can do for your family." Gesturing to the window, you'll add: "This land is your land, children, from the Redwood Forest to the Gulf Stream waters -" Then, wearily, your partner asks: "So, Mr 'President'," – this last said with two hands making inverted commas. "Will you be in for tea?"
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