On Dreams and Jobs
I’d like to say I’m a realist, but I’m not sure that’s true. As a wannabe realist, I’m in the habit of reflecting on what I think is the perfect job. I’ve had several ideas, but usually people don’t want to pay me for what I want to do, which is mostly sit around and think, or they don’t want to pay me what I’m worth. In spite of all that, there are some possibilities.
My first choice was to be a kept man, but the prospects were…umm…limited (read: not going to happen), so I’ve had to come up with other ideas. After much consideration, I came up with the perfect dream job: Vice President. Think of the benefits: I’d get paid almost as much as the President, I’d have my own plane, a car and a driver, and a really cool house. It’s not the White House, but on the other hand very few people want to go through it on a tour and most people don’t even know where it is—a definite plus.
I know it’s not a fancy position, and historically it’s received its share of criticism. John Adams, the first Vice President, called it “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.” Thomas R. Marshall, the 28th Vice President, had his own opinion: “Once there were two brothers. One ran away to sea; the other was elected Vice President of the United States. And nothing was heard of either of them again.” Even with the criticism, though, I’m in.
Think about the actual job the Vice President does. He presides over the Senate on that really high bench seat, and he only has to share it with other people sometimes; otherwise, it’s all his. When there is something going on, like the State of the Union address, all he has to do is smile and stand up and clap. I can do that. There is one drawback; the VP is front and center, sitting behind the President, so I couldn’t make faces, or roll my eyes, or groan over what was being said, but I can handle that. For a while, I thought it also might be a fun to be the guy who shouts: “LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES,” when the big man—or woman—walks in, but I don’t know what he has to do the rest of the year, and I don’t even want to imagine the sore throat he must have after all of that shouting.
The other thing the Vice President does is attend state functions—weddings, funerals, coronations, stuff like that. I’m sure he gets a really good seat, and who wouldn’t want to go to a wedding for some royal personage—I even know the lingo—or, for that matter, a funeral? I’d be great at the sitting-there-looking-official part. What else is there…smile, shake hands, or bow? I’m sure my wife Kathi would love to join me in the traveling.
I almost changed my mind on the Vice President thing recently. It sounded like a great gig, until Dick Cheney nearly ruined it all by getting involved. Apparently, no one told him he was kind of like the understudy: show up and shut up, until they need you for something. It doesn’t mean other VPs would have to follow in his footsteps, but it’s very possible the expectations have changed. Oh, one last thing, I’d be the tie-breaker. When the Senate is tied, the VP gets to cast his vote. I can do that. Other than that, the VP doesn’t even have to go to cabinet meetings.
The part I don’t like is actually having to campaign. I decided I’d rather be one of those appointed Vice Presidents; maybe a small scandal in the newly elected administration, and I could be ready to step in. I’m not sure what all of the requirements are, but I’d imagine a couple of good suits, several red or blue ties, some white shirts, maybe a tuxedo and, above all, a good haircut. I know the VP doesn’t always have a good haircut—Mr. Cheney comes to mind again—but it’s probably best to have the good haircut. It’s not like I’d be too busy doing other things. Once clapping practice was over, and I’d practiced smiling and looking bereaved into a mirror for a while, I’d have plenty of time to get my hair cut.
I was actually hoping to be Hillary Clinton’s VP. What a kick, huh? Since that didn’t happen, I’m waiting for Joe Biden to say or do something stupid. I mean r-e-a-l-l-y stupid, not just run-of-the-mill stupid, and I’m there.