Where the only water flowing is the butter sting of tears

It seems to me there are certain ways of understanding things. This is a fact of life, I think. You can look at something a certain way, but then it seems as if there’s always another way to look at it. Know what I mean? Like you could walk around behind something and it would no longer look the same. As I grew older I became aware of this weird effect – and then I became obsessed with it. Everywhere I went I would see something, but then I would immediately think: What if I looked at it another way? What if I saw it from the alley, or the side street? What if I saw it from the rooftop of a big building? I always thought: I bet it would look different.

Every year, in the week between Christmas and New Year’s, I think about George W. Bush.

It was in that week each year for the eight years I covered him as a reporter that he gave me a spectacular gift — and he knew it.

A spectacular gift. I would wake up early every Christmas morning, and yawn a charming kitty-yawn with fey but alarming authenticity, then I’d peek out the second floor window of my Tudor TV-mansion. And down below me, every year, I would see in my driveway: The Global War On Terror. Wrapped entirely in an over-sized red bow. And I would excitedly put my hands to the sides of my head, as if I’d just then gotten the mumps, and I’d cry out “WAR CRIMES!” Oh I piddled on more than one set of Walker Texas Ranger pajamas, I can tell you.

In December, we never left Washington, D.C., until the day after Christmas. Never. Mr. Bush and his wife, Laura, would always depart the White House a few days before the holiday and hunker down at Camp David, the presidential retreat in Maryland. After a few years, I asked a low-level White House staffer why.

I still remember what she said: “So all of us can be with our families on Christmas.”

…and so it was, that god-damn ole’ George W. Bush. Sniff, did all of it. Sob, just for me. Such a softhearted son of a bitch. Mother Teresa herself could compile a list of his mercies and graces, but I can remember every one. 9/11? Sniff. Iraq? Sob. Torture? Choke, gasp, beg for your now-useless life. And let’s not mention all those ersatz pool reporters posted overseas and carrying M16s instead of pens across eight Decembers, getting shot at or dismembered during one Infidelmas after another. No point in spitting on a soggy Hallmark Card.

All that has changed with President Obama. No more press plane, for one. Reporters are on their own — so taking family is, say, $1,000 a pop. Not likely. And this president would never delay his trip to his island getaway. He’s off every year well before Christmas. Hundreds and hundreds head off with him, leaving family behind.

No Christmas at home. Instead, the Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort. Nice, but not exactly home.

Is this Washington Times guy slagging the President for flying away to his own home rather than to the reporter’s? Yes. He certainly is, and let’s let that just sink in. Mmmmmmm. That’s some delicious wingnut.

Anyway, that’s why I think of George W. Bush every year in the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Probably will till I die. Thanks, GWB.

Quelle surprise. Come Christmas time, he didn’t act anything like the Cadaver King. What a guy.