Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Lunch With Lyndon


I was sitting at my desk late this morning, trying to decide when to take lunch, when an unexpected visitor sat down and peered at me with a look of consternation.

May I help you?” I asked him. He leaned forward and extended a long arm to shake my hand.

Johnson,” he said. “Lyndon Baines Johnson.”

Well, your parents must have had a different sense of humor,” I began, then I stopped. Johnson was staring back at me with a perfectly straight face. A very familiar face…

Hey, you look just like him.” I muttered, less than brilliantly.

Ah ought to” muttered the man, “even after being dead for a few years.”

Yeah”, was all I could think to say at first. “So, why are you here?”

Lunch, mostly”, replied LBJ, “and to set the record straight on you lambasting mah poor party like you are. And any chance to come back to Texas is as close to Heaven as a poor bastard like me is like to see.

By the way, you got some purple ink all over your finger there. You might want to wash up before we eat.”

Oh, that’s to celebrate the Iraqi voter and show solidarity,” I explained. “And your “poor party” is doing itself no favors, I’m sure you know.”

Huh,” snorted Johnson, “In mah day we didn’t go painting ourselves up to show we’d voted, we picked our man and made sure we got him elected. Ah must’ve voted five, six times myself in some elections.

But yeah, that Dean fella is some kind of freak, yah got me there. And his crowd is no better. Harry S. says he’s got some choice words waiting for them.”

Harry Truman’s in hell?” I asked.

Naw, but he comes by to visit us time and again. Also, he likes to make sure Tojo is getting the full trip he earned.

But enough gab for now, let’s go eat!”

So we set out for Luther’s to get some barbeque.

After we’d eaten a fair portion of flank steak and sausage, I asked LBJ what he was doing, walking around topside.

Well,” he shrugged, “to be honest Ah’ve been roasting in hell, but they let me out every so often for a number of reasons. First off and mainly, Ah’m good to dogs –“

Wait a minute,” I interrupted, “I remember you used to pull your old hound up by her ears-“

Yes, and she liked it,” retorted Johnson. “Now stop interrupting me, it’s not polite.”

Sorry,” I said, and LBJ continued.

Ah also had to get out of there for a little bit, because Tookie’s arriving today, and all the gang-bangers are going absolutely crazy. The Crips and the Al Qaeda are having a big cookout to celebrate.”

Say, that reminds me.” I said. “You seen Osama bin Laden down there? Folks up here would like to know if he’s dead yet.”

Sorry,” replied Johnson. “Ah’m not supposed to let you know things you haven’t already figured out for yourself, but Ah will say that it is not wise to hide in caves when the Yew-Essay has bombs that collapse caverns.

But listen heah,” continued Johnson, as he stuffed more beef and sauce into his mouth, “Ah’m a reasonable man and I know ya’ll gots to have your hobbies, but what do ya’ll blahggers mean by tearing up my beloved Democratic Party?”

Well, we didn’t start it,” I explained. “You ever hear of Dan Rather?”

Fine man, fine man,” nodded Johnson.

Debatable claim,” I retorted, “You may have heard that Rather and CBS tried to sway the last Presidential election? We caught them, and proved they were liars and frauds.”

You ever heah of Waltah Cronkite?” countered Johnson. “Damn, we were winning in Viet Nam, until Unka Waltah said we couldn’t win. No way I could win re-election after that.”

Uhhh, and Senator McCarthy?” I ventured.

Shaddup” muttered LBJ.

We ate in silence for a little while, then Johnson spoke again.

Ya’ll know you have it easy with your boy Dubya in the Oval Office. Ah’d be careful about assuming it will be that easy later on.”

I agree we’ll have a harder time with someone else after Bush,” I agreed, “but you have to admit the Left has not cooperated with him at all.”

Johnson chuckled.

Take a look at History son, and you’ll see the Left wasn’t all too kind to me, or the Rehpublicans either. Ah’ll tell yah son, it’s a breeze being a Righty President with a Righty Congress, not near the same thing being a Democrat President with a so-called Democrat Congress.”

Curious, I asked LBJ to elaborate.

Well hell son, I took a landslide into 1965, got damn near everyone in Congress to sign onto the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, and by 1967 I still couldn’t get those bastards to keep their word. At least over on the Right, you have a few straight shooters you can trust.”

And the 'Great Society'?” I asked.

Johnson stopped, and put down his fork.

Look son, I screwed up there, I know that now. But I was trying to do the right thing, and don’t yew doubt for a minute it was an easy job.

“By the way, I’ve been watching your little blogging articles, and Ah’ve read what yew think of me as President. Screw yew! Until yew’ve been in mah shoes for a month, yew don’t have the first idea what kind of slahmballs and con artists you have to get past to make anything happen. It was a different time, and if Ah have to speak on mah own behalf, Ah will insist on pointing out Ah didn’t make any deals with Communists or Preverts

Except Hoover”, I couldn’t resist adding.

Johnson made a face.

Ah swear I nevah knew he was into that stuff!”

Just then, a tall man in a FUBU sweatsuit, with a familiar face and an unruly pile of hair stepped in, looked around, and approached us.

Lyndon? It’s time to go back,” he said, ignoring me. Johnson stared at the man with clear disdain.

Andy, where in the hell did you get the idea this was a good look for you?” demanded Johnson. The face clicked in my mind.

Andrew Jackson?” I asked the tall man standing by us.

Fer Shizzle” quipped President Jackson. Johnson groaned.

1 comment:

Ontario Emperor said...

Sometimes you have to wonder if there were any powerful people who actually LIKED Johnson. The Republicans weren't hot on him because of the Great Society, Congress wasn't hot on him because of Vietnam, and Camelot thought he was Jed Clampett.

One thing that you CAN say about Johnson - in my view, he was one of our stronger Vice Presidents, someone who was clearly ready to assume power if the unthinkable happened. Most of the subsequent Vice Presidents, although not (except for Ford) called upon to succeed a President, probably would have done well if called upon. Cheney and Gore, while not necessarily the most inspiring people, are certainly knowledgeable. I'm in the minority who thinks that Quayle would have done OK. George HW Bush obviously would have done well, and Mondale would have been competent. Rockefeller had executive experience. Humphrey didn't, but he probably would have been OK in the end. My one huge question mark is Agnew; I just cannot picture the man serving as President.