Jan. 21, 2009
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I’m Art Kumbalek and man oh manischewitz what a world, ain’a? So listen, right now I’m paying some attention to the presidential inauguration hoopla on TV ’cause it’s my duty as a responsible journalist to know what’s up at all times, and besides what else is there to watch? There are no basketball games going on this early in the day, what the fock.

And all I can wish our new president is this: “Good luck, buddy.” As an ongoing candidate for the office myself, I can see it really wasn’t in the cards this time for me to be the man in D.C. with his hand on the Bible come Jan. 20. No sir, there’s a trend going on. Our last four presidents have been southpaws I hear, and when it comes to slinging the bullshit, I toss from the north side. Yes sir, righties in every which way do not wear the cat’s pajamas these days, I kid you not. God bless America.

Anyways, since it’s now Tuesday afternoon and this newspaper hits the streets tomorrow, I got to whip this essay out pronto before deadline’s grim reaper comes swinging his scythe, which technically is in about a New York minute.

As I watched the president-elect descend the steps to the inaugural stage, I felt that I had been transported into some kind of fantasy world. This can’t be happening. I expected the outgoing vice president to suddenly display his favorite shotgun, pull the trigger and send our soon-to-be leader to the next world, then declare martial law, claim the presidency for himself and commence nuclear bombing the bejesus out of the so-called Middle East, not to mention Red China and North focking Korea.

But that didn’t happen. And I figure the reason is that ex-vice president Dead-eye Dick Cheney figured he could make more dough in the movies rather than as renegade U.S. president. This time he may be right about something. Who wouldn’t go to see the next Batman movie if it featured Mr. Cheney as the Caped Crusader’s nemesis, The Penguin? Hey, you tell me.

And then I’ll tell you that I saw Mr. Obama sworn in as our 44th president, and I thought perhaps there’s hope yet to be had for our country, knowing that the last historic African- American mile-stoner to bear that number was Henry Aaron, god bless America. I’ll tell you’s, it was quite a moment. I never ever thought I’d see the day when a person born west of California would become president of the United States.

An amazing experience for me it was, especially when the TV camera rested upon the face of a VIP personage during and after the ceremonies and I acquired the super power to see through their eyes and hear their inner thoughts:

George W. Bush: I hope this fella keeps his words short and doesn’t go all Southern Baptist preacher on us. It’s almost lunchtime for Christ sakes.

Bill Clinton: That Michelle Obama, mmmmmm. Somebody take my temperature, I just might have me a case of jungle fever.

Barbara Bush: I can’t believe “those” people are going to sully my White House. That house now rightfully belongs to my son Jeb. And just look at the outfit that uppity Negro woman’s wearing. Good lord. How did she ever dig up the carpet my wimp-ass husband and I had in the living room of our Houston mansion back in the ’70s?

Hillary: All right, mister. You may have a brain, a heart and courage, but I’ll get you my pretty, and your new little dog, too. Count on it. “Yes we can,” give me a break. My crystal ball says, “One and done.” And then it’s Hillary time, what a world.

And then when Barack Obama was officially declared president and they had a lady come up to read a poem, I heard Dick Cheney think: Poem? Hey, I got your poem right here: There once was a terrorist from Nantucket… Fuck this. Poetry’s for fags. Where’s my shotgun when I need it.

After the ceremony, the TV showed George W. Bush getting into a helicopter so as to finally leave the nation’s capital, god bless America. And just after waving goodbye to the assembled, I heard him think: Hoo-wee, glad that’s all over. Eight years, goddamn. The first thing I’m going to do when I get back to Crawford is stir me up one big ol’ fat ol’ mar-focking-tini. The leash is off, baby, god bless America.”

And as Bush baby’s helicopter ascended, I heard myself thinking: You focker. You focking focker. You did not appreciate the responsibility handed to you by the people when “elected” president. Yeah, you, Mr. Big-Time Compassionate Christian. If I ever see you later, it’ll be too soon, knobshine. But thanks anyways, yeah, thanks for nothing. Abso-focking-lutely nothing.

And as I watch our new president and first lady walk up Pennsylvania Avenue this afternoon, I figure here’s to be the point in the essay where I go over the top, what the fock. So speaking of poetry, time to paraphrase a bit of The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus ’cause I may have heard the president-elect think this during the inaugural invocation:

Give me our tired, our poor,
Our focked-with masses yearning to earn an honest paycheck,
The tragic refuse of our educational system.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
And I will lift my lamp beside the golden door!

And that would be a good thing, ’cause I’m Art Kumbalek and I told you so.


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