And I’m sitting right by the phone. Day and night. Waiting for my call. I figure it’s about my turn to be the next White House Chief of Staff.
As far as I can tell the job ain’t all that hard. You just have to stand in front of a few reporters, swear you don’t know anybody in Russia and, if a controversial subject comes up, point a finger at some fellow worker at the other end of the White House.
This administration has put more people to work than Franklin D. Roosevelt with all his W.P.A. and C.C.C. programs combined. I’m not buying a house in Washington you understand. I’m only going to have this job for three weeks……then it might be your turn!
If any of ya’ll per chance dropped by the Halloween Carnival at the McKenzie High School auditorium back in the late 1950’s, I’m sure you remember the musical chairs. That’s kinda what I’m talking about here. Miss Clara Dishman would play “Buttons and Bows” and we’d move around those chairs, not knowing when the music would stop and if we were going to be out of a seat or not.
I never was sure if it took an over abundance of skill, intelligence and keen observation to find an empty chair…….or you just needed to be doghouse lucky. I’ve had plenty of practice at being the first one out. I figure that’s qualification enough for a simple government job.
And this “let everybody have a chance at it” job proposition is nothing new. I saw it first hand picking cotton in West Tennessee as a lad. We’d start to school around the middle of August, attend classes till over in September, and then get out for two weeks to pick cotton.
The first day Mr. Brooks had people crawling all over his fields. He paid a penny a pound and he expected you to pick from can to can’t (that’s all day for our New York readers). Of course, it was Indian summer……and that meant the leftover August heat was beating down on us like a roasting oven. It was backbreaking work. And sometimes the cotton didn’t want to come out of that boll!
I took note the second day there wasn’t but about half as many showed up to work. Picking cotton had a way of separating the desperate from the just needy. I don’t know how many made it back for the third day.
But I can guarantee you picking cotton set the national trend for the “revolving door” job market.
And it wasn’t even the worst “rollover” position out there. The summer I turned sixteen I figured I was man enough to work at the Star Lumber Company. At sixteen you just naturally think you’re bullet proof, know everything and can do anything. Mr. Carden pointed me down to the green chain.
Listen folks, if pulling on a green chain for ten minutes was a requirement to run for office in this country, Washington, D. C. would be as empty as Mother Hubbard’s cupboard!
An outdated conveyor system at the lumber yard moved these giant hardwood trees toward a whining circular saw that was about the size of a hundred seat Martian flying saucer. Mr. Carden had a guy standing along a side rail as this mountain of timber approached the saw. In a split second this seasoned woodcutter sized up the correct way the tree needed to be turned to produce the most usable running board feet.
Two idiots, strategically positioned near either end of this behemoth log, pulled a giant chain into the wood and, at the direction of the expert, leaned their bodies across that tree and grunted, strained and pulled till the colossal mass of timber turned to the correct position to enter the saw. The green bark off that tree permeated your hair, eyes, ears, nose……and tattooed your chest for life!
Let me tell you, didn’t nobody pulling on that green chain have enough breath left to talk about muckraking or gerrymandering!
Nothing about this Chief of Staff position could be as tough as two days of picking cotton or the half morning I spent on the green chain!
That phone’s got to ring quickly. This federal “face of the week” fad might fade like Hula hoops, moon hubcaps, bouffant hairdos, pet rocks and Captain Midnight decoder rings……
I can’t wait to see how good my teeth look on TV. And at the rate this turnover train is rolling, they’re bound to call my number any day now. And you can help. If you have a suggestion as to which White House personnel I can throw under the bus, please pass it along. I’d hate to be the first Chief of Staff in history to look like I don’t know what I’m doing.