Anatomy of a Column
eggy Noonan was waiting in the hospital to visit Dick Cheney, watching all the interesting people rushing past, receptionists filing papers, and deliveries of flowers and reports. It was a maelström of activity. She kicked off her well-worn loafers and wiggled her toes in the mechanically-cooled air. Bliss!
Richard Cheney–who didn’t like being a Richard, he preferred being a Dick–had gone in for heart surgery, again, and again, she was waiting to visit her old friend. They had served together in the Bush 1 White House, and had bonded over speeches and happy hours. “When he’s gone, there will never be another Dick like him,” she thought.
Noonan noted that Dick was the last of his kind, though not the last of his generation. “A serious man, a man who thinks deep thoughts, a battered veteran of life who’s absorbed its facts and lived to tell the tale,” she said to herself.
Looking about, to see if she was being watched, she pulled out of her purse (Dooney & Burke, so cunning, so chic) her First Aid Kit, the amusing name she had given to her hip flask, and took a quick swig.
“We live in a nation—a world—badly in need of adult supervision,” she mused as she put away the flask, “And we are not going to get it from that horrible man who is sitting in Ronnie’s chair,” she grimaced.
“The president is young, too young, at 48. Clinton was immature, too at 46. Kennedy was 43. There ought to be a law. Then again, George W. Bush was 54, and he was hardly mature either.” She reached for the First Aid Kit again.
When the attendant told her that Cheney was able to see her, she wobbled into the elevator and up to his room. The machines, so efficient, so cold and efficient, were clicking and buzzing. One machine made an interesting beep noise now and again and something else made a sucking noise, like the one Ross Perot said was taking Middle America’s jobs away. There was her friend, her Dick, sitting up in bed looking bright-eyed and none the worse for his surgery.
“Good to see you Peggy,” he growled at her.
“Good to see you, too,” she hissed back. They both laughed at the insider joke of their public images.
The beeping machine went silent, and she saw the line go flat. “Should I call the nurse, Dick?” Her little bird-like hands fluttered up to her ever-present pearls, a gift from Ronald Wilson Reagan, the greatest president of the last half of the last century, maybe the greatest president ever.
“Naw, I don’t have a pulse anymore. I don’t know why they have me hooked up to that fucking machine. Some fucker is making a fucking buck off of that. Good thing the US of A is paying for this, I sure as hell won’t!” he roared with laughter, and Noonan joined him.
Noonan glared at Cheney, and said, “A-hem…” and suddenly he made a kind gesture to his old friend.
“Where are my manners, Peggy?,” he said as he offered his pill tray to her.
(Hello Crooks, Hi Liars! Welcome to MPS, it is good to have you with us.)