Anatomy of a Column
eggy Noonan buzzed the door to Aviary II (her cunning nickname for her Penthouse, so vast, so chic) to let in the Amazon Fresh delivery of a case of pineapples. “A storm,” she had murmurred to herself while placing the order, “is coming and we need fresh supplies to make it through winter. Or the weekend”
Also, she wanted to talk to an Amazon expert, and who better than the delivery person. “On the ground reporting,” she thought, “Rupert will be so pleased.”
Noonan opened the door and ushered in the young man. “Where do you want it, lady?”
Directing him to the wet bar that occupied the entire north wall, Noonan began interviewing the sub-sub-contractor:
“I think the wild and rising progressive left made a big mistake by driving Amazon out of New York City, what say you?”
The pineapples in place, he stared at Noonan for a second and said that he had to do 50 other deliveries today or lose the contract and be fired and closed the door behind him.
Preparing some refreshment and reaching for the necessary and varied potions and unguents, Noonan noted to herself that the issues that forced Amazon out of the Big Pineapple, er Apple, were tax breaks and unions.
“Should corporations, especially big, megarich ones, be given tax benefits for locating in a city or state?,” she asked the cutout of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the greatest president of the last half of the last century, while opening a fresh bottle of Bacardi and pouring it into the husk of the newly emptied and awaiting pineapple. She could swear she saw Ronnie’s eyes twinkling, and felt a warm glow. She took the first sip. Her hand fluttered up to the pearl necklace, a gift from the great man himself. The glow spread all over. She blushed.
“No, actually. They should come in simply as grateful and eager new citizens, especially in a place like New York, since there’s nothing like us,” she said looking out the window at the vast and majestic skyline of Manhattan. “Big mistake, Amazon!,” she blurted.
“But what about the unions,” she said to the potted palm near the bar. It seemed to sway in the tropical breeze, or it could be that she was leaning against it for support as she slid to the floor.
“Amazon was knocked,” she whispered to Ronnie, “because it wouldn’t promise to unionize.”
Reagan smile beatifically at her, and reminded her that he was twice elected President of the Screen Actors Guild—the labor union for actors—where he worked to root out Commies.
Noonan put down the drained pineapple, and pulling the little paper parasol out from between her teeth (how had it gotten lodged there would remain a mystery, like the Sphynx, for all eternity she mused) and stared at Ronnie.
“I favor private unions: A certain claimed equality, a certain balance between a huge company’s management and the working man or woman, is not the worst thing in the world. And people more than ever need to belong to something.”
Noonan reached for a fresh pineapple, and grabbed her garage door opener and began to dictate her weekly column, “Welcome to New York Amazon, Now Go Home…”
(New Readers: The Further Adventures of Peggy Noonan is a sometimes feature (of the past 10-plus years!) where we parody the much-quoted Reagan hagiographer Peggy Noonan to try to understand the genesis of her Declarations column in the WSJ. We do not know if Noonan ever wedged a parasol in her teeth, but to paraphrase the Great Writer herself, “Is it irresponsible to speculate? It would be irresponsible not to.” – Bacardi Lifetime Achievement Winner, Peggy Noonan, Wall St. Journal, April 2000.)