I don’t know what I was thinking, but I messed up. Big time. When I was choosing a career, I debated between social work, music therapy, and occupational therapy. I wanted to work in one of the helping professions because I, ya know, wanted to help people. I’m not trying to show off or anything. I’m just that type. But there were so many fields I didn’t consider; some weren’t even on my radar screen. But now it’s clear to me that I sold myself short. I realize I should have set my sights way higher. I should have aimed to become the President of the United States. Yes, that’s right, the President of the good old U.S. of A. President Joe Biden’s visit to Israel last week made me realize just how badly I missed my calling.
If I were the President of the US, the shortage of manpower in the aviation industry due to corona, strikes, and whatever else people would like to blame on me, would not affect me in the slightest. I would not have had to arrive at Ben Gurion Airport five hours before the scheduled departure of my flight, as I did when I recently flew abroad. I would not have debated between taking a suitcase filled with kosher food and possibly losing our luggage or trying to squeeze a week’s worth of clothes into a 22x14x9 inch carry-on and possibly starving. There would be no more passing through security and buzzing every time because I forget to take off my barrette. I would fly in $3.2 billion Air Force One with its comfortable beds and fancy conference table, 85 phone lines, 19 TVs, gourmet food (I’m sure I’d be able to arrange for a kosher menu), and a medical facility that includes a pull-down operating table and fully stocked pharmacy. I would skip the stock of jelly beans that Ronald Reagan kept onboard as well as Gerald Ford’s beer collection, but maybe I would stock up on Ben & Jerry’s chocolate ice cream. I wouldn’t practice playing golf while flying as Reagan did, but maybe I would install a baby grand piano so I could play some Dveykus in between meetings. Ok, so maybe I would have to skip duty-free, but I can live with that. I would get rid of that ugly red carpet and replace it with a pretty shade of turquoise. The only downside would be that I would feel bad that you, the taxpayer, would have to shell out $206,337 per hour for my use of this flying White House. But I would get all of this for free!! Doesn’t that sound amazing?
If I were president, the only traffic that I would know about would be the traffic that I caused. I would feel bad for my poor citizens who would be stuck sitting bumper to bumper, as was the case when Biden was here, while I would be chauffeured along closed-off, empty highways. And parking? That word would not even exist in my lexicon. While my dedicated staff would take up every parking spot in the country, it would not matter to me because I would always be driven right up to the door of every venue. I can visualize myself on Chol HaMoed, skipping the herd experience walking through the Old City, and being driven right up to the Kotel Wall.
I imagine myself as a guest at the King David Hotel, sitting with dignitaries on comfortable leather chairs at long mahogany tables, and sleeping in those luxurious king-sized beds with super-plush pillows and fluffy blankets. I can smell the flavors of a large selection of coffee pods that I’d be able to choose from whenever I would feel like having a cappuccino. This is in stark contrast to the office of my most recent social work job. We had an ancient jar of instant coffee, but never any milk. Not enough coffee drinkers to justify buying a container of milk, or even a bag. Even though we had enough noses, tissues were not in the budget as well. I’m sure there are lots of tissues in the White House, probably the extra-soft kind that’s gentle on the nose. And all this would be for free!!
I would be known as the “Benevolent President” because I would be kind to my citizens and also because “Benevolent President” is a catchy title and I love catchy titles, especially ones that rhyme. Had I been the president, my grandmother a”h would have shepped an inordinate amount of nachas. She would’ve tried her hardest not to brag, but she would have been unable to help herself and would have introduced me to everyone she met as “my granddaughter, the president,” just as she used to introduce me with pride to everyone who passed by as “my granddaughter, the social worker.” (As an aside, my grandmother lived in Trump Village in Brighton and Donald Trump fixed her commode many years ago when he was helping his father out one summer. Yes, this is the truth.)
Look, I’m not in la-la land. I realize that being a president is not all about fun and glory. Presidents have to work hard sometimes. They have to issue executive orders, run cabinet meetings, and sign treaties. They may have to put in long hours and even work weekends. But it’s so worth it. Besides having veto power and the ability to pardon, life as a president is a series of perks. And if I were President of the United States for even one term, I would acquire a lifetime’s worth of material for my column. And for the icing on the cake, you, my readers, would have an open invitation to the White House for coffee and tissues. Exciting, no?
I was thinking. Maybe it’s not too late to rectify my mistake. I was beginning to strategize exactly where and when to hit the campaign trail. But then President Biden left and things returned to normal here, as did my perspective. I realize that I issue plenty of executive orders in my off-white house made of Yerushalmi stone. I have veto power and meet often with my kitchen cabinets. I am driven crazy by the motivation to raise my family the best way I can and I can park myself wherever I please in my home. We have plenty of tissues and delicious food and are currently in the market for a cappuccino machine. Hmmm. Maybe I didn’t make a mistake after all.