Thursday, January 08, 2009

You have to lapse into a kind of death when you become president. You've gone abstract; you've become an idea. You can no longer live in your house or cook for yourself or drive a car or go to the movies or sit in an airport bar drinking bloody marys. You can no longer send or receive e-mail either, evidently - is there any surer sign that what I say is true? E-mailing in 2009 is akin to inhaling and exhaling the air. When you're not allowed to do it any longer, you know you've reached a different place. It could be a nursing home, where your few remaining days will consist of being administered medications, drifting about in your wheelchair in a baby-blue bathrobe, eating soft, bland foods, and watching television in a common room. It could be prison, where life consists of reading, lifting weights, and parrying the efforts of rapists by periodically exploding with brazen, heedless rage. Or it could be the presidency of the United States. How could such a person be a person, when you think about it? I believe any presidential acceptance speech, any inauguration, must be tinged with this: the solemn aura of the condemned man, the designated one, the sacrificial lamb.