Seeking the Republican presidential nomination has turned out to be a lot more fun than I’d expected. Like most people, I enjoy attention. Unlike most people, I have an implacable pathological appetite for it, so I hugely enjoyed spending the day on the phone yesterday with the media, though the Fox News intern who seemed to be intent on proving my candidacy a sham wasn’t much fun. When it turned out she’d heard of my having recently volunteered to do graphic design for the Bernie Sanders, I thought my goose was cooked, but it turned out that I am able to think quickly on my feet, and told her that I’m hoping the Democrats will nominate Bernie because he’ll be so easy for us Republicans to beat. She speculated pointedly that my avid advocacy for what I call alternative heterosexuality, but which many people call sickening perverted kinky sex, might doom my candidacy, but I asserted that we Republicans (I managed not to giggle as those words tumbled from my lovely sensual lips) need to think in terms of greater inclusiveness if we intend to keep pace with the Dems, who eagerly embrace deviance in every form.
Our conversation turned out to be the most beneficial of the day for me, as, when she asked at the end whom she should contact with any further questions, I invited her just to call me. She said, off the record, that if my candidacy were indeed serious, I would need a staff of aides, advisors, and acolytes. I guess the tone in which I assured her I was in the process of recruiting exactly such a coterie made clear that I hadn’t a clue as to how to do so, and she gave me the phone number of a former sorority sister of hers, Tiffani, whom I might want to consider for my chief of staff.
Tiffani turned out to be the sort of person who hasn’t been out of college long enough to stop using totally twice in every sentence, but seemed to share my vision for America’s future, and needed a job, her internship at Goldman not having resulted in a job offer. I said I wouldn’t be able to pay her until after this coming weekend’s big bake sales in Mason City, Iowa, and Columbus, Ohio. She said her intuition was that I was good for it, and arranged for me to make my first public appearance as a candidate, at the opening of the new 99 Cents Only store on La Tijera Blvd. in Westchester, as the unremarkable little community just north of LAX confusingly calls itself. I composed a short speech on the way over in spite of the fact that my Uber driver kept wanting to sell me toot, and wouldn’t take no for an answer.
There were maybe 25 people gathered in front of the new store, which was a supermarket back when I was growing up (to whatever small extent I may be said to have grown up) in nearby Playa del Rey. None applauded and a couple groaned when the store manager, a Mr. Sandoval, introduced me in his semi-penetrable Central American accent. He didn’t seem delighted with my noting that the popularity of the 99 Cents Only, uh, concept confirms that the middle class is disappearing, or with my saying that one of the principal missions of my presidency will be to ensure that all Americans be able to spend $7.99 on the same earbuds for which he’s charging 99 cents.
As I was speaking, Tiffani persuaded someone in the audience to agree to take a couple of photos of me with his cellphone, and a young Latina with a baby for me to be seen kissing. My fretting aloud that such a photograph might alienate persons in the border states — Texas, North Dakota, Vermont, and so on — made Tiffani whoop softly with pleasure. “Now you’re starting to think like a real candidate,” she said, and I wondered if something very precious had died within me.