The Breakfast Table

A Send-Off for a Trash Pick-Up Event


I welcome your suggestion that I suck up to Don Imus, and plan to act on it without further delay. I actually do happen to be a fan, but if I hadn’t been a fan up to the present, I’d become one today quicker than you can blink. And fortunately, I can go beyond mere empty protestations of my enthusiasm, which Imus might find suspiciously convenient, coming as it does at a time when I want desperately to flog my book. In fact, thanks to Slate, my fanhood is a matter of public record.

In the Breakfast Table exchanges I shared with Lucianne Goldberg several decades ago–or so it seems–she offered the knee-jerk thought that I, as a liberal, probably never listen to Imus. And I was quick to inform her–I hope you’re paying attention, I-Man–that I’ve been a devoted listener for quite a long time, even though my wife is always trying to get me to turn the program off. So I’m glad now that Lucianne said what she did; it gave me the opportunity to establish an unchallengeable precedent. This bears a certain similarity to trying to get a medical deferment from your draft board back in the ‘60s. It helped to be able to demonstrate some sort of history of the incapacitating disease you were claiming as your very own. To develop the symptoms only after you were re-classified 1-A was regarded as inherently dubious.

So … (Here comes the suck-up) …You’re one entertaining guy, Mr. Imus. Your show makes me laugh out loud, even when I’m offended by it, which happens not infrequently. I’m willing to risk marital discord in order to go on listening to it. And I’ll buy anything you advertise. Tri-State Jeep and Eagle is my kind of place, and I adore the buffalo logo and the salsa and the Joseph Abboud shirts and robes and anything else you might have a financial interest in. And I’ll get around to buying an acre of your ranch eventually, providing my book sells well.

Phew! Can I get up off my knees now?

Anyway…the truth is, I haven’t got the heart to wade into more impeachment stuff today. I watched a little of the trial on TV while eating lunch, and found it generally unedifying. And you and I, while not perhaps in complete agreement, aren’t so far apart that I can find much to argue with in your most recent letter. It’s a sad spectacle, this whole business, a sad spectacle that would be redeemed only if they go ahead and indulge in the most salacious testimony they can elicit from every Jane Doe they can dredge (or is it Drudge?) up. And that ain’t gonna happen. Instead, we have this sorry, carefully-choreographed quadrille.

I’d much rather be listening to Imus. Are you paying attention, Don?

So let me instead share with you an interesting item from the front page of the San Francisco Chronicle (or the Newspaper of Record, as we Bay Area denizens like to think of it), written by staff writer Jaxon Van Derbeken. Here’s the first paragraph: “A stern Mayor Willie Brown joined a mysterious pig and an apple pie yesterday as highlights on the first day of the odd trial of three people charged with attacking San Francisco’s chief executive with pies.” And let me add one other sentence, from the middle of the piece: “Janowski’s clavicle was broken and Brown suffered a sprained ankle and bump on the knee in the incident, which took place as the mayor was leading a send- off for a trash pick-up event known as Clean Sweep III.”

I don’t think any commentary is necessary. You, Sally, may have Marion Barry and Bill Clinton, but damn it, out here in the provinces we’re doing our dead-level best to keep up. In the meantime, it’s been a pleasure sharing this space with you, and it was thoughtful of you to bring your own toothbrush.

As ever, Erik