Our current historical time has created its own vocabulary – words and phrases like contact tracing, social distancing, phase one, two, three, subset a,b,c, Zoom,…..you get the idea. But the overarching reality is one of finding ways to circumvent the ensuing sense of isolation that has become the norm. Although a poor substitute for being there, electronic technology has provided us many ways to communicate and keep in touch. In some ways this is an improvement. It allows us to close distances that heretofore seemed insurmountable. Tickle your mouse and reach out to someone you haven’t been able to see in a year. That’s progress, I guess.
I mention this because of an incredible message I recently received from a distant friend whom I got to know decades ago when I was on the job. She’s a former Maryland State Trooper with literary ambitions and a PhD in American Politics, who after retiring, apparently joined the dark side and took occasional work as an investigator for a shady (is there any other type?) D.C. Attorney. His practice specializes in massaging scandals and controversies inside the beltway involving a cast of shabby characters such as poisonous politicians, loathsome lobbyists, bumbling bureaucrats and other forms of lower-case low life’s. Not to boast here, but what she forwarded to me was a shocking eye-opener of national proportions. And although she requested that I keep it under my hat, lets face it, I just can’t keep a secret. So I offer it to my meager readership free and clear. Consider yourselves among the very privileged few to have this access. I can’t wait to spill the beans. Please don’t tell her that I did.
“Hi Gav, you won’t believe it. I was shocked, but perhaps I shouldn’t have been. This was no ordinary letter and it was written by no ordinary man. And considering to whom it was addressed, I shouldn’t have been surprised by the combative, self-righteous and unsympathetic tone. But these letters were supposed to be a tradition, this one following a long line of many others that had been written on such same occasion. The contents of those previous letters have never been revealed to history, as they were judged by the recipients to be a melange of personal sentiment, sage advice and good wishes not suitable for public consumption, praise, or perhaps, ridicule.
I suppose a bit of background is in order here. You see I have connections to low people in high places now; delivery drivers, repo-men, second-rate security dudes and sticky fingered house cleaners. You know, salt of the earth types who are employed by the powerful but prefer to work in the shadows. They toil in silence and keep their eyes open and mouths shut. Like a dry sponge, they absorb any information available, sucking it up and squeezing it out when the time is ripe and the price is right. But please don’t hold them in scorn; after all, their jobs don’t pay a whole lot, so they need to supplement the weekly draw with a little extra kick from time to time.
That’s where I come in. I pay handsomely for the odd bit of Intel on who’s rumored to be cheating on their spouse, defrauding their business partner, lying to their lawyer and faking their taxes, or all of the above simultaneously. My business is information dissemination – or repression, depending on the circumstances and the buyer. Info is power, especially when you can wave it under the nose of a shallow person with deep pockets. I’m not greedy, I let it go at reasonable mark up over costs – cash only, no discounts, coupons or credit cards accepted. And business is good. Our digital age and peoples insatiable craving for attention has made this easy-peasy, and I’m no longer amazed at what dumb people will do with smart phones. Texting, sexting and embarrassing selfies abound. The imbecility is endless. The profitability enormous.
Still and all, I was surprised when this little gem happened my way unsolicited and unexpected. Apparently, it was photo-copied inside the Oval Office on Tuesday night and sent to my inbox the next morning. I deeply pondered its historical implications as well as the potential for making a decent chunk of change in releasing it to the right people. But who to peddle it to? Cable TV, Smithsonian, the Huff post, TMZ? Historians would likely appraise it priceless, but I’ve found when something is assigned that value, it isn’t worth anything. And how would I prove that it’s genuine anyway? So this is your lucky day, I give it to you for free. It’s the least I can do as a good citizen and old bud. Title it the transition letter to top all transition letters. Just keep it between you and me…………”
I hope this letter finds you. Well, I bet you think this is the luckiest thing that ever happened to you. Think again, sucker. Your problems are just beginning. Not withstanding that if you hadn’t stolen my steal I’d be reading this letter now and I’ve been snubbing you all these months and my so-called buddies on Capitol Hill stabbed me in the back, just like Mike did, which was very unfair, I decided to keep up the tradition and write you this Dear Joe letter. I know this tradition started when George Washington wrote one to Teddy Roosevelt, so if it’s good enough for those guys, then what the hell, it’s good enough for me too. By the way, I never opened the one Obama left me, it was marked postage due, and I’ve got more class than he does anyway.
Since the first day I pulled the plug on the swamp, I’ve had the radical, left-wing, socialist commie democrats (like you) and your buddies in the fake news up my keister, calling me all sorts of very bad and unfair names, indicting my crew and sending them to jail, sniffing around my tax returns, dissing my golf game and making fun of my haircut. And that was just in the first week. I know you had a big mob helping you out; MSNBC, the DNC, CNN, BLM, NPR, OAC, the FBI, the IRS, that little weasel Bloomberg and Ben and Jerry. Well, BFD! Look who I had; the RNC, FNC, MBS, RT, the FSB, Lying Ted, Q Anon, Little Mario, OAN, News-max and most of all, DJT.
But that’s enough about me, let’s talk about you. Although you’ll never touch my level of magnificence and achievement, (how could you) and I consider anyone who’s spent the last forty years running for president a complete looser, you’ve got the microphone now and it’s your show. This is prime time, the big leagues; all the bright lights and loud music. You’re the leader of the band holding the baton. I know that you’ll probably march the country off the edge of the cliff in ten months, but before you do that, let me give you some advice on how to do the job the right way and keep America great until I’m back in the saddle again.
First: Never, ever, ever apologize for anything, anytime, anywhere. You’re the CIC, the Big Kahuna, El Jefe, Top Dog. We don’t make mistakes, and if something goes wrong, you gotta have enough flunkies around to lay the blame on and fire. Believe me, these people are a dime a dozen and they will gladly take a bullet for you just so they can go and write a book about it.
Second: But no less important than number one, DEMAND respect from everyone, but give loyalty to no one (except your wife sometimes, especially if she made you sign a pre-nup). This keeps em’ scared to cross you and will make you feel more like the Generalissimo Maximus, whoever he was.
Third: Learn how to say something that means three opposite things at once that you can deny you ever said. If you don’t understand this one, there’s no use in me trying to explain it.
Fourth: Grow some eyes in the back of your head. This is the most important thing, especially where your V.P. is concerned. I thought I had Pence under my thumb no problem until he sucked up to his old buddies last week and did me dirty. I knew I shouldn’t have trusted him as much as I did, which wasn’t much……and should have made Ivanka V.P…….. Anyway, if I were you, I wouldn’t let Kamala stand behind me too often and would never visit the observation deck of the Empire State Building with her. Remember, gravity is a real downer.
Fifth: Know when to take the fifth. (Refer to maxim #1). Especially when you have to sit down in front of an unfriendly Grand Jury. Dummy up. This shouldn’t be too hard for you. Remember, the only fish that gets caught is the one that opens its mouth.
Sixth: Commit the above five to memory.
As sort of an olive branch to you and Jill, Ivanka left a new pair of shoes in the upstairs closet for the Doctor to try on. She thought Jill would look stunning in the Black Sila Tall Shaft High Heel Dress Boots, (Regular $112.00, but she’ll let them go to you for $99.00). Just send a check down to me at Mara Largo and I’ll get it to Ivanka first thing. If Jill doesn’t like them (which would really be low class) ship them back here – postage from the 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is free, in case you didn’t know.
The White House is a turnkey operation, but not nearly as good as any of my hotels. You’ll notice that the toilet in the office john runs constantly if you don’t jiggle the handle. I think Pence broke it last week when he ran in there after I yelled at him. I know you like masks, so I left plenty in the top right drawer of the desk. I never used them much anyway, but I did take all of the hand sanitizer. If you don’t have any, you can just send Kamala to CVS for some more. Pence always liked that job and used to charge it to the Coronavirus Task Force account. I made him pay for his own scratch tickets though.
In closing, I wish you everything that you deserve, and a little more too.
The Best President Ever,
P.S. If I were you, I’d keep an eye on the night custodian. I think she’s helping herself to the jelly beans. “