I don’t know if you’ve ever been in the presence of secret service men before, but they’re not exactly secret. In fact, their attire practically screams, “I am protecting someone very important and that person is really close!” About 8 years ago, I experienced this firsthand.
My family was vacationing in Washington D.C. in the spring of 2004 and were driving along the street when we saw about sixty-five million (and I totally counted) “secret” service men standing outside a row of shops. “Maybe George is getting a coffee,” my dad said, referring to our beloved president George W. Bush and the Starbucks that the secret service men were standing in the vicinity of. So we pulled over (fancy that – a parking spot in D.C.) and got out of the car just as Senator John Kerry (you know, the candidate who should’ve defeated Bush in the 2004 election) walked out of a hair salon. We all know how silver and delightful (although slightly shocking) his hair was, so imagine it newly styled and glimmering in the spring sunshine. Now imagine yourself completely dazzled and possibly hypnotized by it. Now stop imagining that, because you’re being ridiculous. John Kerry’s hair does not possess the power of hypnosis.
Any of you who know my father (so basically none of you since a few of you are from South Africa and his voice, though loud, has not reached that corner of the earth) know that he is not shy. At all. And he was a huge fan of Kerry (or, perhaps, not a fan of George Bush and therefore a huge fan of the alternative), so you will not be surprised to hear that as the senator walked toward his large, black, bulletproof car my father yelled, “MISTER SENATOR!” so many times that I’m surprised a secret service man didn’t shush him.
Before we continue, may I just say that I admire my father a little bit for being a persistent man. I don’t think I ever would’ve done that, and therefore wouldn’t be able to say that I had met John Kerry. This blog post would be about 3 sentences long and would go something like this: “I saw John Kerry one time. His hair had just been dyed. He got in his car and drove away as I stood silently, pointing.” So yay Dad!
Anyway, nobody shushed my father, but Kerry did turn around and come greet us. The ghosts of secret service men past rolled over in their graves, and the ones present at the scene inwardly huffed. Why do famous people always do the ‘turn around and risk their safety just to shake some twit’s hand’ thing? they all thought with disdain. Because they need people to like them, John Kerry’s spirit animal, the otter, whispered to the wind.
He walked over and shook our hands and let us take pictures with him, which was cool (and those pictures later went in our Christmas cards, no big deal) although I would’ve preferred it to have happened when I didn’t have stupid hair. I would attach a photo to this blog, but this incident occurred when film was still being developed on a regular basis, and therefore don’t have a digital copy. Also, I am crap at scanning. So there. Maybe it didn’t even happen (it did).
Poor John. His hair, however spectacular (and possibly hypnotic?), was not enough to distract people from calling him a flip flopper or criticizing his self proclaimed war hero-ness, even though George Bush was a doofus and shouldn’t have been allowed to graduate college, much less spend 8 years as president. But at least I met Kerry and got to tell him, in my humble 10-year-old opinion, that I supported his candidacy. He was a nice man.
Plus, my degree of separation from President Obama = 1. Whoop!