The Ecphorizer

The Kiss of Death
Susan Packie

Issue #60 (November 1986)

It is not true that someone feeds the President answers to questions asked at press conferences through a tiny radio worn in the ear. If anyone did, he or she would have been put in an insane asylum long ago.

"Mr President, is it a fact that your way of terminating someone is

The President shook his head and pointed to one of his ears.

by telling that person the job is his as long as he wants it?"

"I'm afraid I didn't catch all of that."
"It seems as if a number of top Administration officials have decided the grass is greener outside of government as soon as you say their jobs are secure. Would you care to comment on that?"

"Certainly. They all knew I was speaking of their future jobs."

"Oh well, that makes a lot of sense. A rumor is circulating that you are beginning to sound like Herbert Hoover. Might prosperity for all be a mirage? If the poor will never make it, and the middle class will slip back into the ranks of the poor with the new tax plan and business closings, very few are left to bask in the light of luxury."

"What you have to understand is that prosperity is a relative term. Take your typical Black. He is much better off today than he was at the height of slavery. That's what I'm saying."

"Of course, but what about the typical college graduate who can't even land a position as good as the summer job he had when he was in high school?"

"Next question."

"Does it make any sense to invade a tiny country in Central America with one hand while profiting economically from the exploitation of a majority of South Africans with the other?"

"That's what your unemployed college graduate can do! He can fight in Central America so democracy and capitalism can flourish there!"

"I was really talking about imposing sanctions on South Africa."

The United States is not going to interfere in the internal relations of any other country."

"But in Nicaragua...."

"Next question."

"If everything I ask is off limits, could you discuss your most recent surgery a little more fully? Was a biopsy performed? Is this in any way related to your cancer of the colon and your skin cancer?"

The President shook his head and pointed to one of his ears. Then he told the reporter he could ask anything he liked, as long as he spoke up. His job was secure.

That was the reporter's last question. He already knew what that answer meant! 

Essayist SUSAN PACKIE, another regular, has been published in more than 140 books and journals.

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