Monday, December 3, 2018


RIP to George Herbert Walker Bush, passed on at 94.

In January of 1989, when he became the 41st President of the United States, I was living in D.C. Though I was a disappointed Dukakis supporter, my roommate Alex persuaded me that a presidential inauguration was not the sort of spectacle that came along every day, so the two of us walked, through what I recall being a fairly bitter, snowy-wet winter morning, from our apartment to the Mall to join the crowd there in front of the Capitol.

We couldn't really see much from where we were standing, though we had the satisfaction of watching the helicopter ascend and fly away, taking Ronald Reagan out of town. My fondest memory of the event, however, is of a Rastafarian-looking guy hawking pennants in the crowd by yelling "Bush! Two dollars! Bush! Two dollars!"

Though like many people I found him likable (perhaps perversely, Dana Carvey's SNL caricature made him even more so), I wasn't a fan of 41's politics. But it must be admitted that he kept his war in the Middle East relatively short and efficient, and didn't use it, or at least not too much, as a macho-nationalist psychodrama. And he signed the Americans With Disabilities Act. And by almost all accounts, he was a very nice man on a personal level. All of which is to say, in retrospect, and especially at the moment, he looks almost Lincolnesque.

Funny the stuff you remember: The evening of his inaugural, I went with my then-girlfriend to see the sci-fi horror picture DeepStar Six, in which an underwater research station is attacked by a sort of giant sea-louse. While watching it, I noticed a persistent pain in my left foot which increased considerably when I put weight on it leaving the theater. It didn't go away, and some weeks later a doctor told me I had likely given myself a stress fracture that morning on the long walk through the cold. It's bothered me, off and on, ever since, sometimes to the point of giving me a noticeable limp.

So that was my souvenir of the George H. W. Bush inauguration. And it didn't even cost me two dollars.


  1. I was just thinking about this the other day. One of my fondest memories of rooming with you and our Inaugural sojourn. He was one of the best!