Man, I miss Molly Ivins.
Ivins was a Dallas, TX, based political humorist who wrote for the Texas Observer, The New York Times, the Dallas Times Herald and finally, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. She died a year after Ann Richards, Texas’ last Democratic governor, in 2007. To my mind, those two deaths signal an end of an era of sensible liberalism and, dare I say, decorum. They held sway during the heady ‘90s, when the economy was strong, Al Qaeda was overseas, and all we had to worry about was what Bill Clinton’s definition of the word “is” was.
Richards and Ivins ruled Texas, where I lived as a teenager, and they were sharp, both in mind and in tongue. Remember, Ivins is the one who referred to George W. Bush as “Shrub.”
I wonder what she’d call Trump (lately I’ve been leaning toward “Bad Touch Donnie,” but I’m not sure if it’s too grim).
This week, I wondered aloud how I could write about Trump’s little “locker room” scandal from last weekend without simply repeating what so many other, better writers have said before me.
My teenager advised me to do the following: write about how I like to walk into her and her sister’s rooms when they’re changing clothes under the guise of “inspecting” their room conditions in order to sneak a peek at their bodies, and about how I used to “grab them by the diaper” when they were toddlers.
“It’ll be like you’re Trump,” she said. “It’ll be hilarious.”
Like, for instance I could say, “When I’m around my girls, I make sure to have a Tic Tac in my mouth, just in case I just start kissing them. That’s the thing about being a mom. You can kiss your kids whenever you want to.”
“I like it,” I nodded. “Let me think about it.”
But, here’s the rub:
1. I don’t do room inspections. Good Lord, I can barely walk into their rooms without going into a hot rage as it is. I almost fell over the wastebasket in my younger daughter’s room this morning when I went in to wake her. I cussed not inaudibly, and vowed to not look around too closely after I managed to find the light switch and turn it on. Because:
1.A. Why was the wastebasket in the middle of the
1.B. Why was a blanket wrapped around the wastebas-
1.C. If I had fallen, would the blanket have been the
cause or the cushion?
1.1. Despite the fact that the girls are forbidden to have food or anything to drink other than water in their bedrooms, there always seems to be a potato chip bag sticking out from under someone’s bed and something moldy growing in a glass on the nightstand. Which means that:
1.1.A. They are actively defying me. And,
1.1.B. They are too lazy to bother to cover up their
crimes. Which follows that they:
1.1.B.1. Think I’m a sucker. And,
1.1.B.2. Are probably right.
2. Have you ever lived with pre-adolescent and adolescent girls? These are the most modest creatures on the planet. I’m not even Donald Trump, and if I walk into a room while either of these girls are changing their clothes, they will cover themselves so fast it’ll make your head spin.
In fact, I’m pretty sure that whole business where you change your shirt while wearing another shirt on top of it was invented by an adolescent girl.
What I’m saying is, if I was there to leer, I would be sorely irritated and, no doubt, disappointed.
Which brings me to “grabbing them by the diaper.” I’ve fiddled with the phrase all week, and frankly, the only thing it makes me think of is grabbing them by the overall straps when they were tots. Which, by the way, is some truly effective kid wrangling if you ask me.
But really, I think the real reason I’m grappling with the joke is that it’s just not funny. A couple of years ago, when I’d read about the former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Bunga Bunga parties in Vanity Fair magazine, I’d just laugh and shake my head.
“Those Mediterraneans,” I’d tut, “they need to get it together.”
But now, Berlusconi and even Slick Willie of the Lewinski days seem quaint don’t they?
I wonder what Molly Ivins would say.