A venture to this state park is on the must-do list for many, the park being the only spot in North America where you can dig for diamonds and other gemstones and keep your finds.
I saw the Bushman in one of his 40-eleven exculpatory public farewells saying he was proud of the heckuva job he did as president. I don't think he said extry proud, but he might have.
There are others who are proud of him too. His dad alleges to be mighty proud of him. Dennis Miller, a comedian, and Fred Barnes, another comedian, are proud of him, as are Curt Schilling, a pitcher, and Trent Lott, a former fellow cheerleader. One of the Judd gals testifies proudly. The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette shames us all as ingrates for not being more demonstrative in our proudity, as the honoree himself might say.
His psychotic veep is proud of him, at least in the same way that Paul Winchell was always proud of Jerry Mahoney. Bro. Hagee, the televangelist whose resemblance to the Lord of the Flies may creep you out, oinks proudness; and I expect any day to hear via Pat Robertson how proud God is, and how well-pleased. God tells Bro. Pat such as that in the chit-chats they have.
There may be a few more of the pride-swollen, but not, if Dr. Gallup is in the ballpark, a whole hell of a lot of them.
Pride is a considerable distance down the generality's list regarding the Bushman's late presidency. Seventy-eight percent regard his stewardship about as favorably as I did Vonnie Crutchfield's old devil-dog that used to chase me halfway to Big Creek every time I walked home from church.
That rather larger segment can't imagine being proud of having brought the country to this edge of ruin — or maybe into this thick of ruin. They might second other emotions, all appropriate, when the subject comes up — shame, guilt, remorse, chagrin, mortification. But pride? It would have to be a perverse, who-farted variety of pride — perhaps a dread of judgment waterboarded into calling itself proud.
It would have to be a proud on the order of this: Ol' Herb Hoover proud of the Depression. FEMA proud of its Katrina response. Psycho-Dick proud to role-model for the boys and girls by telling them all to go bleep themselves.
Leo Shellnut proud enduringly of his one-time chance (at Central High in '57) to spit on him a pickaninny. Mississippi proud of all those old pickup boys with knots on their heads and necks. Dan Quayle proud of his prowess at endowing certain of edible tubers with superfluous vowels. Samsa of his inner cockroach and Huckleberry of his dirigible fleet.
Or Chuck Norris proud of his body of work.
Ah, but let us intermiss here for a moment of quiet reflection on the absquatulation at long last of the pencil-necked geek. Aye, he's really and truly gone. And you personally probably don't have a thing to worry about with the War Crimes tribunal and all. I probably don't, either. So this sort of piling on is juvenile and pointless as well as unbecoming. We should straighten up and act our age. Leave off with the na na, na na na na, hey hey hey goodbyes. Roll up our sleeves and get to the repair and recovery work ahead. And so we shall. Starting next week. Or anyway, soon.
… And now back to our program.
Bushman proud of his presidency reminds me of Dinah Shore on her old TV show proud as she could be of having got all the way through her lyrical Tennessee tremolo version of “I Can't Get No Satisfaction.” We were all proud of her for that. Or we were all relieved for her, practically as relieved for her as she was for herself for actually against all odds having seen the dreadful thing through the end. The pride had to come later, after the relief, the marveling that she had got all the way through it and we in the listening audience had too. We had got through it and could be proud to think that we might not ever have to experience anything quite like it again.
It also reminds me of Anthony Hopkins proud of having appeared in “The Edge,” which starred a bear that outacted him. Or Michael Caine in “Jaws 4 — The Revenge,” effecting about the same level of pride.
And also G. Gordon Liddy proud of having bested and roasted the rat, and extremely proud — 245 Bozo love-your-momma points proud — to eat the whoremonger al fresco for brunch. But I don't believe he ate it all. Not the tail, for instance. You'd just about have to giblet the tail, and he lacked both motive and opportunity. And Bushman, while no Gordon Liddy, did eat it all, in the sense of the Paul Anka standard “My Way.” And I guess you have to give him credit for that.
Bush trying to be proud of his presidency also reminds me of poor John McCain trying to be proud of his running mate's buffoonery and proud of her dillweed husband's snowmobile trophies.
And of other people proud of some dubious, trashy, outrageous, godawful stuff. Those people include Dick Morris, Bill Gates, Bill Clinton, Ernest Hemingway, Al Pacino, Bernard Madoff, Sarah Palin, Dwight Eisenhower, Arnold Toynbee, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Fidel Castro, Oprah Winfrey, and the Nobel Prize selection committee.
One of them won last year's Golden Turkey award. In a sense, along with ol' Mission Accomplished, they all did.
Bob Lancaster, one of the Arkansas Times longest and most valued contributors, retired from writing his column last week. We’ll miss his his contributions mightily. Look out, in the weeks to come, for a look back at some of his greatest hits. In the meantime, here's a good place to start.