Thursday, July 29, 2004

Yes, those are real!

Does this really need a caption? Posted by Hello

What you are looking at is a very real piece of Clinton memorabilia. Sit down and let me tell you about it...

On October 27, 1992, a certain Arkansas governor named Bill Clinton came to Lafayette, LA to talk about running for some office or another. His appearance was the culmination of a Cajun-dance party known in these parts as a "fais-do-do." "Fais-do-do" is a Cajun-French term that means, literally, "go to sleep," originating from the fact that these parties went on all night and made you sleepy. The featured band was Wayne Toups and Zydecajun (or was it Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys? I always get those two confused).

Anyway, because my father was working for the local Clinton campaign here, he was one of the main coordinators for the event. This allowed my mom and I to get special passes to stand directly in front of the lectern with the most fanatical Democrats that this Republican-leaning city could muster. We were all given miniature American flags to wave; I also managed to finagle a bumper sticker from an NEA representative. Much to my surprise, only a handful of protesters were there. Many of them blew duck whistles while displaying "Clinton ducked the draft" posters. Ha freaking ha.

Night had fallen by the time the big man arrived. I don't quite remember what he said, but I remember thinking that he had a hell of a lot more stage presence than George Bush (hell, he even upstaged the band, something that's very hard to do in the Cajun heartland!). Following the speech, I nearly met an early pre-voting death as described below in the Secret Service column. After shaking Clinton's very HUGE hand (and repeatedly banging my head for not bringing a camera), I watched as a representative handed him my NEA bumper sticker to autograph. I still have it in a secure location to this day, and will post it as soon as I can figure out just where that secure location is.

As for the tag shown above, it is the security pass my dad wore for the event. On the back is the Clinton-Gore logo along with the phrase "Laissez les bon temps rouler!" ("Let the good times roll!"). My dad says he designed the tag, which I think even Clinton's people had to wear. Naturally, Dad had his tag signed by the Big Dog for posterity. The two allegedly talked for awhile, and given both men's propensities for going on and on and on, I fully believe it.

On those days when Dad and I are trying to top each other, he can always screech me to a halt by saying, "Yeah, but have you ever talked to the president?"

"Yeah, Dad, but did you talk to New Orleans Saints head coach Jim Haslett and forget to tell him your name?"

Me with Coach Haslett, 5/16/03  Posted by Hello

"And don't forget that time I sat in Knight Rider!"

Me, my brother and KITT, 1985  Posted by Hello

As if I ever had a chance...Clinton's still the king!


Shannon said...

Wow. Two things you and I have in common.

I shook Bubba's hand when he was running for re-election. That was back when I was a rabid Democrat -- yet too young to vote. (By the time I was 18 I was too pissed off to have a party affiliation.)

And I sat in KITT, too. At Universal Studios, I believe. At least you got a freeze-frame out of it.

oyster said...

That story made me smile... well told, too. You guys did your part to win the state for him! I'll have to describe my meeting one of these days at YRHT-- it's not bad.

(Question from a Knight Rider fan-- did they have KITT set up to talk to you at Universal? Even though I lived in Central Florida at the time, I don't recall seeing the car when I went there.

Ian McGibboney said...

Actually, I didn't see KITT at Universal Studios--it actually came here to Lafayette (!!) as part of a car show that also featured the ECTO-1 ambulance from Ghostbusters and other cars I didn't recognize (I'm guessing the General Lee wasn't there, because we'd have been all over that like possum on a gumbush). In fact, on part of the photo that I cropped, you can see the sign of the local hit radio station. They had a guy there snapping Polaroids of anyone who wanted to pop into KITT (I'm guessing it cost money). I remember the photographer was some apathetic kid who was eating Chef Boyardee ravioli off of a plate.

When we jumped in the car, I got in the passenger seat, which I believe was real leather. While Mr. Feeney didn't talk to us, the screen inside really was playing a Knight Rider video! And the lights on the hood were shifting as well. My brother and I fought for the privilege of being the one to "drive." He won because he's older and a bastard (ha ha). As soon as we snapped the picture, I started screaming at him. Ah, memories...

Shannon said...

KITT didn't talk at Universal Studios. Just the car, with a velvet rope line (like a bank) for those who wanted to sit in it. I felt like I was in the presense of a great leader.

Ian McGibboney said...

I read that KITT is now housed in a kickbutt car museum in England. Among the other cars there is the V-8 Interceptor from "Mad Max" and "The Road Warrior."

Shannon said...

A fella –– a quick fella –– might have a weapon hidden under there. I'd have to pin his head to the panel.