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My Big Day in Advanced Drawing
By Paul Lewellan
From my first day in high school, I loved my art classes because of Mr. Preston. Sometimes I stayed after school to paint beside him. Sometimes I filled in as his model. “Terrific bone structure,” he once told me.
My classmates resented the extra attention I got. Their jealousy bubbled up in harsh critiques my work, but I didn’t let them bother me. I was David’s protégé, and everyone knew it.
Out of college he’d worked as a graphic designer for J. Walter Thompson but went back for his MFA so that he could teach. He specialized in tablet-sized portraits of rappers executed with 15th Century egg tempera paint techniques. I preferred millennial divas and acrylics. Then, my junior year, he secured a commissioned project for us doing oil portraits of past coaches on The Voice: Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Miley Cyrus, Pharrell Williams, Shakira, and Usher. I prepped the canvasses and did the backgrounds; he gave life to their faces.
Then, in late September, Mr. Preston had an epileptic seizure during Advanced Drawing II. The next day we got a long-term sub—Mrs. Worthy. She was more of a pastels and nature person. Drawing was not her strength. When I tried to help her, she became annoyed.
Mrs. Worthy didn’t know anyone, of course, so she took attendance by having us sign in. I signed in first because I was the first one there in the morning. Toward the end of the class period on her third day, I noticed some people snickering at the list. I thought it must be a good joke so I walked over to see. By my name someone had written, “Bra stuffer.”
I glared at Peter Pelowski, a promising sculpture, who I planned to ask to Homecoming. He was snickering more than the rest. “I don’t stuff my bra,” I argued.
“Prove it,” he hissed.
4. In the years that have ensued (and both of us have been –sued), this revelation has seen you through thick and thin. Not to belabor the point, but why did you run for President? As you put it the other night, “Can you think of a better way to pump up a brand? Coca Cola? GM? President of the Fucking U.S. of A.!”
5. All this having been said, you must already have realized your dream, “the most powerful man in the world.” Right? Wrong! As you complained during the wee hours of Jan.2, you’re only one of the world’s three most powerful men. First, there’s that damned Chinaman, President Xi Jinping! And, then, there’s you-know-who, the little tree-hugging Latino Pope! That’s “Francis,” with an “I” (though he isn’t a real I-Tie!).
6. Even worse –and please don’t shoot the messenger, sir, you said this, yourself-- by now most of the world hates you. That damned wall started it, and then the stupid economic downturn –not your fault! But facts are facts. By now, three years in, your chances of re-election are nada.
7. So. Do you hang your head and cry? Not your style! This is where the dream comes back in. Before it’s too late, you vowed, you plan to hang a major U-ie. As you put it: “Why can’t I be Pope!”
8. Indeed, why not? I’ve gone ahead and eyeballed the potential obstacles, and scoped out what we can do about each and every one of them. (Isn’t this why you pay me the medium bucks? Just kidding, boss!) Here’s the skinny:
--Not even a Catholic. But we both know where you went to college --Fordham, run not just by the Catholic Church, but by the Jesuits! Besides, as a lifelong Presbyterian, we could say you’re already “high church.” Besides, a non-Catholic male can be elected Pope. Sure, he would first have to be converted, then ordained as a priest, and consecrated as a bishop. No big whoops!
--What are the odds? That process, you may think, makes your elevation to Pontiff-hood extremely unlikely. O-kay, but so was the Presidency! Remember when everyone said we lost? And this time, you won’t need 270, just 120 (Cardinals).
--Are you qualified? Come on, before 2016, had you ever held elective office? And, as a matter of fact, you are qualified. I mean, haven’t you already been the... what’s that term?... Defensor Fidei. I mean, over the last three years, who has held the line more firmly than you, boss, against the global tsunami of bomb-throwing rag heads?
-- Is there still time? Consulting the actuarial tables, you’re currently a 73 year-old non-smoker, no history of substance abuse --okay, a little overweight, addicted just a tiny bit to fried foods and sugar. But the current Pope is practically a relic, ten years older than you. (What do the tables say about him?)
So just give me the word, Mr. P(ope), and I’ll set things in motion. Oh, and if this memo is TMI, I can give you a 50-word oral summary. (950 words)