Monday, December 8, 2014

"A Slight Case of 'Judgment Jostle'"

All you’ve got is your own personal judgment.

So through the kindness of a friend I was delivered the wherewithal to reconnect with (now second term Senator) Al Franken, whom I had not spoken to for ten years (when he acceded to my request to watch him broadcast his radio show on Air America.) 

(A Close Call:  Five or so years ago, while visiting Washington D.C. where Dr. M was attending a conference, we left a note at his office asking if we could get together.  The Senator later left us a phone message, saying that he was imminently leaving town, so no.)  

I had written a blog post entitled, “Arguing In Front Of The Supreme Court Fantasy” in which I fantasized arguing in front of the Supreme Court.  This is a rare and welcome occasion in which I gave a post a title that actually revealed what I was talking about in the post.  Normally, my post titles are encrypted in such severe hyper-cleverness that later, when I am trying to find a particular blog post, these obscure titles are entirely unhelpful to me.

This time, I just wrote what it was.  And I could easily retrieve it.  Well, maybe not “easily”, but I did it.

With the intention of sending him my post entitled, “Arguing Before The Supreme Court Fantasy” for his “professional evaluation”, I e-mailed (now second term Senator) Al Franken, first reintroducing myself, and then asking if it was okay to pass it along.

A couple of days later, a very busy Senator e-mailed me back, informing me that, though he was a very busy Senator, he would be happy to take a look at whatever I wanted to send him, as long as I didn’t send him stuff too often, as he was a very busy Senator.

I was thoroughly elated by his response.  “A” of all, that there was a response, as he is a very busy Senator.  And “B” of all, that the response was “Okay.” 

Kirk Gibson “Elbow Pump!”  A sitting Senator was going to evaluate my blog post!  And not one of the stupider Senators who got elected because some insane voting block loves them, one of the sharpest pencils in the entire box.  Of pencils.  You can tell I am excited just talking about it.  Hey, a United States Senator would be eyeballing my material!

Not suggesting that anybody said he was, but Al Franken is not a dope.  Though it is popularly believed, being in show business is not synonymous with being a driveling idiot (euphemistically referred to as a “lightweight.”)  Or a maniacal egotist who has mirrors all of their house and every idea, thought and impulse emanating from their minds is “Me!  Me!  Me!”

(Note:  As I know nothing about the former Congressman who played “Gopher” on The Love Boat, a negative speculation in that regard would be prejudiced conjecture.)

Al Franken knows – and long before running for political office knew – politics.  And the overall workings of government.  One of his best friends is Norm Ornstein (a “Resident Scholar” at the American Enterprise Institute.)  On the TV sitcom Lateline (co-created by Al Franken and John Markus) that I consulted on and on which he participated (but was later cut out), Norm Ornstein was introduced as “the wonkiest wonk in Wonkidom.”  Al Franken could easily keep up with him – wonk for wonk.

Okay, so I have now retrieved my blog post entitled, “Arguing Before The Supreme Court Fantasy”, and, as I always do with anything I am about to send out, I reread it, looking for any last-minute adjustments I can inject in an effort to make something I had written and believed in even better. 

This was a remarkable opportunity, and I did not want to submit anything less than the best work I could possibly deliver.  Though I believed that what I had written was intelligent, thought-provoking and worthwhile, I knew that, in his area of expertise – and now direct participation – Al Franken was a particularly hard marker. 

Uncomfortable Confession:  Though it may not be that psychologically healthy, I sense a powerful need for his approval.  I mean, I know Al respected me as a comedy writer.  But this was something else.  You see, I have an equally powerful and probably equally not that psychologically healthy need to have my ideas taken seriously by the Big Boys.  There, it’s out.

I pore over the blog post, hoping that by my minute but upgrading alterations I can raise a respectable effort to the level of “an original work of undeniable quality.”

I complete my revisions.  There is nothing else I can think of.  It is time to leave it alone. 

I stop to think for a second.  And I realize – as I had not realized when I originally published it – that, re-reading it a couple of months later, my blog post entitled, “Arguing Before The Supreme Court Fantasy”, even after the last-minute revisions… 

Is not very good.

To Be Continued


Wendy M. Grossman said...

So we can all judge for ourselves, here is the original posting:


pumpkinhead said...

See, when you have trouble finding one of your posts, just ask Wendy, and she'll find it for you.