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Hail to the Chief
July 11, 2007 11:16 AM   Subscribe

Sterling is a kid from Mesquite, Texas with T-cell lymphoma. When the Make-a-Wish Foundation asked him what his dearest wish was, he said he wanted to be the President of the United States for a day. So hundreds of people from 12 government agencies made his wish come true.
posted by ottereroticist (68 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Here's the blog account of his visit to a fancy Washington D.C. restaurant for lunch. Caution: NSFPWHTCAW (people who hate to cry at work).
posted by ottereroticist at 11:16 AM on July 11, 2007


Oh lord... that website. I'm cryin like a baby.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 11:27 AM on July 11, 2007


...Can we keep him?
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:28 AM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


Oh...what's that? Something's in my eye. No, really.

How freakin' cool! And what a thrill: "...[he] was lucky enough to sit in the President’s chair in the Oval Office. The tour was topped off with one of Sterling’s favorite memories from his trip; he was able to bowl in the White House private bowling alley..."
posted by ericb at 11:34 AM on July 11, 2007


If you take the impact of Bush's actions, prorate them for a single day, and compare to this kid, the child comes out looking pretty good.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:35 AM on July 11, 2007


The story from the staff of the restaurant is really great. Happy tears over here.
posted by mathowie at 11:37 AM on July 11, 2007


Oh, my. That was -wonderful-. Thank you, ottereroticist.

I wonder if Obama is hurt that he got beat to the punch by somebody who didn't even have to campaign or do fundraising...
posted by po at 11:38 AM on July 11, 2007


It's a pity he couldn't just stay on as President for the next few years.

Though I was disappointed that he pardoned so many of his friends. Tsk tsk.
posted by The World Famous at 11:39 AM on July 11, 2007


U.S. Department of Education: "President Sterling" Visits ED.
posted by ericb at 11:40 AM on July 11, 2007


That is fantastic. And I love the way that they didn't skimp the details - they could've just given him a glorified tour in a limo. Instead, he got the security detail, the photographer, the chance to give speeches etc. That's such a good thing to do for him.
posted by djgh at 11:41 AM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


btw, here's the non-print version of the story, which I found easier to read on my wide monitor.
posted by mathowie at 11:42 AM on July 11, 2007


Thanks, ottereroticist, for posting this. What a wonderful story.
posted by sleepy pete at 11:48 AM on July 11, 2007


If you take the impact of Bush's actions, prorate them for a single day, and compare to this kid, the child comes out looking pretty good.

If you take the sum total of Bush's actions, and compare them to the five minutes this kid spent rolling around on the floor in the restaurant, the kid comes out looking like Abe-freaking-Lincoln.
posted by PlusDistance at 11:51 AM on July 11, 2007 [8 favorites]


The first thing President Sterling does is to appoint members of his family to his cabinet. Whatever happened to bringing back honor and integrity to the office?
posted by ooga_booga at 11:54 AM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


One things for certain, President Sterling would never veto any bill relating to stem-cell research!
posted by ericb at 11:56 AM on July 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


He's not so great. He got diarrhea when we went to Carlsbad Caverns. Ok, I lied. This is pretty great.
posted by allen.spaulding at 11:56 AM on July 11, 2007


"Later that evening, in the oldest of Cheney family traditions, Sterling was roasted to a golden brown and fed to the Vice President..."
posted by LordSludge at 12:06 PM on July 11, 2007


Sterling Bush is a kid from Mesquite, Texas with T-cell lymphoma Maine. When the Make-a-Wish Foundation asked him what his dearest wish was, he said he wanted to be the President of the United States for a day. So hundreds of people from 12 government agencies wise men made his wish come true.
posted by grobstein at 12:09 PM on July 11, 2007


Who said that we wouldn't see a black president in our lifetime?

Seriously, this is cool.
posted by quin at 12:13 PM on July 11, 2007


That was beautiful! Hail to the Chief!
posted by LeeJay at 12:19 PM on July 11, 2007


Also, I wish I knew what restaurant he ate at because I would like to give them my business.
posted by LeeJay at 12:21 PM on July 11, 2007


Hell, just getting of Mesquite, Texas for a day out to be enough for anyone.
posted by delmoi at 12:30 PM on July 11, 2007


Awesome.
posted by slimepuppy at 12:36 PM on July 11, 2007


People are sometimes Very Very Good.
posted by availablelight at 12:37 PM on July 11, 2007


I want to read this story and feel all warm-and-fuzzy, and to shed a tear for young Sterling. I really do. I have nothing but respect and admiration for the Make-a-Wish foundation and all that they do.

But its difficult for me to read this and not see it as, in some strange way, an illustration of a peculiar winner-take-all strand of American culture. I get the same feeling watching the myriad game shows and talent competitions that litter the airwaves - all of which are also, to a certain extent, feel-good affairs as well.

Its hard for me to read this and not think, "That's great. Sterling is a lucky kid, and everyone who participated has a lot to be proud of. But what about the thousands of other kids out there who were just as worthy - not just the ones with cancer, but also the ones with less well-known diseases, or just the ones with the misfortune of growing up extremely poor and leading really, really tough lives - but weren't lucky enough to have their wishes granted by this fine organization?" Similarly, its hard for me to watch (for example) "American Idol" and not think, "OK, I'm really glad that these 1 or 2 very talented individuals have gotten the opportunity to shine and be rewarded. But what about the thousands of other individuals who were just as (maybe more) talented but weren't lucky enough to make it through the process?"

The comparison is invidious; I know. The criticism is cynical and unfair, and it misses the point of these sorts of celebrations; I know. I should draw the heart-warming lesson that many people are willing to put incredible amounts of time and effort into making one unfortunate child's wish come true.

But the lesson I can't help but draw is this: we (Americans) are very, very good at the grand gesture, the big spectacle, the dramatic display of goodwill that everyone can look at and feel real good about. We are really good at singling out a lucky few and publicly showering them with rewards, so that everyone can watch and feel like we've all participated in a grand good deed (TM). We are still not very good at the kinds of incremental, population-wide, less-visible but no less real improvements in people's lives that don't make for good TV.

Let me be clear: I don't mean to accuse the Make a Wish Foundation of doing this as a publicity stunt; I am sure that their motives are genuine and I respect them for it. Still, I can't help but find this just a bit bittersweet.
posted by googly at 12:43 PM on July 11, 2007 [17 favorites]


Well, publicity from something like this raises awareness and money, which leads to helping more kids and getting more publicity ect... That's the theory, anyway.
posted by IronLizard at 12:47 PM on July 11, 2007


Refer a child....anyone can, inside or outside the US.
posted by availablelight at 12:51 PM on July 11, 2007


Wow, as I was trying to log in, I was thinking that I must be some hard-hearted soul since the story didn't touch me the way it did so many others. Part of it, I realized, was that I was so put off by the foundation's repeated references to 'commander in chief' that I couldn't get a warm tingle about the kid. Then I realized it had evoked the same feelings in me that the Extreme Home Makeover show or whatever it's called has on me. It's done for the camera too often, the big gesture that, yes, makes the kid feel good but also makes everyone else feel great for the day. I wish Sterling all the best, and his family,too. I'm glad they could do this but, man, this story doesn't didn't really do it for me today.
posted by etaoin at 12:52 PM on July 11, 2007


crotchety old man of the day award goes to...
posted by matt_od at 12:57 PM on July 11, 2007


It's done for the camera too often, the big gesture that, yes, makes the kid feel good but also makes everyone else feel great for the day.

And we certainly can't have THAT!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 1:19 PM on July 11, 2007


This really is adorable. What I'm most curious about is the content of the briefing he received over breakfast. And what I'm most tickled by is how much quicker his responses to the mock emergencies was than Bush's responses to real emergencies. No ten extra minutes of reading to kids from this kid when the pressure's on!

Now, if someone would only wish for the results of the 2000 presidential popular vote to stand.
posted by EatTheWeak at 1:22 PM on July 11, 2007


“It is only in America that a little boy from Mesquite, Texas, can wish of someday being President of the United States and actually have that wish come true,” Sterling said after being inaugurated as President of the United States for a day.

By definition, yes.

Oh, what am I saying? He's still a helluva lot more eloquent than Bush.
posted by Saellys at 1:23 PM on July 11, 2007


the dramatic display of goodwill

Magnanimous displays of generosity and goodwill -- especially directed towards ill children -- are the fault of Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim Cratchit. Damn you, Charles Dickens!
posted by ericb at 1:24 PM on July 11, 2007


No, I get where googly and etaoin are coming from.

It's like with the lottery: I've never understood why they don't give away 100 prizes of $250K instead of one $25M.

To me, that would be a lot bigger incentive to play (as well as an amount of money that seems less likely to totally screw up people's lives); but they must have tested it and found that people are more sucked in by the one huge winner.

It's true that most of the national Make-a-Wish stories are not on quite that grand a scale. And the regional ones tend to be simpler still.
posted by ottereroticist at 1:28 PM on July 11, 2007


googly, I think we can (and should) draw both lessons from the story. They're not mutually exclusive.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 1:34 PM on July 11, 2007


I must admit, I do like that section of the blog entry the restauranteur blog entry is like, "Bush just passed by? Oh, meh. Where's our President?"
posted by WCityMike at 1:37 PM on July 11, 2007


It's like with the lottery: I've never understood why they don't give away 100 prizes of $250K instead of one $25M.

Exactly. And etaoin's Extreme Makeover comparison was better than my American Idol one. That's the winner-take-all aspect of it: why have the grand display of one single person getting $25M (or all their teeth done and plastic surgery and a new wardrobe etc. etc.), rather than $25K to 1000 people who could really use it (or one or two fillings to 1000 people who could really use them)? Why the incessant drive towards the display on the grand scale?

But ottereroticist's follow-up links show me that, in fact, the M-A-W foundation does much more than these grand displays. I find the kid who just wanted a yellow lab named angel plenty heartwarming.

Regardless, thanks for the sympathetic interpretation and additional links ottereroticist!
posted by googly at 1:37 PM on July 11, 2007


"I wish to be the boss of the ice cream man."

Crap, now I'm crying again.
posted by ottereroticist at 1:45 PM on July 11, 2007 [3 favorites]


I have a modest proposal for you: those MeFi members without souls must be forced to read and comment in threads which annoy them. Then we get to boil and eat them.
posted by mattbucher at 1:50 PM on July 11, 2007


He explained that every day when the ice cream truck comes through his neighborhood, some of his friends don't have enough money for ice cream. He said that he feels very fortunate that his mother makes sure that he does have enough money for ice cream—but that eight quarters is a lot of money for ice cream.

He always tells his friends, "When I grow up, I am going to be boss of the ice cream man and make him give everyone ice cream!"


Aw damn. I'm a little teary again, too. What a sweet wish.
posted by LeeJay at 1:56 PM on July 11, 2007


otter, now yer gonna get me all misty-eyed, too.

dammit...thank you.
posted by I, Credulous at 2:02 PM on July 11, 2007


googly
I think you're overgeneralizing a bit and muddling things. Why doesn't Extreme Home Makeover or whatever work on the small but important things? Because it's a show designed to draw an audience for money, not a charity. Why doesn't the lottery give away lots of small rewards instead of one big one? Because the point of the lottery is to get lots of people to give their money up, and as ottereroticist noted they probably did studies and found that more people bought tickets for big prizes. The idea that they should have smaller sums for more people who need them is ridiculous, because the lottery is exactly the opposite of helping people: it's taking their money, usually to put towards state education funds. If you wanted to help people, you'd abolish the lottery, a system designed to take money from the foolish and the desperate, and work on social aid programs. Again, the lottery is not an aid program, and you're reading too much into it by claiming it is evidence of some deep cultural trait.

But I digress. I think what etaoin meant when he said, "It's done for the camera too often, the big gesture that, yes, makes the kid feel good but also makes everyone else feel great for the day." is that he feels that this gesture makes people feel like they've done something when they're not really tackling the big problem (though in a very clumsy way). But I just can't agree with that. The point of these "big gestures" is to inspire and raise awareness. To provide hope to others that people do care and want to help, that the fight to improve the world for everyone is not futile because it's possible to make a difference. Perhaps gestures like this will help make others work towards improving the small, day-to-day conditions. People need hope and inspiration; having everyone operate with the attitude that it's a constant, losing battle to affect change that they will be forced to fight until they die is harmful to the cause. There's nothing wrong with moments of joy, which is why the last sentence, "I'm glad they could do this but, man, this story doesn't didn't really do it for me today" comes off as really heartless. As DevilsAdvocate, stories like this can provide more than one lesson to us.
posted by Sangermaine at 2:12 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


The President ordered a hot dog and fries. The security detail waiting in the cars outside received 28 boxed lunches. The uniform-clad gentleman with “the briefcase” handcuffed it to an unused chair. As the food and dessert was eaten, the President and his friend and his baby brother got wound beyond up. The younger brother was hopping from chair to chair, the best friend was juggling the personalized pencils. I glanced at the President, who was now rolling around on the floor, giggling.

“I’m sorry,” said the real-life press photographer who had volunteered her time for this event, “The President is on the floor right now. He’ll make a statement in a moment.” And we laughed.

And I watched the President’s mom and dad watching their boy. And I wished a wish for them–to have many, many more days such as this.

“We’re going to the zoo tomorrow,” the mother told the photographer.


Anyone else think that this whole portion of the restaurant blog could apply to President Bush?
posted by knapah at 2:45 PM on July 11, 2007


Although, this one makes me sad on multiple levels.
posted by greta simone at 2:46 PM on July 11, 2007


I welcome our new tiny one-day overlord.
posted by jlowen at 2:51 PM on July 11, 2007


Sangermaine, your analysis makes a lot of sense. I agree that the comparisons between lotteries and TV shows and charity foundation activities are imprecise. After all, each has different primary goals. However, I disagree with you on a few points:

(1) While these three domains have different primary goals, they also have multiple goals that frequently overlap. Yes, lotteries exist to collect money from multiple people to put towards activities (like education) of social value; they do so by giving a lot of people the infinitesimal chance of earning a gigantic windfall. TV shows exist to make money for their sponsors and advertisers; they do so by giving a huge windfall to a lucky few and thus providing a feel-good story that also makes for compelling entertainment. Charities also collect money from a lot of people to put towards something of social value, and often they do so by staging events that are entertaining and or inspiring. What I find bittersweet is when they use a twisted form of the same winner-take-all logic - e.g., a gigantic windfall to one or a few individuals.

(2) You state that "The point of these "big gestures" is to inspire and raise awareness. To provide hope to others that people do care and want to help, that the fight to improve the world for everyone is not futile because it's possible to make a difference." I'd like to think so, but I wonder whether people take exactly the opposite lesson from the grand gestures: that helping people is ultimately futile, because only rich TV networks with loads of resources can actually make a difference in peoples' lives; and (even more insidious) that only a very lucky few can ever expect such assistance. Like you, I don't really expect the lottery to hand out lots of small prizes; but I do worry about the "lotteryfication" of other areas of life, where we increasingly expect grand gestures with huge windfalls (a new home, a huge recording deal, a complete body makeover, being president for a day) for a very select few.

(3) "The lottery is not an aid program, and you're reading too much into it by claiming it is evidence of some deep cultural trait." Well, I actually swiped the idea of a winner-take-all society from a book, so I'm not the only one. But more to the point: the lottery is an aid program of sorts, as you pointed out - in many cases, an aid program for kids' education. Often, lotteries are instituted in districts where people reject school levies and other attempts to fund education through the tiresome everyday gesture of paying taxes, instead substituting a winner-take-all game. Again, the comparison is inexact, but I think it does indeed provide evidence of a something pervasive in American society right now.

Finally, I wholeheartedly agree with you and DevilsAdvocate in the idea that we can draw multiple lessons from this. Thats why I carefully chose the word "bittersweet" to express my feelings. Its a sweet story, but it does have a tinge of bitterness if one thinks about it for a bit.
posted by googly at 2:58 PM on July 11, 2007


Let me be clear: I don't mean to accuse the Make a Wish Foundation of doing this as a publicity stunt; I am sure that their motives are genuine and I respect them for it. Still, I can't help but find this just a bit bittersweet.

I think there's some truth to what googly is saying. However, in addition to what Sangermaine and others have said—that there's collective value in the grand gesture—I think perhaps googly underestimates how many kids actually benefit from Make A Wish.

For example, my cousin, Samantha, a cancer survivor, was sent on a fabulous Disney World trip by Make A Wish. From the limo that picked her and her mother up at the airport to the accommodations (kids come first: all the furniture was kids-sized) to well, everything, it was a special, extremely rare experience that made Sam very, very happy. And they do this for a lot of cancer kids.

And, yeah, there's lots of bad diseases out there, as well as abuse and poverty. But, c'mon, have you been around kids with cancer? Going through chemo? It's hellish and they often die. I love Samantha, we get along well (we are having weekly Buffy marathons at my place now), but she inhabits a different world than most of the rest of us. She's a 13 year old who's been mortally ill and very aware of death in a matter-of-fact manner since she was 9. She's been friends with a lot of other kids with leukemia who've died.

It's tempting to think of these sorts of things that are done for cancer kids as being disproportionate or ultimately meaningless, or both. But I've watched Sam deal with her illness over these last five years and things like Make A Wish and Imus's Ranch and similar have been special times that have helped make all the misery a little more bearable. And among all this stuff, the Disney trip from Make A Wish stands far above the rest. Oh, not to mention how it helps the parents' morale, too.

So I think there's a lot more to what Make A Wish is doing than just grand gestures or even raising awareness. They're making a substantial difference in the happiness of a not-insignificant number of extremely ill children.

Finally, there's a lot of synergy between a bunch of these different programs and their related publicity and the actual fund raising for cancer research targeted to the varieties that children get. This research costs a lot of money and it requires publicity to keep people's awareness of it.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 3:04 PM on July 11, 2007 [4 favorites]


I want a pin that says "Experience the Power of a Pickle."
posted by ottereroticist at 3:09 PM on July 11, 2007


When I was a kid I lived in Egleston (Emory University) for a few months, in 1984, with my family as we were by my brother's bedside. I experienced a few Make-a-Wish Foundation events including my own brother's.

Anytime a celebrity came for one of the recipients they would always walk through the hospital meeting other kids. Therefore many kids benefited from that one wish.
My brother asked to meet David Hasslehoff and KIT, and they showed up. However, it was not one of my brother's better days and he opted not to see him. He didn't have the strength for it.
Instead Hasselhoff and KIT was at the hospital for a few hours. You had to go outside to talk to KIT (as far as I know it was William Daniels' voice), but Hasselhoff walked through the hospital.. room by room.

There's other organizations besides Make-a-Wish that help out sick children... we just don't hear about them as often (or at all). They're just more publicly renown for their work.
posted by czechmate at 3:21 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


"I wish to be the boss of the ice cream man." Crap, now I'm crying again.

Thanks! Now I'm sniffling and tearing-up. Fuck, shit...stop crying. Okay, fair game for those who don't click through to ottereroticist's link.
"Robin, with his little hands on his hips, asked, 'Can you make me the boss of the ice cream man?'

He explained that every day when the ice cream truck comes through his neighborhood, some of his friends don't have enough money for ice cream. He said that he feels very fortunate that his mother makes sure that he does have enough money for ice cream—but that eight quarters is a lot of money for ice cream.

He always tells his friends, 'When I grow up, I am going to be boss of the ice cream man and make him give everyone ice cream!'

Instead of asking for something like a dream vacation, or the chance to meet his favorite celebrity, Robin's number one wish was to give something to those less fortunate than him.

On a beautiful spring day, Robin got his wish. The Make-A-Wish Foundation outfitted him with a cap proclaiming him 'Ice Cream Man' and put him behind the counter of a neighborhood ice cream truck. All day long Robin rode around with a big grin on his face, asking his friends, 'Whaddya want?'

And because of his generous wish, all of Robin's friends got ice cream that day."
If you don't choke up at that by the tiniest bit, you win matt_od's Crotchety Old Man of the Day Award.
posted by ericb at 3:23 PM on July 11, 2007


More than one child simply requested (and received, along with some surprise add-on experiences) a home computer. This kid wanted to go camping with the children he tutors. There have been plenty of parties, proms, and one baptism (the foundation made sure out-of-state relatives could attend).

Many of these smaller efforts are sponsored by local businesses and individuals....you can volunteer time, talents, resources, frequent flier miles, etc. here. These "gestures" are not limited to the large scale and grandiose....the best way to make more opportunities available is for more people to offer help (if you don't wish to work with Make a Wish, there's always your local children's hospital).
posted by availablelight at 3:28 PM on July 11, 2007 [2 favorites]


That ice cream kid is the awesomest.
posted by desjardins at 3:44 PM on July 11, 2007


There was a short story I read once (I think by David Brin, but I could be wrong) about a virus that spread through the giving of blood. The virus wanted so badly to spread to a new host, that it pumped up the endorphins in the giver's body during the blood donation process. The infected felt so good that they kept going back to give blood, and naturally the virus spread through the very blood they were donating over and over again. The story didn't stop there, however, as people started to feel so good about themselves that their inclination for altruism grew naturally, and they started to translate that natural high to other things.

I think about that every time I read a story like this. The grand gesture of the Make-A-Wish foundation, particularly the effect the gesture has on the people participating, makes me wonder on the addictive properties of altruism.

You notice something about the restaurant blog entry? They gave box lunches to the security detail that was waiting for the President to finish his lunch. How often do you think an upscale joint like that would think to donate food to the people taking care of their VIP guest?

I don't care what kind of rationalizations you have about the poor state of our society and how little this means in the "real" world. After reading that piece, I feel like volunteering for things today, I feel like going downtown and handing out food to the homeless, I need to feel a little bit of that high. I know I'm not alone in this.
posted by thanotopsis at 3:46 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


I have to echo what EB said about the foundation doing a whole lot more than this. A friend worked for them shortly after we graduated college together and I heard tons of amazing stories of many smaller wishes that came true. It seemed like his Los Angeles chapter was working with hundreds of kids all the time. I think his own caseload was about 7-10 kids every week, making arrangements for each and every wish they wanted. Some of the wishes were big, most were small, a whole heck of a lot of them just wanted a day at Disneyland. I seem to recall he got to help a lot of kids meet celebs as well.
posted by mathowie at 4:36 PM on July 11, 2007


The kid's 12, so the only president he's ever been aware of is George W. Bush, who was installed when the kid was 5 years old, and who has presided over an absolutely awful six-and-a-half years of domestic terror, global horror and American decline. The man is, at best, seen as a failure and a tool -- at worst, he's seen as a traitor, imbecile, sociopath, mass murderer and war criminal.

What would make a 12-year-old kid possibly want to "be" this for a day or even a minute?

When I was 12, the only presidents I actually experienced were Nixon (impeachment trial on the teevee), Ford (ineffectual moron; Chevy Chase gag), and Carter (weak, dour loser). None of them touched Bush Junior's administration as far as damage done to the nation and world, but wanting to be president at that time would've been about as popular with 12-year-old kids as wanting to eat a nice hot bowl of poisoned shit.
posted by kenlayne at 5:21 PM on July 11, 2007


Oh, also note who didn't take part in the little fantasy: Anybody from the actual White House. Assholes to the very end ....
posted by kenlayne at 5:23 PM on July 11, 2007


What would make a 12-year-old kid possibly want to "be" this for a day or even a minute?

Maybe because he admired those Presidents he learned about in school: Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy et al. -- and wanted to have an experience to which could aspire, if he were to have had a long and healthy life ahead.
posted by ericb at 5:26 PM on July 11, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, it makes more sense than wanting to work in a pickle factory.

Who knows, maybe the kid grew up watching The West Wing.
posted by ottereroticist at 5:27 PM on July 11, 2007


*to which he might have aspired*
posted by ericb at 5:28 PM on July 11, 2007


What would make a 12-year-old kid possibly want to "be" this for a day or even a minute?

More likely Sterling is "wise-beyond-his-years" and knew that he could show-up Bush with just one day's service to the country as 'President-for-a-Day.' The Ultimate Burn!

Heck ... the reception President Sterling received at his luncheon speaks volumes:
"At precisely 10:55 a.m., with the motorcade a mere five minutes away from arrival, I decided to head outside so that at least I would be there to see him arrive. Instead, I saw the entire wait staff assembled in line in the front foyer. I pushed through the front door and went outside to find my GM, the executive chef, and many more servers lined up on the sidewalk. Secret Service personnel hovered all around.

Wow.

‘You just missed him,’ said Chef.

‘What?’ I cried. ‘He’s not due for another five minutes!’

‘No, you missed the real President. He just drove by in his motorcade.’

‘Are you serious?’ I laughed.

‘Oh yeah, he thought we were all lined up to see him. He even waved to us. And all we thought was, ‘Nah, not you! We’re waiting for the OTHER President, our President!’

‘Right, ’cause we can see him anytime!’ I said.

And we all broke down laughing that hysterical, almost-crying laughter that is so hard to get under control.

Then we heard the sirens. Seconds later, a parade of cars made their way up the street as the stoplights held on red. Tourists flocked to the sidewalks, cameras at the ready. Who was coming? Must be someone really important, they whispered to one another.

The six-car motorcade pulled up–multiple SUVs, several sedans, and the President’s stretch limo. The security detail scanned the crowed, the pool press photographer readied her camera, and out stepped the President, so tiny for his eight years, with his best friend Stephen, and his parents and baby brother behind him."*
posted by ericb at 5:33 PM on July 11, 2007


Ottereroticist, thanks for clarifying what I was trying to say. I was distracted by the squirrel-catcher up in my attic and unable to complete my thoughts or really even fully understand why I wasn't as moved by it.

Extreme Makeover has bothered me for some time for exactly the reason mentioned above--it's an incredible amount of stuff to give to one, deserving family when so many need help. It becomes a story about the stuff rather than overcoming the featured family and its problems. Every time I try to articulate my reasoning, I sound and feel like early Scrooge. (And am I remembering wrong that when the program started out, it wasn't focused so much on disasters?)

I like the Make a Wish Foundation. I just couldn't warm up to this one kid's happy story as much as many others did.

I'll blame the heat.
posted by etaoin at 5:53 PM on July 11, 2007


Wait...how old is the kid? The blogger describes him as "so tiny" for 8, which to my eyes isn't true, and the Make-A-Wish site lists him as 12.
posted by Ian A.T. at 9:59 PM on July 11, 2007


Twenty-four years from now, the question may well be asked:

"Where are you, President Sterling Wilson? Your people need you."
posted by mephron at 9:00 AM on July 12, 2007


"crotchety old man of the day award goes to..."

Look. I'm as crotchety as they come, and I'm willing to forego my usual sour lemon pessimism. Only one problem. Can't access the page. I click on the link and it says page not found. Print version and nonprint version. Guess I'm not holding my mouth just right when I click on it.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:52 PM on July 12, 2007


...never mind. It finally worked for me. Had to try it a couple times and hold my mouth just right.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:54 PM on July 12, 2007


"Sterling learned that a plane had been hijacked!! Sterling quickly took charge of the situations and talked the hijacker down and all passengers were returned safely to the ground."

Okay, that's where I teared up.

Most any other day I will bah humbug any insinuation that in today's society any man or woman can grow up to be president of the United States of America. It doesn't work that way anymore.

For one day, it was true again. God bless America.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:03 PM on July 12, 2007


what a load of rubbish.

I really find something detestable about those "Make A Wish" foundations... People get sick. Some Don't. Some are kids.. big deal.

Why do they get their "wish".
Why do people waste their time and money on this sentimental bullshit when there are actually larger real issues that coudl be dealt with...

Typical American "individualistic" bullshit.
posted by mary8nne at 11:24 PM on July 12, 2007


Typical American "individualistic" bullshit.

Mary Ersatz -- would you like lemon with your tea?
posted by ericb at 11:31 PM on July 12, 2007


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