I hate when that happens

Patrick Ercolano

August 29, 1991|By Patrick Ercolano | Patrick Ercolano,Patrick Ercolano is a reporter for The Evening Sun. !

POOR George Bush! The man can't seem to get in a decent vacation without some foreign crisis rearing its ugly headline.

Last August it was the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait that scotched his month in Maine. This August, it was the attempted Soviet coup.

It truly is time to weep. I mean, how the heck is a guy supposed to enjoy barreling over pristine New England waters on the ol' presidential speedboat when these global imbroglios keep cropping up?

"What is it about August?" the president whined at the start of the Soviet coup. The quote reminded me of those "Saturday Night Live" skits in which Billy Crystal and Christopher Guest played the dweeby night-watchmen who complained, "I hate when that happens."

I can sympathize with Bush about the vacation thing. Far too often I've had a holiday or some other outing ruined -- positively ruined! -- by a breaking international event.

The first time came in 1965. I was 7. My family, following our annual custom, was spending a week in Wildwood, N.J. But I couldn't relax. I was too worried about the clash of Indian and Pakistani forces in the disputed state of Kashmir.

I tried making sand castles, but they all had a rundown look

about them. Eventually I just sat at the water's edge and stared at the waves, sighing.

My mother walked over and asked me, "What's wrong?"

"This Kashmir business, Mom," I whined. "I'm really upset. What is it about August?"

She answered, "Son, it's all just part of the endless march of folly committed by a race of beings who have yet to learn that violence solves little to nothing. Have a cookie."

Fast-forward to the night of my high school senior prom. I was driving to the school gym in my big brother's '67 Rambler. My date, the slow-witted but reasonably stacked Mary Beth Ann Sue Margaret Kwicziosjkowitz, rode by my side. Suddenly the car radio crackled with the news that the British pound had hit a record low.

I pulled the car over and told Mary Beth Ann etc., "That's it. The evening's shot. I can't have fun at the prom when I know the pound's at a record low."

"Don't be an idiot," she said.

That was our last date, by the way.

It wasn't until my wedding day, a few years ago, that I realized my problem was getting out of hand. I wanted to postpone the ceremony because South Korean police had just refused to let that country's students march to Panmunjom to discuss national reunification with North Korean students.

My wife-to-be was able to talk me out of postponing, with the help of her father's prized collection of Zulu hunting implements. However, when the minister asked me to say "I do," I said, "Awright already, I do, but I don't know how you all can be standing around so happy and jolly when the South Korean police won't let the students march to Panmunjom!"

Since then, I'm glad to report, I've managed to worry less about such calamities. President Bush should try to do likewise. For the sake of his sanity and his vacations, he should learn not to worry his head so much over every global mess. In other words, he should approach international problems the same way he deals with domestic problems.

Otherwise, the poor man will be whining and asking again, "What is it about August?"

I hate when that happens.

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