Where the money is

Art Buchwald

August 27, 1993|By Art Buchwald

Martha's Vineyard -- I WISH to make one thing perfectly clear. The people of Martha's Vineyard have no intention of profiting on President Clinton and his wife, Hillary. We expect to make our money on the Secret Service. There are now an estimated 15,000 Secret Service men on the island, not counting Clint Eastwood, and they all eat pizza after every shift. So in every kitchen on the island families are working 24 hours a day producing pizza for the president's bodyguards.

The first inkling we had that the president was coming here for his vacation was when two well-dressed gentlemen showed up in the chief of police's office in July and said, "We want 2,000 of your people to guard the road, 3,000 more on the beaches, and we'll take all the mounted patrolmen you've got."

The chief said, "I have only seven men on the force."

"Good," said the Secret Service agent. "We'll take them."

"Who is going to pay for it?" the chief asked.

"Don't worry. It will be in the president's next budget."

The vacationers and residents of Martha's Vineyard are torn as to whether they want the president on the island. In a recent referendum the resort was split 50 percent for and 50 percent against.

The vote was so close that the president is bringing in Vice President Al Gore to break the tie.

People are not faulting Mr. Clinton for coming here -- it's that we islanders will never be the same after his visit.

Rumor has it that six luxury cruise ships jammed with tourists on their way to Bermuda heard the president was here, and the boats were ordered by the owners to turn around and head back at full steam for the Vineyard.

The ferries from the mainland are chock-full of day visitors who were all promised that if they bought tour tickets they could have a golf game with the president.

The restaurants are jammed with hungry visitors who can't get anything to eat because all the college kids who have been working on the island have quit to "see" the president.

But the worst thing is the psychic blows inflicted on the people of the Vineyard. Everyone hopes in his heart to be invited to a social event attended by the President and Mrs. Clinton.

It's a typical have and have-not situation -- those who have invitations don't give a damn about those who don't. The people not invited have two choices: one is to say they wouldn't be caught dead at the summer White House; the second is to put on their snorkel masks and refuse to talk about what they did while the Clintons were here.

Another way to handle not being invited is to pretend you have been. It's no problem to fake it.

"Did I see the Clintons when they were here? You know and I know I can't answer that question. Let's just say they drove us home after Jackie's dinner and leave it at that."

"What I admire about the president when he's at the beach is that even if you make over $200,000 a year, he never kicks sand in your face."

Art Buchwald is a syndicated columnist.

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