“Guess who I saw today?”
Those were the first words out of my husband’s mouth when he came home from work the other day. What kind of question is that? How the hell am I supposed to know who he saw – the possibilities were infinite. I’m not a fan of guessing games, especially guessing games that I had absolutely no chance of winning. But because I’m such a kind, loving and sarcastic supportive wife, I acted like I cared and played along.
“No but you’re close”
“Rachael Ray?” (Rachael Ray? Oh yeah, on the spectrum of human beings, Rachael Ray is real close to Jerry Springer – they’re practically twins. You can see that I wasn’t putting a whole lot of thought or effort into this guessing game.)
“No, not Rachael Ray”.
My husband scrolled through his cell phone for a minute and when he found what he was searching for, he thrust it in my face. I found myself staring at this photo:
As I looked at the picture I thought wow, that’s a damn good Rod Blagojevich impersonator. He’s even got that infamous Lego man hair helmet going on. I kept staring at the photo. OMG! That’s no impersonator, that’s the real Rod Blagojevich! My readers from Illinois are all too familiar with Rod Blagojevich and can appreciate how funny this photo is. And if for some reason you’re a reader from Illinois and you don’t know about Rod Blagojevich, what’s up with that? Have you been living under a rock? In a convent? (What? Oh, you have been living in a convent….my sincerest apologies Sister Mary Frances. Thanks for reading and praise bejeezus). My readers from outside of Illinois may know Rod Blagojevich from various news or talk shows but may not be completely familiar with Rod and his escapades. In short, Rod “Blago” Blagojevich is the former governor of Illinois. He was indicted on federal corruption charges including charges that he tried to sell Barack Obama’s senate seat to the highest bidder. The smoking gun in this case appears to be secretly recorded phone conversations in which Rod swears like a mommy blogger sailor and even refers to the senate seat as “f*#!ing golden”.
How in the world did my husband end up in a photo with his arm around ex-governor Rod Blagojevich? My husband explained that a business associate had called that day and asked him if he wanted to go to the Cubs game. Although he’s not a big baseball fan, the tickets were practically right behind home plate, so my husband decided to go to the game. Usually at this point in our conversation I would initiate our typical “going to the Cubs game is not work” debate. I would start out by saying going to the Cubs game is not work. He would reply that it is work because he went with a business associate. I would say that’s not work and the only people who can legitimately claim to be working at Wrigley Field are the players on the field or the guys walking around selling peanuts and beer. He would counter by saying they needed to talk about business. My reply would be that if they needed to talk about business he could sit his ass down in his office and pick up a phone. Then my closing argument would be that we pay for a nanny to watch our children so we can work, not so we can go to the Cubs game. Oh yeah, checkmate – for the win! But today there would be no winner, no gloating, no debate. This time I let it slide because it was f*#!ing Rod Blagojevich!
So my husband got to the Cubs game and his seat was in the 6th row right behind home plate. When he sat down he noticed the person sitting in front of him was attracting a lot of attention. This person in front of him must be a celebrity, he thought. Was it an actor, a singer, a criminal? Why, yes, it was a criminal – it was ex-governor Rod Blagojevich! As word spread throughout the stands that Blago was at the game, Cubs fans made their way down to his seat. They approached rowdy Roddy B. with pens and cell phones in hand in hopes of getting an autograph, picture or video. Although people were staring and pointing at the ex-governor, my husband observed that people were well behaved and weren’t making snide or rude comments. Personally, I would have asked Blago how much he’d sell his 5th row Cubs seat for, but my husband said no one made any smartass comments like that. Blagojevich was very friendly and accommodating, eager to fulfill the requests for autographs and pictures, including my husband’s photo request. And in between taking pictures and giving autographs, Rod gave Cubs fans the same load of crap he’s been shoveling on talk shows and to anyone who will listen: “I did nothing wrong. The tapes will prove it. Once all of the tapes come out, I will be vindicated!” Good old Rod Blagojevich – you can take the man out of politics but you can’t take the politician out of the man.
There was someone else at that Cubs game with Blagojevich – his 12-year-old daughter. My husband said that as he witnessed the Blagojevich spectacle, he felt sorry for Blago’s daughter. Even though I wasn’t there, I felt bad for her too. What started out as a father and a daughter spending time together at the Cubs game, turned into a small circus. Blagojevich’s daughter has grown up with her dad in the limelight so she ‘s probably used to having crowds around her. But it’s different now. The reason people used to approach Rod Blagojevich was because they admired him; they respected him as a political leader and a person. Today that respect and adoration is merely a figment of Blagojevich’s imagination. When people encounter Blago now, there’s plenty of smirking, whispering and laughing. My husband didn’t get a photo with the ex-governor because he admires him, he did it because having a picture of him & Rod Blagojevich is hilarious – it makes a great cocktail party story/blog post/Facebook profile picture. Blagojevich’s antics have made him a buffoon, the punchline of a joke. And his 12-year-old daughter is old enough to realize this too. She’s old enough to know that people are pointing and laughing at her father. She’s old enough to know that people are not saying kind things about her father. She’s also old enough to know how serious the charges are against him and that her father may go to jail. If Blagojevich does go to jail, it will provide plenty of jokes for late night comedians. Perhaps a Top Ten list for David Letterman. Maybe a joke like – hair today, jail tomorrow. “Jail tomorrow” may be a great punchline, but I know of 2 girls who will not find any humor in it. For Rod Blagojevich’s 12-year-old and 6-year-old daughters, that’s no punchline, that’s reality. What tends to be forgotten among the jokes, the spectacle, the absurdity of Rod Blagojevich, is that 2 young girls may lose their father to prison. And as much as Rod Blagojevich tries to laugh and make light of the predicament he’s in, for his girls there is nothing to laugh at.