Our Clear-Eyed Diarist in top form.
(Page 3 of 3)
An astounding day. I awakened at 5 a.m. YES! Five a.m. EDT, which is 2 a.m. my time in Los Angeles. I staggered to the airport and flew, dead asleep, to Minneapolis. There I went to a super trendy, ultra-hip hotel called “The Graves 601” and took a nap. Then I talked to some more financial people, and then had lunch with them. They were lovely folks who, rightly, are concerned about Americans’ retirement prospects. How is a generation of boomers who were ill prepared before going to retire now that their savings have been cut in half or so by the stock market crash? Nice work, Henry M. Paulson, for not doing the smart thing right away but instead letting world confidence in financial markets simply vanish. Has there ever been a worse Treasury Secretary than Mr. Paulson? I don’t think so.
I took a short nap after my speech, then flew to D.C., to my beloved home town, and went out to dinner with my pal Mike Long and his son, Sam, the webmaster of my website. It was cold out but we ate outside at Bangkok Joe’s and met many beautiful girls from U. Va.
Then, to bed and a long sleep.
I am pretty sure my parents are here watching over me.
Off to Walter Reed with my pal, Russ Ferguson, future President.
The first wounded man we saw, a Private Kouchlar if I have that right, was an amazing man. He had both of his legs blown off in Iraq. He could recall every detail of the catastrophe. He could even remember what he was listening to on his iPod when the EFP hit him. It was Eminem singing “F—k You Osama bin Laden” and it was the part where there are spoken words by George Bush sampled by Eminem, words about finding bin Laden wherever he is. He could remember what he said to a black sergeant who kept him awake so he didn’t die of shock. (“Keep your long alien fingers out of my face,” was what he said.) He could remember what kind of Gatorade he drank as he was being hauled out of the blown-up vehicle. He could remember exactly how the men who hauled him out of the vehicle put their hands so they could lift him. (“I’m a big guy,” he said, “and it’s because the EFP hit me and I absorbed the shock that the two guys in the back are still alive.”)
Anyway, Pvt. Kouchlar said he willed himself to stay alive so his brother, who was standing next to his bed, would not have to bury him, as he had buried his mother and father. Needless to say, I was sobbing.
Everyone else Russ and I met were also brave, magnificent men. Compare them with Wall Street and you really get upset.
We ran into a famous wrestler, Mr. Bradshaw, and his bond analyst lady, Meredith Whitney, both long-time colleagues, and they invited us to a country music concert that night in Fairfax. It was to benefit wounded soldiers. Russ and I straggled out there to hear Trace Adkins and Alan Jackson. It was wayyyy too loud, but we stayed for about half an hour and then left.
I am very tired.
Ben Stein’s Diary runs in every issue of The American Spectator.