When a person is a reporter such as I, they get to talk to people of a certain caliber. It’s just what we do. For instance, once I interviewed Jack Nicklaus. I stood that close to greatness and that was all I did. I had to record what other reporters asked because…sports.
Another time I was among a group of reporters covering the opening of a new exit on a tollway and—hold onto your wigs and keys—the Governor of Illinois was there and—wait for it—he hadn’t even been sentenced to jail yet.
After a while we can get a little jaded in our search to uncover the truth so, when I was recently sent out to interview the big guy, and I’m not talking about the Deputy Mayor of Bartlett, although he’s a big wig in Bartlett.
I’m talking about the Top Dog, the Great Kahuna, The Man Upstairs, The Chairman of the Board…wait…that’s Sinatra who’s only the Vice Top Dog.
Because this person is who he is, I was asked to keep his name out of print, but let’s just say the letters in his name are also the letters in the word dog. We will refer to him from this point as “G”.
Me: Hello, sir. It’s a surprising honor for you to take time out of your day to meet with me.
G: Don’t mention it. I have all the time in the world…Get it? All the time in the world is what I have.
Me: Yes, sir. Very amusing.
G: Because everything in the universe belongs to me.
Me: Uh-huh. So…How are you today?
G: Almighty. Omnipotent. My arthritis is flaring up a bit.
Me: You have arthritis? Can’t you heal that?
G: No need. I got something from my doctor. Doesn’t make me drowsy. And you know what they say; nobody likes a drowsy Lord of the Universe.
Me: Who says that?
G: Pretty sure I heard it somewhere.
Me: I’ll take your word for it.
G: It is the word of the Lord.
Me: Good to know. Shall we get started?
G: That’s why I’m here. Of course, as we just established, I’m everywhere.
Me: Uh-huh. What is your opinion of the 10 Commandments now that some time has passed? Anything you’d take out or add?
G: I was just thinking about updating them recently. I mean, it’s pretty much a given that you shouldn’t murder or steal, etc. The name in vain thing though, I’ve just thrown up my hands on that one. And coveting? Meh. What’s a little coveting among friends? Most people don’t even have oxen anymore.
Me: But isn’t the coveting thing, more or less, about thankfulness for what you have?
G: Sure. You know the old saying: if you’re on your toes looking over the fence at your neighbor’s stuff, you’re going to get a Charlie Horse.
Me: That’s not a saying, sir.
G: Well, it should be. They can’t all make the Book of Proverbs, you know. Anyway, let’s just say, try to mind your own business. Also, a wife shouldn’t be categorized as a thing someone owns.
Me: Very progressive, Sir.
G: Well, you know, you live, you learn.
Me: Any hobbies?
G: I’m a creative person, so I like to dabble here and there. I’m thinking of trying something new though. People just don’t seem to notice what I’ve put together. I mean, why should you need to tell someone to stop and smell the roses? They’re there! They’re waiting to be admired! As I always say, Gather ye roses while ye may.
Me: Pretty sure that was Robert Herrick, sir.
G: That’s because I inspired him to write that.
M: uh-huh…Anyway, is love all you need?
G: That and a good recipe for chocolate cake.
Me: What was your greatest miracle?
G: The 2016 Cubs.
Me: Very impressive.
G: It took some doing, let me tell you.
Me: I can imagine. What do you think of our political system? Any advice?
G: Could be better. For instance, I’ve always thought a good way to elect officials would be to hold a singing competition.
Me: What now?
G: Like The Voice. The preliminaries are like the primaries and the general election would be the top singers, singing for their life. Now, that’s something I could get into.
Me: What if the winner is no good at governing?
G: Begin another singing contest.
G: One can only listen to the Messiah Chorus and Joan Osborne so much, you know? Yeah, yeah, God is good and yeah, yeah God is great. It gets tedious.
Me: Do you have any favorite musicians?
G: Well, I mean who doesn’t love The Beatles?
Me: What about all that mess with John Lennon saying The Beatles are greater than God? Didn’t that upset you?
G: They are much better musicians. I just can’t get the hang of a guitar after playing a lute all these years. Lennon’s been working with me. Did you know he learned to play on a banjo?
Me: I did not. Back to the commandments. Anything you’d add?
G: Oh, sure. If I knew people were going to chew so loudly, I’d have certainly addressed that.
G: And people who talk at the theater and concerts and movies. Sometimes I feel like smiting. Good me. If you have to talk go somewhere where you don’t bother anyone, like—Also, put the carts back in the cart corral and hang the clothes back up when your done trying them on.
(At this point a bit of thunder could be heard).
I mean, just don’t be a jerk. Road rage, really? Save your anger for what really matters: like when they cancel all the good TV shows.
(Thunder gets louder).
Me: Huh. Well, that’s about all I need—
G: Wait. One more thing. Stop abusing the less powerful in general. For the love of me! It takes nothing away from you to be kind. (At this point he covered his eyes with his hands.).
(Lighting flashes and rain begins.)
G: Karma’s a thing! And Instant Karma is going to get you…hold on…I’m being told that Lennon wrote that. (Whispers.) He can be a real poop about his music.
Me: Anything else?
G: Well, sometimes he gets crabby about McCartney still touring.
G: I mean, good golly, that boy can entertain.
Me: Yes sir. And he’s pretty cute too.
G: You’re welcome.
Me: Any final words?
G: The love you take is equal to the love you make. As the great prophet said: People can love you just the way you are.
Me: Wasn’t that Mr. Rogers?
Me: Nothing, Sir.
G: What was I saying? Oh! Once you love yourself, apply that to your fellow human beings. You know? I should have put that into the book. Imagine. Nothing to kill or die for. A brotherhood of man.
Me: Um, two back up comments. 1: You did make that rule. It’s known as the Golden Rule. And 2: You’re quoting Lennon, again.
G: (Holds up a finger) John! Play something else!
Me: So you can hear him sing whenever?
G: Whenever he’s in the mood. Artists, you know?
Me: Well, thanks for…everything. Please tell John we miss him.
G: You’re welcome and he knows.
G: Don’t eat too much sugar!
Me: I won’t.
G: It’s not nice to lie to me.
G: I forgive you.
G: Don’t take any wooden nickels.
Me: Thanks. I’ll try not to.
G: I’ll see you later.
Me: Much, I hope.
G: (Pantomimes locking his lips and throwing away the key.)
Me: Well, that’s not disconcerting.
G: (Shrugs) (sings) It’s the circle of life and it moves us all. I wrote that!
Me: Yes, well…it’s lovely. Goodbye, sir
G: Goodbye! Love you!
Me: Goodbye, sir. Thanks for…everything.
G: Thanks for thanking me. Amen.