The Guilfoile-Warner Papers

October 26

Friday morning I ran to the store with my boys. It was just before noon when I rolled up to the checkout, my cart loaded with groceries and toddlers. A man with a blue jumpsuit and gold chain got in line behind me with a chilled six pack of High Life in his fist. I offered to let him go ahead of me. He shouldered past us without a thank you, but the clerk stopped him, explaining that she had already scanned my frequent shopper card and would have to follow through with my purchase. This stranger for whom I'd tried to do a small kindness then unleashed a stream of Lee Elia expletives in front of my kids. And as I tried desperately to cover four tiny ears with two big hands, I thought to myself, This is him! Joe Six Pack! Complete with six pack! And with all his f-bombs and a-bombs he's trying to tell me something! He was trying to tell me that he is stressed out. But McCain's problem is that Joe isn't stressed about the things John McCain wants him to be stressed about. He doesn't care about Bill Ayers or the effects of Obama's tax plan. Joe's far more worried that he might end up losing that sweet, poorly supervised county job where he can run out for beer on his lunch hour. And that's why John McCain's campaign is stressed out. All that stress is spilling out into the media, where sources within McCain's camp are calling Sarah Palin a "rogue candidate" and a "diva." I guess tension between presidential candidates and their running mates is nothing new (Otter was always undermining Jed Bartlet, after all) , but the "diva" comment, especially on the damaged high heels of the $150,000 makeover, and the per diems for staying in her own house, and the lavish travel expenses for her family, surely seems dipped in personal venom. The picture now being painted of Sarah Palin, even from inside the McCain campaign, resembles Material Girl far more than Barracuda. And the closest Madonna ever came to "Joe Six Pack" was while licking white chocolate and tequila off Jose Canseco's abs. Today's New York Times runs a post-mortem on the eight-year cottage industry of Bush-bashing books. Our own My First Presidentiary isn't mentioned, even though I still like to immodestly think it was a pioneering effort in the genre of hastily written political cartoon books. We might not have been the first Bush book after the inauguration (I think we missed that by a week) but I believe we were the first to top the bestseller lists. (In fact, if you're ever over at the house of the guys who wrote The Worst Case Scenario Survival Handbook, don't bring us up. No doubt it's still a sore point.) Anyway, for the historical record and following the Times style, here is my own post-mortem on My First Presidentiary: Sales: That's an excellent question. The truth is, no writer ever knows exactly how many copies of his books have actually sold. That's why, even with their biggest bestsellers, publishers always say "Over 5 Million Copies in Print!" Because they know how many they printed. They just aren't always sure what happens to them after that. They claimed they printed 75,000 copies of MFP, but they really printed about 45,000 or something because everyone in publishing assumes that everyone else in publishing is lying, and so you have to inflate your numbers to account for the downward correction that everyone else is making in their head. It did pretty well, apparently, but it never went into a second printing so I think we can safely boast, "Fewer than 45,000 copies sold!" Someone might ask why we don't check our royalty statements. Yeah, even though you and I wrote and illustrated the entire thing, we also pretty much waived our rights to any royalties on that project. I don't know about you, but I walked away (seriously) with a dining room set. Impact: Yeah, none. Obvious. Original reporting: We were the first to blow the whistle on the Bush administration's plan to build a Moon-Based Death Ray. Inevitable Reader Reaction: "Hilarious, but I agree with the reviewer who said it is a waste of paper..." --Amazon review References that were funny then, but require Wikipedia to understand now: (1.) George writes a letter refusing clemency to Mumia Abu-Jamal, but confuses him with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; (2.) Waterworld; (3.) Hillary Clinton's cattle futures; (4.) "Who has put pubic hair on my Coke"; (5.) Gale Norton; (6.) James Watt; (7.) Robert Coles; (8.) Spenser For Hire; (9.) Parliament Funkadelic; (10) Tubbs; (11.) Elian Gonzalez; (12.) Star Trek TNG (13.) Tabitha Soren; (14.) Chico and the Man; (15.) Funky Phantom; (16.) Simon Bar Sinister; (17.) Paul Sorvino; (18.) Linda Chavez; (19.) Ann Veneman; (20.) Leeza Gibbons; (21.) El Duque; (22.) Todd Bridges (23.) Coal. What about you? Any last words for our old friend?
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