I must admit it was very thoughtful of President Barack Obama-the man who once saved my life in 'Nam-to fly all the way to El Paso, Texas just to wish me a Happy Birthday. The original plan was to sneak off and spend a few days gambling at the Inn of the Mountain Gods, but, with the recent criticism of him taking too many vacations and flying to too many fund-raisers, he had to make it look like he was in town for a legitimate reason.
He came to town as part of his "I Killed bin Laden" tour, and brought Little Joe Y la Familia as his opening act.
"Just make sure you don't bring the wife and kids," I told him.
So, while the President said his speeches, shook his hands, and kissed his babies, I was led aboard Air Force One. The plan was to play a game or two of one-on-one on the full-sized basketball court on the plane, and, after that, we were going to take a dip in the Olympic-sized swimming pool.
"Maybe next time we can play tennis or some golf," Obama suggested.
That Air Force One. It's bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside, and it looks huge on the outside. When I asked him how they were able to fit it all in, Obama admitted that they used the alien technology they found in the crashed spacecrafts in Roswell.
"Just don't tell anyone," he cautioned me. This was during his first year in office when we took Air Force One out for a victory spin.
"Honey, I'm going out for a pack of cigarettes," he yelled upstairs to his wife, and we were gone before she could stop yelling at the help. We ended up at Chico's Tacos for a double order and some fries. Obama laughed at the way they used hamburger buns for their hot dogs.
"But it's a good idea," he admitted.
When his presidential duties were over, and he finally made it back to Air Force One, I couldn't help but notice that he looked older. Tired. His hair noticeably grayer. Veins bulging in his temples. A few stray hairs poking out of his ears.
"You look worse than the economy," I joked.
"It's this constant criticism of everything I do. It's really wearing on me."
"How so?" I asked. I wasn't particularly interested, but the sooner he vented the sooner we'd get to the fun stuff.
"It's just that I get blamed for everything! Doesn't everybody know that all this bad news began with George Bush? The economy? George Bush. The wars in the Middle East? George Bush. 3D movies? That was George Bush, too, but it's all sticking to me like death on bin Laden."
"Nah, that one was strickly me, baby!" He paused, and grew thoughtful again. "George Bush had it easy compared to me. No one ever criticized him for anything." He looked at his watch. "I hate to cut our visit short, but I've got to go."
"It's that George Bush, man. It's all George Bush."
El Paso! The Barack Obama Of Cities!