Deuce of Clubs Book Club
After offering to put "a favorite photo or special image" on my credit card, the credit card company rejected a photo of a Deuce of Clubs street sign because it was "possibly copyrighted material," yet had no problem whatsoever with me using the image of former U.S. Vice-President J. Danforth Quayle:
What was the question, again?
Once upon a time, former United States Vice-President J. Danforth Quayle came to town to sign books and campaign for the presidential nomination of his party.
We learned of this opportunity from a bookstore receipt. There was no debate. Wagner would have to attend.
The majority opinion was that Quayle would be signing copies of his own book, Standing Firm.
The minority opinion was that he would sign What a Waste It Is to Lose One's Mind (a compendium of Quayle foolishness by the editors of The Quayle Quarterly).
Often at a book signing you have to buy a book to get in the autograph line. D.o.C. operative Babs (whom I had known only a short time) and I were prepared to make this heavy sacrifice. Armed with only the head of Wagner (which had popped off his body, yet again, when Babs demonstrated her idea of a drug "drop," using Wagner’s traveling bag as her prop -- with Wagner inside), we arrived to find crowds of people standing outside the building.
Apparently someone had found an old bag unattended inside the bookstore, which was naturally assumed to be full of high explosives. It turned out to be a bag of old clothes, but this bag was plenty explosive in terms of our purposes, for the customary controlled conditions of a booksigning had now given way to a sidewalk scene of abounding chaos. And chaos to Wagner is like chum to a shark. Former Vice-President of the United States, J. Danforth Quayle, would be subject to the predatory stalking of a twelve-inch-tall statue.
We pushed through the crowd and Babs approached Master Quayle, who was at first pretty darned good-natured.
Babs: Can we take a picture of you and me with the head of Wagner?(Oddly, though we were all standing outside in the heat because of a BOMB SCARE, neither Quayle nor anyone in his Secret Service detail thought to wonder whether that there might be anything ka-boomy inside this small, round object being thrust in their direction.)
After the photo, the real moment of truth: Babs put the book in front of Quayle for his autograph. Cleverly, she handed it to him already opened, so he signed before he finally got the idea to close the book and see what he'd just autographed. When he saw it was What a Waste It Is to Lose One's Mind, his face was momentarily drained of its well-trained, semi-permanent smile. Awwwwwwww is the sound his grimace would have made, if grimaces did that sort of thing. But he handed back the book anyway, and we took our fallback position among the none-the-wiser masses.
But we weren't finished yet. About 10 minutes later, still riding the Wagner buzz, Babs decided she wanted to experience the magic again. We bee-lined over to where Quayle was still hanging out. Quayle, ever vigilant, regarded the approach with puzzlement and worry.
Babs: Can we take a picture of you and me with the head of Wagner?Only this time, Quayle refused to look at the camera:
An Arizona Republic photographer snapped the Quayle/ Babs/Wagner tableau and asked Babs for her name and the name of her porcelain companion. I had to correct the photographer's spelling of Wagner ("no, not Vaugner"). Unfortunately, two unworthy photos were printed in the next day's paper -- no Wagner. It would have been a big score for Wagner: that newspaper was founded by Quayle's family.
We adjourned to a nearby coffee shop, but after about thirty minutes Babs remembered with regret that she had neglected to accomplish a task she had set herself: get Dan to touch Wagner. With a renewed sense of mission, back we went. When he saw us coming this time, Quayle was positively edgy.
Quayle: What NOW?(Interlude: What IS it with politicians refusing to hold Wagner?)
Babs: Come on. Hold him.Somehow, by pushing the head of Wagner at him (with still no reaction from Secret Service agents, unless you count restrained snickering) Babs managed to get Quayle to hold Wagner's head at arm's length, in a pose that suggested the detection of disagreeable odor.
Again we withdrew. A few more minutes passed. Quayle was still in the area. Babs was eyeing him, brainwheels spinning. If she kept approaching Quayle, I said, she would eventually find herself body-slammed by Secret Service men.
Turns out that this would be no new experience for her: she actually was body-slammed by a Secret Service man when, while jogging in Houston, she spotted George Herbert Walker Bush fishing from his docked boat and ran toward him. After Bush pere gave her the thumb's-up, she spent the next hour or so drinking beer with him on the boat. He thought she was "spunky" and said how much "his Babs" would like her ("Oh, you're a CARD, you are," he kept saying).
The Secret Service, then, engenders no fear in the heart of Babs. Fortunately for some combination of Babs, Quayle, me, and the Secret Service, Quayle managed to get away.
As we walked to the car, Babs said, "This is fun! Can we do this every day?"
Many thanks to babsomatic