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Sunday 16 Jun 2024

The PPE Game
David Simmonds

It's early December, 2008. Barack Obama is president-in-fact. George W. Bush is still president-in-law. Zillions of people, around the world, are going to sleep at night thinking "revenge is a dish best eaten cold: how should W get his comeuppance?

Yes, it's time for us to play "Let's find him suitable Post-Presidential Employment" - the PPE game. The key to the game is not to find him the most miserable job you can think of (e.g. the person who wakes up Hillary Clinton at 3 in the morning), but to find him the one with the right blend of misery and poetic justice. Among the ideas submitted so far are:

- He works for Donald Rumsfeld. Then he'll find out why Iraq wasn't going to work.

- He becomes a floor manager at Home Depot. Then he'll find out how easy it is in real life to address problems without wanting to hear the facts.

- He and Stephane Dion form Shrub and Steve's Nucular School of English Diction, Syntax and Grammar.

- He is put in charge of performance reviews for all senior executives whose firms have received federal bailout money. He must include the phrase "Good job, Brownie" in every assessment.

- He goes to work for the CIA and has to read all the mail that they should never have been allowed to open in the first place .

- He can pick any country he wants; invade it; declare "major hostilities are over"; and then stick around for a while.

- He has to hang around and pass some quality time with Dick Cheney.

- He has to go home, look his mother in the eye, and stay in his room as long as she makes him. And then wait till his father gets home.

- He is put in charge of presenting a slide show prepared by Colin Powell, entitled "Definitive Proof of the Loch Ness Monster".

- He becomes CEO of General Motors. After all, many say bankruptcy is the best course for this baby, and W has eight years' experience bankrupting a large organization.

- He becomes a TV Weatherman, to continue working in position where it is possible to maintain your job even though no-one believes a word you say.

- He becomes a spokesperson for Grecian Formula 3. Grey hair, smirk and good looks - it's either this or ED commercials.

- He has to team up with Bill Clinton and learn the skills of a roving goodwill ambassador.

- He takes a long journey up to the Arctic with Al Gore to see the icecaps. Just the two of them.

- He has to write a book listing his accomplishments that will weigh in at over 60 pages.

- He has to attend all of Condoleezza Rice's piano recitals. And be the page turner.

- He becomes a Sunday School teacher and illustrates the lessons of the Bible from his own actions as president.

- He enters the NBA's annual All-Star Slam Dunk Contest.

- [Your idea goes here...].Perhaps history will be kinder to the outgoing president than his contemporaries. But history won't have the fun we're going to have over the next few weeks playing the PPE game.

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Some readers seem intent on nullifying the authority of David Simmonds. The critics are so intense; Simmonds is cast as more scoundrel than scamp. He is, in fact, a Canadian writer of much wit and wisdom. Simmonds writes strong prose, not infrequently laced with savage humour. He dissects, in a cheeky way, what some think sacrosanct. His wit refuses to allow the absurdities of life to move along, nicely, without comment. What Simmonds writes frightens some readers. He doesn't court the ineffectual. Those he scares off are the same ones that will not understand his writing. Satire is not for sissies. The wit of David Simmonds skewers societal vanities, the self-important and their follies as well as the madness of tyrants. He never targets the outcasts or the marginalised; when he goes for a jugular, its blood is blue. David Simmonds, by nurture, is a lawyer. By nature, he is a perceptive writer, with a gimlet eye, a superb folk singer, lyricist and composer. He believes quirkiness is universal; this is his focus and the base of his creativity. "If my humour hurts," says Simmonds,"it's after the stiletto comes out." He's an urban satirist on par with Pete Hamill and Mike Barnacle; the late Jimmy Breslin and Mike Rokyo and, increasingly, Dorothy Parker. He writes from and often about the village of Wellington, Ontario. Simmonds also writes for the Wellington "Times," in Wellington, Ontario.

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