- Politics and Social Issues
A Visit From Chelsea Clinton Becomes the Perfect Metaphor
Sometime before the election, I was living in Burlington and currently an employee of the Rite Aid Pharmacy. One afternoon we had a slew of customers rushing to buy disposable cameras and/or get film developed.
Much to my surprise, it turned out that Chelsea Clinton was paying a visit to the University of Vermont (UVM) and was now on Church Street, evidently taking a tour of the city. I quickly took my fifteen minute break and ran from the store to see if I could meet the girl who made it cool to be the president's daughter when I was just a fourth grader.
Chelsea is not the first “celebrity” that I have the opportunity to meet. Mind you, I said the opportunity. That is to say that the occasion for me to meet celebrities has been presented to me on a number of occasions, but either my own personal fear about having those people become painfully human to me, or Divine intervention simply prevented it from happening.
For example: Jim Carrey was filming a scene out of Me, Myself and Irene in the gymnasium of Northlands Job Corps, in Vergennes where I was a student. At the North Shire Bookstore, in North Bennington (on the bus route from my little hometown) writers such as Bill Cosby, Sue Grafton, and Stephen King have made appearances. And of course on my eighteenth birthday my mother took me to the Hard Rock Cafe in Manhattan where people were fawning over celebrities who were apparently there and eating but I was just not lucky enough to set eyes on. Oh well. Life goes on.
This time was going to be different. This time, Chelsea Clinton was physically close enough to touch. Mind you I said close enough to touch. Which is not to imply that touching her was an option, nor would it be wise to the survival oriented citizen upon noticing the armed escorts that surrounded her.
So there I was on Church Street. And there she was, keeping a steady pace and talking to someone. I got the barest glimpses of her face but I wasn't close enough to see her in her entirety, so I tried to run to keep up. On noticing that there were one or two police officers and a handful of other people who could probably shoot me and get way with it, my instincts kicked in and I kept my running to a few brief jaunts. The whole while her back was to me and while I can't claim to have shaken her hand, I can still say that I “saw” Chelsea Clinton when she visited Burlington.
You know who else I saw? Vermont Governor Jim Douglas. He came into Rite Aid once or twice. I didn't see him that day, but it bares mentioning.
The Question On Everyone's Mind Is...
How, NateSean, does this story make a metaphor? Isn't a metaphor supposed to be an artistic rendering of words or a scene in a film that describes a feeling or function, such as the “Finally Dropping their Baggage” metaphor at the end of The Darjeeling Unlimited? I fail to see a metaphor in you telling us about your childhood obsession with Chelsea Clinton.
Bet you didn't know that a gay man could be obsessed with a woman, did you? Well guess what, you don't know when the Gay Pride Festival is either you ignoramus! What? No I don't know when it is either. Well it's not up to me to know because I'm not the guilty party.
A Highly Romanticized Picture of the Street Chelsea Walked Down
Now that my Insane Rant Is Over
So there I was, deciding to keep a safe distance from the daughter of former president and hopeful-soon-to-be President Hillary Clinton. Notice I said hopeful soon to be because of the time frame in which this story takes place. That is not to say that I have forgotten who our current, very non-female, president is.
Now, I would never consider myself a danger to someone. Particularly not to this woman. I would have been so happy to have just met Chelsea and told her how cool I think she was for actively helping her mother's campaign. (Although would it really have chapped Hillary's ass at all to come down this way? I mean, Obama was physically here in Vermont. He didn't send his kids to do his dirty work for him.)
But you had people just walking up and shaking her hand, taking pictures with their cellphones or with the cameras they bought from our store. (I could have made a fortune selling cameras on the street. God if I had known then what I know now.) The security detail just stepped aside and let them interrupt what was obviously a very busy schedule.
Lets face it, Church Street in the colder months is not the bastion of tourism and free economy that it is during the summer. It's populated by panhandlers, drug dealers, crazy people and the occasional customer or two for one of the many privately owned businesses.
These weren't high class people passing through and admiring our former First Kid. These are people who take advantage of the services our city offers them. They eat from the soup kitchens and sleep in the shelters and they spend their food stamps on junk food and their government cash on beer and cigarettes.
Meanwhile, people like my brother and sister-in-law are finding it hard to just get food stamps to make ends meet. My brother has a job, they now have a place to live that they got all by themselves and they've been crossing the T's and dotting the lower case J's. But for some reason the rules keep getting changed, thus making it difficult for people who legitimately need those services to get them.
Chelsea Clinton is like every government service that people like you and I might find useful. Health care, fuel assistance, disability, and heaven forbid food stamps. We play by the rules, making just two dollars more than the required amount to qualify for that assistance. That extra two dollars is represented by me, not making any sudden movements that would alert the people with guns to my presence in a negative way.
All of those people who got to shake her hand, looked at her straight in the eye and smiled, are like the heartless sons of bitches who do get the food stamps and are still making more than enough money to pay their cellphone bills because now my taxes are going to fill their kids with soda and other crap that those services weren't meant for.
Life just doesn't go ahead and hand you a metaphor like that too often.