KICK THE CAN
Before daylight saving time when it still got dark early on a summer night, parents didn’t much care if their offspring played outside until a television announcement admonished them that it was 10:00 p. m. and they probably should know where their children were. With no school or church to worry about the next day, the kids in my neighborhood would wolf down their dinners and meet under the street light for Kick the Can.
For anyone unfamiliar with this game, I can only say “Bless your heart.” But it’s basically hide-and-go-seek, amped up by playing in the dark. Once we could drive, we would move the game to a graveyard, but that’s a story for another time.
The little boy who lived next door was a good friend of mine, and he was particularly good at this game. He was what might be called a bit husky, but he was very fast on his feet. Once the person designated as being “It” was distracted in another direction, he would creep up from his hiding place and almost successfully hide behind a pine tree strategically close to the can he intended to kick.
If the noise of his running to a new hiding place caught the attention of It, he would speed off to another tree, the darkness hiding his movement. He could just zig-zag between the trees, always running and hiding until he made it to the street light where the can was placed.
This strategy was singularly effective, even if he couldn’t quite conceal all his huskiness behind the tree. Even when caught by It, my friend could usually dart around and kick the can before he could be tagged and sent to jail. No wonder he ended up being a high school football hero.
That was what usually happened. Until a new family moved in on the other side of my friend’s house, with a boy who was just as fast, but rangy and not husky. When the new boy was It, he would tag my friend before he could get to the can, sending him to jail. The old strategy of hiding and weaving and all of that moving around no longer worked.
I couldn’t help but be reminded of all of this while reading the indictment this week of Donald Trump. Mar-a-Lago seems like a swell place for a rousing game of Kick the Can, and Trump sure had lots of places to hide his boxes. With the help of his indicted co-conspirator Walt Nauta, Trump had the boxes moved from room to room, bathroom to ballroom, always staying ahead of the authorities and his lawyers. But a rangy new kid in town named Jack Smith seems to have tagged Trump more seriously than he has ever been tagged before. And that’s saying a mouthful.
When reading almost anything, I tend to visualize it like it were a movie. This indictment is so detailed it reads like a movie treatment, but not of something serious, loaded with presidential scandal, such as All the President’s Men. It could be written, I think, as a satire, or better yet, as a madcap comedy with lots of physical humor. Think the stateroom scene in A Night at the Opera, with Trump’s boxes standing in for all those people, and Trump himself playing all the Marx Brothers.
Of course, I understand that these charges are serious, deadly serious in fact. The indictment is a relatively quick read—it has pictures, for heaven’s sake—and seems to have been written so that anybody reading at more than a 6th-grade school level can understand it. Give it a shot, if you haven’t already.
But let’s go back to something a bit more frivolous. I’m not entirely sure I understand this, but I think I kind of do. You know I don’t name names until the third martini, but several individuals, both ladies and gentlemen, have indicated that Mr. Smith has a certain je ne sais quoi. I quite agree.
His real name is John Luman Smith, and it seems he goes by Jack. I understand there’s not much to be done with Luman as a name, and somehow it seems fitting that a John Smith or a Jack Smith is the Special Counsel for the United States Department of Justice in this matter. It might as well be John Doe, and we would need Gary Cooper to play him in the movie version.
With that pesky insurrection business still on his plate, I suppose it’s easy to figure out what Mr. Smith is going to Washington to do next. It’s shaping up to be a long, hot summer.