Monday, August 9, 2004

Yes I'm Going to Be a Star

It was in junior high when I still believed in trying to make some sort of difference that I decided that like every red-blooded Japanese American kid with wavy hair growing up in Roseville, Minnesota, I wanted to become President of the United States. Given that every President this country has ever had has been a white male, I realized I had a lot of work in front of me.

Thus I sat down and calculated the first year I would meet the constitutional requirements for being the President of the United States (the historic document doesn't exactly say you have to be a white male after all). Seeing you have to be 35-years-old to be President and knowing that my November birthday usually falls after the general election I discovered that I'd first be eligible in 2000 but I decided to give myself a few extra years and make my run in 2004.

Figuring it was never too early to start campaigning I printed off a bunch of flyers in 1980 to hand to my classmates alerting them of my candidacy 24 years into the future. Precocious as I may have been, little did I know that once the other candidates did actually join the race that I probably would make as good a President as at least two of them.

Unfortunately as much of a head start as I had on the others, my campaign stalled oh around 21 years ago. That was until the last couple of weeks when I came out of my shell, and like the groundhog, actually saw (or at the very least felt) a shadow. In my current position as a high-ranking government official, I granted an interview with a reporter from one of the three major newspapers in Thailand.

She had a translator with her so I'm not quite sure she appreciated fully the wonderful nuances of my winsome personality. And quite honestly I didn't go to my "A" material and tell her really what was on my mind about this year's election instead trying my best not to say anything controversial even knowing that if I did it likely wouldn't make much of a splash in this country. Election official decries the end of a democracy...

This past week I continued my media blitz (albeit with another baby step) when I did a half an hour TV interview with a woman from the Minneapolis League of Women Voters for a Minneapolis public access cable station. Again there was a whole lot more I could have said but like a good Presidential candidate I chose to take the safe route and not really speak my mind.

I was a bit surprised that in the days leading up to the TV appearance I wasn't at all nervous. I didn't give much thought (or eventually effort) in what I was going to wear let alone say. I didn't care if I ended up looking like a dork (quite the norm) or foolish (I've been called much worse the past few years). I didn't care if I knew what I was talking about or whether I was going to have to resort to making it all up (I do that weekly here after all).

The studio was located in St. Anthony Main so I was able to stop beforehand and enjoy a sushi dinner at Kikigawa. I wandered over to the studio where I had a pre-show meeting with the host and the other guest (a city councilwoman from Shoreview and a member of the League). We talked about what we were going to talk about.

Under the glare of the bright TV lights I reminded myself of the reminders I have heard others say: to sit on my suit coat so that it doesn't bunch up in back and not to wave my hands like a crazy man when speaking. The half an hour flew by and reviewing my performance afterward I'm struck that no one in my inner circle of advisors has ever told me what a goofy grin I have on my face when I'm talking. I almost look lifelike and friendly on the boob tube. Who would have guessed?

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