With the shooting in the news, it seems like the right time to pull out my ongoing comparison of myself and Dick Cheney. The symmetry is remarkable.
Cheney has a few years on me, so the real career parallels donâ€™t begin to emerge until 1975.
Cheney: After a stint working as the right hand man to Donald Rumsfeld, Cheney becomes one of youngest people (34) ever to serve as White House Chief of Staff (under Gerald Ford).
Pell: My dad buys me a soccer ball as a reward for not wetting the bed the night before (I was 9). To thank him, I wet the bed every night for the next week.
Cheney: Gets kicked out of Yale (once) and arrested for drunk driving (twice) and manages to get five 5 deferments to avoid the Vietnam war. He later would explain that: â€œI had other priorities in the 60â€™s than military service.â€
Pell: I am repeatedly harangued by my third grade teacher Mrs. Mitchell who makes me stay after school to practice my penmanship on the chalkboard. I call her Mrs. Bitchell.
Cheney: According to the White House website, During his tenure in the House, â€œMr. Cheney earned a reputation as a man of knowledge, character, and accessibility.â€
Pell: My mom sends me to see a shrink three days a week after school. It was during these therapy sessions that I first admitted my obsession with invading a foreign country regardless of facts or the cost to life and limb. â€œYou mean Iraq?â€ my shrink asked me. â€œNo,â€ I responded. â€œCanada.â€
Cheney: Establishes himself as a leading Republican politician in the House of Representatives and backs the Reagan administration during the Iran-Contra affair.
Pell: Several days after my Bar Mitzvah, a friend at school tells me she likes my outfit. I then decide to wear the same outfit for the duration of high school. During this period, I also achieve substantial notoriety by attending (a few years after) the same high school as Byron Stewart who played Coolidge on the White Shadow. In college, as an experiment, my roommate and I move the couch within inches of our big screen television. We decide to leave it there through graduation.
Cheney: Served as Chairman of the Republican Policy Committee from 1981 to 1987.
Pell: Night Ranger shoots the video for Sister Christian at my high school.
Cheney: President George HW Bush appoints Cheney as Secretary of Defense. He leads a successful air and ground attack against Iraq.
Pell: Having predicted an easy Mondale win in the 1998 election, I am left to teach high school in Brooklyn where I am victim of an even more successful air and ground attack by my sixth period class (for education wonks, it was in my class during this period where the game Letâ€™s Ricochet the Jewboy off the Chalkboard first emerged.)
Cheney: As CEO of oil services leader Halliburton, Cheneyâ€™s income for the year tops $36 million.
Pell: On behalf of my sisters and myself, I invest heavily in many “can’t lose” internet startups in the late nineties.
Cheney: Shortly after being elected as Vice President of the United States, Cheney suffers a mild heart attack and requires treatment. He is back at work within 48 hours.
Pell: I pull a muscle in my neck and stay home for 6 weeks.
Cheney: It is revealed that while Cheney was CEO of Halliburton, the company did business in and with Iran, Libya and Iraq, all considered state sponsors of terror.
Pell: At the height of the war on terror, I ate a falafel.
Cheney: Due to perceived risks and the threat of attacks on Washington, the Vice President is separated from the President and the public eye. For several weeks, we only know that he is in a secret, secure location from where he is carrying out many of his duties via teleconference.
Pell: I saw some white powder and hid in my basement for more than a month. It turned out to be baking soda. (Caveat; I think I might be allergic to baking soda.)
Cheney: On several occasions, VP Cheney overstates the threat posed by Saddamâ€™s regime in an effort to secure public support for his much-desired trip back to Iraq where he proclaims Iraq will be liberated and peaceful.
Pell: My shrink asked me “How are things going this week?” And I said, “Fine.”
Cheney: With the election less than a year away, the VP enters the fray and begins to attack John Kerry and praise Fox News, all with enormous political skill.
Pell: One of my officemates happens to notice that I sometimes masturbate while Iâ€™m reading Wonkette.
Cheney: The Veep goes on a duck hunting trip with Antonin Scalia. This trip later turns scandalous as Cheneyâ€™s energy panel case makes it to Scaliaâ€™s Supreme Court.
Pell: Somehow one of my cats learns how to dial PETAâ€™s number. Rumors (along with certain legal proceedings) begin.
Cheney: President George W Bush describes Cheney as the best vice president that the country has ever had (this was before he proclaimed that Michael Brown was doing a great job).
Pell: My dad suggests that I fix my noisy over-the-stove fan by taking it apart, fixing it and putting it back into place. Pause. We both laugh.
Cheney: Prior to the official launch of the second Iraq war, Cheney explains that, â€œWe will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.â€
Pell: On my Match.com profile, I write that aside from my silky hair and my ripped body, the celebrity I most resemble is Ron Jeremy.
Cheney: The Veep tells Senator Leahy to “Fuck off” on the Senate floor.
Pell: I reserve the domain name Fuckio.com in the hopes of launching a company that will put the vowels back into fuck.
Cheney: After having one beer at lunch, Cheney – while hunting for birds – shoots his lawyer-friend in the face.
Pell: I show up at a bar in the S.F. Mission district called Zeigeist wearing a non-ironic, bright yellow windbreaker. The lightest color being worn by anyone else in the bar is light black. Heads turn. Shots, however, are not fired.