GateHouse – When I played it over and over in my head nearly every day throughout the past seven years, the day that Karl Rove resigned would elicit frothy, embarrassing fits of uncontrollable glee in me; it would be on par with the day I accidentally sank a college three-pointer in fifth-grade gym class, or that one time I think Springsteen accidentally looked at me from stage during “Badlands.”
In my projected dreams, that day was a delicious tease, one that would create so much raging, unchecked happiness in me that it would make my clothes damp and heavy. There would be a party – check that, not even a party, more of a sudden and random exultation of the sort you might expect if the Cubs won the World Series, or Keira Knightley was found walking up and down the streets handing out free key lime pies in the Princess Leia bathing suit from “Return of the Jedi,” or it was revealed that Britney Spears had fallen into an elevator shaft and hadn’t been heard from in weeks. Chaos would reign, and no one would mind. There would be music spilling from speakers in the windows, friends and neighbors dancing wildly in the middle of the road, fire hydrants spraying their contents jubilantly in the sky, and a couple hundred bathtubs full of margaritas placed around the city at no charge.
And yet I sit here with great trepidation, knowing that sure, Voldemort may be leaving, but it doesn’t feel quite like we’ve gotten rid of all the horcruxes yet. In my head, when the day came, the word “resigned” would be followed immediately by the phrase “in disgrace.” Which is why I view the announcement of Rove’s temporary lessening of his astonishing powers with not a gleeful how-ya-do but more of a nervous twitchiness, like he’s the only one who knows the date of the alien invasion, and he’s packing his things right now for the space rocket that’ll thrust he and his family safely to Neptune.
Guys like Rove don’t leave; it’s not like he’s packing his good undies for a two-month trip of Europe, where he’s gonna bike around, hit some coffee shops, read some Camus and, you know, find himself. Guys like him know something, like when they’re going to be subpoenad, or when the clone armies will be activated to repopulate all the blue states, or the exact right moment to make us witness the firepower of this fully armed and operational battle station.
I blame this pessimism, as I blame most things, on the Cubs (other things I blame on the Cubs include my lifelong inability to talk to girls, my preternatural acceptance of failure, my general sentiment that at any point the rug could be swept out from under me and I’ll land directly on my coccyx and a continued love of frosty malts, which is futile because no one else in the world sells frosty malts, particularly not the ones with the weird balsawood stick thing).
Because when you’re a Cubs fan, even the best days can go wrong in a finger-snap; even in-the-bag playoff victories can slip away in a matter of seconds and leave you sobbing uncontrollably on your kitchen floor. Cubs fans know that the beer in the fridge is probably flat, you’ll blow a flat tire on date night, and at any moment it is entirely possible that your nose might burst spontaneously into flame. So I blame them for reading the news about Rove retiring, and thinking, literally thinking, that there must be a super robot Rove lying in wait in a vault somewhere, one twice as tall and powered not by electricity or fusion but only by the desire for revenge. Or corn oil. That would be ironic and funny.
Still, I take this opportunity to wish Darth Vader a happy retirement, and thank him for ushering in this glorious age of unprecedented peace, prosperity and civility that we’re all currently enjoying. I suppose if I were to look on the bridge side, it’ll now take him slightly longer to make Bush’s decisions for him, and I have to admit, that’s worth a quick little run through the spraying fire hydrant right there.