Some years ago, a favorite niece, then about 5, came with her family from Myrtle Beach, S.C., to attend a family wedding in Raleigh.
Little Liza had a ball, attending numerous wedding festivities and actually participating as a member of the wedding. So it was normal that she resisted getting into the car and returning home.
“But honey,” her mother explained, “you’ve had a wonderful time. Now you have to go back to the real world.”
As the car left our driveway, little Liza lay on the car’s back seat, kicking her legs in the air and wailing loudly, “I don’t wanna go back to the real world! I don’t wanna go back to the real world!”
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How many of us, at the conclusion of some high moments of happiness, have not felt the same reluctance to returning to the real world, to normal routines, to seemingly uneventful passage of our days?
The above incident came to mind as I found myself wondering what life might be like for former President Barack Obama and his family, who recently returned to “the real world.”
Imagine this scenario:
It’s 7 a.m. and the telephone rings in the den of the slumbering Obama household. Michelle gets up and answers it.
Returning to the bedroom, she says, “It’s for you, Barack. Some guy from the New York Times.”
“Tell him to go away,” the former president murmurs drowsily. Michelle delivers the message, but returns to the bedroom.
“He wants to talk to you about North Korea’s launching that ballistic missile. He wants your opinion on how the U.S. should respond.”
“I don’t have an opinion,” her husband replies. “If he wants opinions, let him ask the Donald for his opinion. He’s in charge of opinions now and doesn’t suffer from lack thereof.”
Michelle returns to the den phone and disposes of the reporter.
Returning to the bedroom, she says, “You might as well get up. What are you going to do today anyway?”
“As little as possible,” her husband says. “My life hasn’t been my own for the past eight years. I may mow the lawn. I may call Joe Biden for a round of golf. Or I may just sit on the front porch and contemplate my navel.”
“Well, you could help me by driving the kids to school,” his wife suggests. “Today’s the day I change the bed linens and I need to vacuum the house and mop the kitchen floor. I sure do miss the White House staff. Hillary’s coming over this afternoon, and we’re going shopping. She’s interested in buying a new outfit to lift her spirits. For sure she won’t be looking for something in the Ivanka Trump line!”
“Poor Hillary,” her husband sighs. “If just half of those millions who’ve been demonstrating against the Trump administration had only bothered to get off their duffs and vote on Election Day, she’d be in the Oval Office today.”
“True. But no good in crying over spilt milk. Well, Barack, you might as well get up and come on into the kitchen. I’ll make coffee and toast. Maybe we can go over the household budget before the children get up.”
“Speaking of budgets,” her spouse says. “It may not be so easy to live off that $200,000 presidential pension. But people do on a lot less. Has the newspaper come? I want to check the Help Wanteds to see what’s available.”
“In fact, you could run an ad of your own,” Michelle suggests. “Maybe something such as: Ex-President of USA seeks employment. Eight years experience. High job performance ratings. Works well with others, including GOP-dominated Congress. Former member Congress. Law school degree. Salary negotiable. References available.”
“Maybe you should add ‘Willing to relocate,’” his wife offers.
“I think not. This way, the girls won’t have to change schools. Besides I’d like to hang around D.C. to see where Donald Trump’s ‘Greatest Show on Earth’ winds up.”
“Good thinking,” his wife says, pouring her husband’s second cup of coffee. “And honey, before you head for the golf course, don’t forget to take out the garbage. Also, it’s recycling day. And on your way home for lunch, how about stopping by Chick-Fil-A and picking up a garden salad with honey mustard dressing and a couple of chicken biscuits.”
“Will do,” says the recent leader of the free world.