By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
Anyone for a Bathos chip?
Buzz is getting that woozy feeling that we've heard enough already about the personal lives of presidential candidates. We've not only been regaled with tales of Bill's philandering and and his tragically unsuccessful attempt to ingest marijuana, but more recently Chelsea's tonsillectomy. Then there's Bob Dole's WWII mano a mano with a Nazi hand grenade. The latest is the saga of Al Gore's sister's smoking herself to death.
Sure, we'll manage to weather the deluge, but Buzz has learned that some of the nation's most vulnerable citizens--teen-agers--may be subjected to the ugliest side of it: the secrets of the candidates' high-school years.
John DiConsiglio, senior writer for Scholastic Update--the Weekly Reader for the postpubescent set--called Buzz from New York last week to run down some information on Reform Party candidate Ross Perot for an October feature on the candidates' teen-age years.
"As candidates, they seem light years away," DiConsiglio explained. "We figured it would be good for kids to see what they were like in high school. We're looking for their interests in high school, their social life. Were they jocks? Were they nerds?"
Whether Dallas' itty-bitty favorite son was a high-school jock or a nerd isn't exactly a brain teaser. But Scholastic's approach gets even spookier: "We want our readers to be able to say, 'That's like the kid sitting next to me in class,'" DiConsiglio says. (Imagine young Ross as your lab partner.)
Frankly, even if we had wanted to help Scholastic Update, Buzz was stumped. Perot's childhood? We always imagined him springing full grown (at best, a relative term in Perot's case) from some Texarkana tar pit.
But, never being one to pass up a chance to be a point of light, Buzz gave Scholastic some phone numbers to call for Perot info--mostly in the Jupiter area code.
DiConsiglio is also seeking photos for the article, and has seen a picture of Perot that he thinks would be perfect for the article. "He looks exactly like he does now," DiConsiglio says, "except that he's in a little suit."
While watching Bill Clinton's acceptance speech last week, Buzz was surprised to see that former Dallas City Council member, state Lege candidate, and all-around smooth-talkin' politico Domingo Garcia not only had wormed his way on stage during the celebratory chaos following the speech, but had button-holed Al Gore. Of course, between Garcia's squeaky voice and the din, it was impossible to hear what was said.
So Buzz hired a lip-reading expert to study the videotape. The following is a transcript of that historic conversation.
Gore: "Hey, Dom. Thanks again for the Macarena lessons."
Garcia: "Anytime...[unreadable--Tipper's head and several balloons in the way]. What about our deal?"
Gore: "Ah, well...frankly, the president is skeptical that you can deliver Texas."
Garcia: "What! Listen, I can deliver the state and all 75 electoral votes tied up in a pretty ribbon."
Gore: Ah, that's 32 votes, Dom, and, to be honest, Vic Morales seems to have more to offer..."
Garcia [grabbing his crotch in a traditional Oak Cliff gesture of disdain]: "Morales! He's a nobody who campaigns from the tailgate of a pickup--a Japanese pickup. You're talkin' to Domingo Garcia here. Listen, you just make sure that Billy boy delivers on his end of the bargain."
Gore: "Well, ambassadorships aren't easy to come by--but for Texas...
Garcia: "Another thing, Al. Can't you get the president to do something a little better than ambassador to Kamchatka? Sheesh, I can't even spell it. How 'bout, maybe...ah...the Vatican! Yeah, the Vatican would be good."
Gore: "Er, there's that darn Macarena music again, Dom. Give me a tip here...both hands to the shoulders, then extend...palms out?"