I once accidentally hit Laura Ingraham in the ass with a door. It wasn't one of those slapstick comedy things, where she toppled over and did a faceplant into a wedding cake or anything, but it was illustrative, nonetheless. I mean, it meant a lot to me.
I was thinking about it this morning while I watched a clip of Ingraham guest hosting the The O'Reilly Factor. She has a lot of good, sound, practical, impartial advice about how Democrats should and shouldn't remember Ted Kennedy and she especially hopes no one uses his funeral to make a big deal about health care reform.
The issue he called "the cause of my life."
Now, I already lose because I just admitted I watched Laura Ingraham guest host The O'Reilly Factor. So I was asking for it, and I feel a little like one of those people in the emergency room with a ridiculous object where it shouldn't be, and an unlikely story about how I sat on it. If I didn't want my sense of decency insulted, I shouldn't have tuned in. Be that as it may.
Laura Ingraham says she sure hopes no one politicizes the memory of Ted Kennedy, after his 47 years in politics. The end of a man's life is no time for his friends to talk about his ideas. Which won't be a problem when we lose Laura Ingraham.
After a long, full life, of course. Spent growing ever smaller and shriller, shunned by man and cursed by the Gods, like Arachne.
Here's the thing about Laura Ingraham and the door:
It's the Republican National Convention in 1996. They're nominating Bob Dole. (Talk about politicizing a funeral. Haha.) And I'm backstage in this tiny theatre, running around looking for the teleprompter operator, because we're doing a live show in a few minutes, and I have these introductions that need to be changed. And I'm not flailing around the place like Joan Cusack in Broadcast News. I'm just in a hurry. And I go though this door and it taps Laura Ingraham in the ass.
And she whirls around and the look on her face is pure, sudden, horrible human hurt.
And I froze. It was so awful.
The public mask fell away, and there it was. Anguish. It was the face of the most hated child in the meanest fourth grade in the world. Every errant dodgeball to the head. Every puddle splash by the bike rack. Every spilled milk. Nothing ever happened to this child that wasn't bad and wasn't deliberate.
Followed in a nanosecond by rage. Anger at what I had done, and that it was obviously on purpose, and anger, most of all, because I had seen the other face.
And I said sorry and she glared at me and ran away. But I think about it more than I want to. All these years later. This hateful wounded second-rate soul. I hope she finds peace.
* * *
Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world. Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.
-- Robert F. Kennedy, politicizing the death of Martin Luther King, April 4, 1968