Friday, August 06, 2004


Sixteen hours : Nine seconds. That's the waiting time to face time ratio for people waiting to meet Bill Clinton at his book signing in Toronto earlier this week.

Sixteen hours??? I once waited near the front of a line for 11 hours to buy tickets to The Who. Clearly, I was proven right as they sold out 20,000 seats in 1 1/2 hours and the show was damn near three hours long. But sixteen hours to have nine seconds of time with an ex-president?

Monica didn't have to wait sixteen hours for him and she certainly got more than nine seconds of face time - so to speak. At least, Bill should be telling his buddies that he could last more than.... nevermind.

The rules for meeting Clinton were: No photographs, he wasn't signing personal messages, no touching (yeah that one's funny I know) and no cell phones allowed in the store (to keep out the camera phones I suppose). So what did you get for your nine seconds? He signed your book and you got to gush at him and pay him a compliment. The "no touching" rule precluded a handshake. But then, Bill's on tour without Hilary; who knows where those hands had been the night before? Nine seconds certainly isn't long enough to ask an insightful question and get a real, well thought out answer. Nine seconds isn't long enough to get his perspective on the Bush family that bracketed his Presidency. Nine seconds isn't even long enough share a Big Mac with the guy and get his thoughts on well, anything. Nine seconds is about what you'd get if you bumped into any hollywood starlet or hot music performer on the street before their security people "had a word" with you.

Granted Bill Clinton is the first US President to make the transition from politcal icon to pop icon. I'd mention that Pierre Trudeau did it in Canada 30 years ago but that would require a history lesson that I don't feel like giving. My point is that Bill Clinton is the hottest ticket on the author's circuit since Dr Phil. Even Hilary, who's book is out-selling Bill's by about a million copies, doesn't get the adoration and love from the people like Bill does. It's like watching the screaming masses chase John, Paul, Ringo and George, or witnessing the swarm that surrounded Michael Jackson throught the '80's. He's still swarmed but it's a little different now.

Now, Bill was a competant President. He truly seemed to care about not only the welfare of the American people but that of his fellow global citizens. He can play a hell of a mean saxophone, and let's face it, getting action in the oval office made him a hero to most men around the world. But is any of that worth wasting sixteen hours of your life for a nine second love fest?

Still, it is probably a once in a lifetime oppourtunity. And it's definately cooler to wait sixteen hours to meet Bill than it is to stand in line for sixteen hours with other costumed geeks to be the first to see the new Star Wars or Harry Potter Hits Puberty or the next interminably long Lord of the Rings flick. Those will still be in the theatre after a week followed by many dvd releases. With Bill, those nine seconds are all you're going to get. Unless you fit under the desk.


Blogger Mel said...

Isn't it better that they queue for sixteen hours to spend seven seconds with him when he's alive than queue sixteen hours to file past his coffin when he dies?

3:25 p.m.  

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