January 17, 2002
by Chris Feeney
What if our nation was not at war? I guarantee there would have been a whole lot more media coverage revolving around the pretzel incident. Maybe I'm not as in tuned as I should be, or maybe I'm just to busy to slow down and watch the national news, but for whatever reason I nearly missed this "big" story.
For those of you that are even less aware of current events than I am, President Bush was sporting a shiner this week after a fall he suffered in a fainting spell. Guys if there was ever a nuttier reason to like the guy I must have missed it. I would say the president's popularity poll probably rose several points after he admitted to the media that he choked on a pretzel while watching a football game. That's right, he's just like the million other men out there who like to curl up on the couch, eat a few chips and catch some football on Sunday.
Fortunately most of us have not had the misfortune of choking on our snacks enough to suffer a fainting spell. I am just curious if something else didn't happen. Now if I had walked into work Monday morning with a black eye, everyone would have seen right through my choking pretzel disguise and figured out what really happened was the wife socked me after an argument over the remote control.
I bet the Secret Service agents working that night nearly had a heart attack. They may even have sent the bag of pretzels to the crime lab to test if they were poisoned.
Can you imagine being the most popular man in the world right now, knowing you would be in millions of pictures and seen world wide on hundreds of television stations, and having to explain this little issue. But give the man credit, he didn't come up with some lame excuse. I wonder if Al Gore had won the election and we switched the men in the same spot what kind of tale we would have heard. "Oh that black eye, it's nothing. You should see Osama. We scuffled after he questioned whether or not I really invented the pretzel." Or even worse, imagine what kind of story we would have got from Bill Clinton. I won't even go into that since this is a family newspaper.
Like I said you have to give the man credit. Initially when you hear the story you might snicker about the mishap. But if you saw any of the President's comments following the event you could not help but laugh with him instead of at him as he jokingly commented "I should have listened to Mom, she said to always chew your food."
Leave it to the man that has led us through one of the most difficult times in recent history, to also lend us a little comic relief to take the edge off. Unfortunately it sure looked like a painful way to give the nation a chuckle.