Shooting pool last night, team 9-ball tournament. The President is on TV, and my friend Aubrey and I are watching at the bar, awaiting our next turn at the tables. Aubrey: Aww man... Why's anybody even listen to that fucker any more? He ain't done shit he promised. Me: He's only one man, a President can't do anything at all without Congress. Aubrey: Shit, he's GOT the Congress! He just left them alone to fuck shit up, didn't even try to get them to do what he wanted. I took a sip of beer, absorbing this. Aubrey: Ma fucka stands up there and lies straight up, don't even fuckin blink! (Time passes. Obama's talking about greed now) Me: What gets me is, here's a rich guy up there talking bad about rich greedy people, and somehow thinks he has any credibility with-- Aubrey: (interrupting) Shit.... He ain't rich! He only makes 200 thou a year. Michelle got all the money inda family. Me: (Looks at Aubrey) Dude... He makes 400 thousand a year, 200 thousand more in expenses. Every year. He made millions off his books. He's a rich fat-cat, just like the ones he gripes about. Aubrey: No shit? (Looks to Rita the bartender) Issat right? Rita: Yep. All Presidents have that salary. Me: Didn't you buy his book? Aubrey: I ain't got no time to read no fuckin books. Me: You really should read his. I mean really. I'll loan you my copy. Aubrey: Well I sure as fuck ain't buyin one. Wanna nother beer? Me: Sure. (He waves a peace sign at Rita. Two beers.) Aubrey: I almost quit my job after he won but I'm sure glad I waited to see what he was gonna do. Me: (almost afraid to ask) What's the President got to do with whether you quit your job or not? Aubrey: I figgad when we finally got a brotha in the white house all this shit would change and we'd see repairness. Me: Reparations? Aubrey: Yeah. (The beers come, Rita politely waits to get paid. Aubrey can't take his eyes off the screen, for some reason. I slip her a $10.) Me: Dude we're gonna be back up here in a minute. If we both win our games we win the night. (Rita comes back with the change, I motion her to put it in front of Aubrey) Aubrey: (absentmindedly pocketing the change) This team can't shoot fer shit. I might jus throw my game so we can hang out more. Me: Thanks for the beer. Aubrey: Hey no problem. Me: (snickers) And keep the change. Aubrey: (Now sensing something's wrong) Did I buy that round? Me: No, Obama did! And you got change! (We all three laugh) Aubrey: No really, what happened there? Me: You mean, it's not change you can believe in? (Rita giggles) Aubrey: Huh? Me: (patting Aubrey on the back) It's on me, Pal. Beers are on me the rest of the night, whether you throw your game or not. Aubrey: Aww man.... I jus get so pissed off when I see that junky-ass mua fucka on TV I can't tell ya. Me: Well, I don't get pissed off brother, I just laugh. But I gotta tell ya, he never made any promise of reparations. Ya can't hold that one against him. Aubrey: (shaking his head) All I know is, nothing's changed an' I won't vote for THAT fucker again. (My name is called, and I go to shoot. Aubry's up on table #2, about a minute later. He didn't throw the game, but we both lost anyway.) Me: (back at the bar) Gonna be a long night now. Brad's losing his game, Shawna's losing hers, we lost ours. Aubrey: Yeah. Wanna nother beer? Of course, our team went on to lose the match too. But we sure had plenty of beers and lively conversation! Aubrey loves to tell the story of how we met, many many moons ago working at Iowa Beef. He told that story and more, to the ladies from the other team who later joined us at a table. Here's a honest, hard working guy who just wants to get ahead and make something for himself in life. I've known him for 25 years. He's making good money, doing liquor and beer deliveries area-wide. He has a house, a boat, a pick-up, all of course he's paying on, and he's about 10 years younger than me. But watching him last night, having fun and regaling the ladies with stories about the old days, I realized that all in all he's always seemed happy. Or at least, WAS happy until recently. Until that night I had never seen the unhappy side of my friend, the side that's pissed at the President. As we talked later that night I found out it's not the president per se that he's pissed at, it's the whole deal. Washington in general. I told him that right now, today, I would vote for Obama again. I reasoned that there's no other worthwhile candidate around, probably won't be and everybody needs time to get good at a job. And besides, it's the Congress who controls the purse strings, not the President. The President by and large really isn't that big of a deal. I found myself defending Obama for the most part. But the facts remain, if not him who? When? We could do a hell of alot worse. Tuesday night it's team 8-ball. Aubrey's the team Captain. He'll be buying! Oh and I forgot to mention. He gave that change to Rita as a tip!