Reflections On Bill Clinton’s First Year Of Work.
BY ELI LEHRER
May 8, 2001
All is well. Mr. Clinton brings a sense of dignity and gravitas to the position of CEO that could not be matched. I would not have made some of his decorating choices — I think bearskin rugs and a fireplace are inappropriate additions to an executive suite — but who am I to complain with an ex-President running things?
May 24, 2001
I have never met an employee who sought out such validation. He assigned himself a project and, once he finished, spent three days asking questions: “Where did this presentation rank among all previous presentations? First tier? Second tier? Did it need a crisis to be really great?” and “What do you think the legacy of this presentation will be?” It’s not a big deal, but it did get kind of annoying after a while.
June 25, 2001
Mr. Clinton is certainly a hard worker. He is terrible at prioritizing and consistently late, but he never stops thinking and proposing and talking and working. Especially talking. At the end of last week I asked him a question in passing about the basketball playoffs and, before I knew it, he pinned me in the hallway for three and a half hours to lecture about the Smoot-Hawley tariff and the benefits of NATO expansion. I missed the episode of The Crocodile Hunter where Steve Irwin gets three toes bitten off. I was fairly upset about that.
July 11, 2001
Bill insisted that we open a corporate account at KFC. He also suggested Popeye’s “might be a good investment.”
July 29, 2001
Nobody would ever accuse an ex-President of abusing his power, but some of Bill’s co-workers have been complaining lately. I received one report that he asked a runner in the mailroom to go out and buy him every movie Katie Holmes of Dawson’s Creek has ever been in, on DVD. Another person in the accounting office told me that his cable bill has three times as many “incidental” charges as the rest of the company combined. And a Senior VP said Bill asked him if he could borrow his beach house for the weekend, “off the record.” It’s just easier to let these things slide.
August 28, 2001
Bill just returned from a two-week “speaking engagement” at Club Hedonism in Jamaica. His Secret Service agents aren’t talking to him.
October 12, 2001
Bill has a bit of a hard time accepting responsibility for his actions. When asked about a rumor that he’d accidentally thrown away the only copy of a report I’d written, he became unusually combative. He stonewalled me for three days, ignoring my calls and having his secretary lie to me, and then told me he wouldn’t talk unless I had subpoena power or hard physical evidence. I didn’t know what to say.
November 1, 2001
Bill might have been drunk at the Halloween party last night. In fact, I’m almost certain he was. Not only did he repeatedly request and rap along to some song called “Big Pimpin,” but he insisted the staff refer to him as “Big Daddy C.” He even told them he had a personal pimping motto: internationally known, nationally recognized, locally accepted. I was unsure how to react.
December 4, 2001
This should have been obvious: only male administrative assistants will be hired from now on.
January 19, 2002
I wouldn’t say Bill is self-involved, but he seems to crave being the center of attention more than any human being since Napoleon. Running out of patience, I slipped some of my son’s Ritalin into his lunch last week; it only seemed to amp him up. He’s actually quite a nice dancer.
March 8, 2002
Bill spent our board meeting dominating the discussion and reflecting back on “all the good I did.” Whenever somebody would try and bring up business, he would have his Secret Service agents threaten them with taser guns. When, after four hours, I tried to gavel him down, I was shocked out of my seat. The left side of my face is still numb.
March 10, 2002
Although I was still drooling slightly, we held a secret board meeting without inviting Bill. The board unanimously voted to finance a run for whatever elected office he desired, so long as he relinquished the position of CEO and returned to public life. Where behavior like his is tolerated.
SUGGESTED READSChris White Answers Profound Questions About the Presidents: Which President Should I Have a Beer With?
by Chris White (2/17/2014)
Chris White Answers Profound Questions About the Presidents: How Close Can I Get?
by Chris White (5/19/2010)
Chris White Answers Profound Questions About the Presidents: Seriously, 35?
by Chris White (12/20/2010)
RECENTLYA New York Times Wedding Announcement Shortly After the Advent of the Time Machine
by Raj Desai (5/5/2016)
Inside Witnesses: One Crime’s Many Narratives: Gina Comes Back
by Marti Jonjak (5/5/2016)
List: I’m Not Sure How to Weigh In On This, But I’m Going to Weigh In On This
by Janelle Blasdel (5/5/2016)
POPULARI Would Rather Do Anything Else Than Grade Your Final Papers
by Robin Lee Mozer (5/2/2016)
List: Titles of Bach Chorales, as Translated By My Niece After One Semester of German
by Nolan Bonvouloir (4/15/2016)
How to Negotiate a Raise (If You’re a Woman)
by Maura Quint (4/15/2016)