Dentist, Madison, Wis.
“I remember I was on my way to work in the morning when the broadcast came on the radio. It was NPR, so you know, they were very understated about the whole thing. But from the relief in Steve Inskeep’s voice, you just knew the tape was really nasty. And I thought, Oh my god, this is it. It’s finally over. I pulled over to call my wife and we just sobbed together. A couple days later we found out she was pregnant. A boy. We named him Euron… Euron Tape Erdman.”
5th Grade Teacher, New York City
“Everyone was in the streets hugging and dancing. The city totally shut down. I was there when Obama was elected and again when the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage, but nothing compared to this. It was total euphoria. And because it’s New York, someone was already selling T-shirts. They said P-DAY! in a really big old-timey newspaper font, and underneath that was a My Little Pony urinating a red, white, and blue rainbow. They were hideous… I bought five of them.”
College Student, Seattle
“First thing I did was call my dad. I hadn’t talked to him in months, and I wanted to rub it in his face. You know, gloat a little? But as soon as I heard his voice, I just said, ‘I love you, Dad,’ and he got choked up and said he loved me, too. I think that’s how it was for a lot of people. No one wanted to cheapen what this filthy smut meant for America. It was time to heal.”
Radio DJ, Des Moines, Iowa
“Lin Manuel Miranda and Miley Cyrus rushed out a single the same day. ‘Amber Waves of Rain’ — a beautiful power ballad. We played it on repeat for five hours straight, and I sang along at the top of my lungs Every. Single. Time. [Begins singing] ‘Golden showers rain down o’er us/And wash our sins away!’ Of course, Bieber jumped on a remix, and ‘Amber Waves’ was No. 1 for 18 weeks — bigger than ‘Despacito.’”
Gynecologist, Kansas City
“Nine months later, almost to the day, America experienced the biggest baby boom in the nation’s history. Euron, actually, was a top ten name for boys, and Mueller, of course, was No. 1 for five years running. A lot of water names were popular: River, Rain, Pool. I had a couple who named their daughter Freedom Stream. I think everyone just wanted to honor the moment.”
Graphic Designer, Portland
“Can I be honest? I immediately went home and masturbated. [Laughs.] It was just like months of pent-up anxiety and doubt and anger could finally be, just — sploosh! Then Buzzfeed put the video up online for everyone to see and oh man, it was so dirty. Like dark-web message-board dirty, and I just knew there was no way he was ever coming back from this. I ended up beating off like five more times.”
Self-Employed, Joplin, Mo.
“I was a big-time supporter, and when I first heard the news, I was mad. I was ready to go on Facebook and back him up 100%. Then I saw the video and… [shakes head]… you can never unsee that. The dog collar and the crying and his… it was the filthiest thing I had ever seen. Watching it, I realized I never really liked him. I just liked that he made liberals crazy. I think the tape made a lot of us see how small we’d been acting, how shockingly teeny-tiny the person we’d put our faith in really was.
Political Science Professor, Providence, R.I.
“That tape saved America. I truly believe that. And not because it got rid of him, but because it felt like a long, ugly chapter in our country’s history was finally ending. Those four beautiful call girls urinating all over the leader of the free world while he rolled around hog-tied and sobbing represented something we hadn’t felt in a long time. Hope.”