Sometimes food and drink never make it to the gullet. People sneeze noodles or pepper flakes out of their noses, babies splatter oatmeal and trick-or-treaters stuff so much candy in their mouths that they have to spit some out or choke.
It happens. It’s unintended. Even my cat barfed up a half-chewed ear plug, about a month after it went missing. (We’d wondered where that went.)
It happened to me yesterday (more on that later) while I awaited President Donald Trump’s explanation for pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, weakening the universal effort to fight global warming.
Trump loves a cliff hanger and made the most of it, arriving half an hour late. And he can’t just approach a podium, he has to make an entrance. (Thankfully, there are no elevators in the White House Rose Garden.)
Vice President Mike Pence opened the act, voicing praise, optimism and the usual scripted compliments for his boss. I guess they thought it would warm up the crowd.
True to form, Trump blamed the previous administration, other countries, and Democrats for most of the world’s problems. Did I mention the environment was hardly mentioned at all in this speech on climate change?
Trump portrayed other countries as freeloaders and deadbeats bleeding America dry. No mention was made of the weakening of the continuing global effort to fight global warming.
He was pro-business, describing environmental laws as if they were minor annoyances, like ants at a picnic. Protecting Mother Earth is too much work, and what’s the point in considering future generations? No fun holding industry accountable for clean air and land and water. Besides, if China can pollute to its heart’s content, why not us? No fair!
So, he said, the United States is quitting the Accord. More applause and some color seemed to be returning to Trump’s face. The Donald is “putting America first.” And the planet last.
Trump depicted a disadvantage for America in this 200-member-nation compact. He sees it as an uneven playing field. That’s right. The. United. States. of. America, an uneven playing field. That’s what he said.
He rambled, repeated himself often and went off on tangents, while soaking in any applause. I breathed a sigh of relief that the horror story for today was at least almost over, and I reached for my root beer.
That’s when I heard our commander-in-chief say, “At what point do they stop laughing at us? We don’t want other countries and leaders to laugh at us anymore.” — “Anymore.” He actually said, “anymore.” That’s also when I lost it.
I did what is known in show business as the “spit-take,” only there was no script. It was not a pretty sight. I splattered soda over a good stretch of my couch, while trying not to choke. Or laugh. Any harder.
Yes, they’re having a good laugh all around the world, Mr. President, as you isolate us from our allies and continue with your buffoonish ways.
Anyone who’s ever had a childhood remembers acting a little like you once, probably when they were still in diapers. It was a fleeting stage. We grew out of it.
Lucky for the rest of the world though, they don’t have to actually live under your rule. We do. When German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the European Union’s “no confidence” consensus the other day, I was relieved someone had the guts to address the elephant in the room. I felt like telling her, “Send help!”