Ordinary Joe

President Barack Obama released a financial disclosure form Wednesday showing considerable income from book royalties. The president reported several million dollars in assets, mostly in mutual funds…[Vice President Joe] Biden’s forms showed his assets are smaller than the president’s, mostly amounts of a few thousand dollars in a range of mutual funds and bank accounts. His book royalties are also close to zero.—UPI


Joe Biden wearily enters the cramped Number One Observatory Circle of the White House, loosening his red tie under his navy suit. Canned wild applause.


JOE: What a day, what a day…

He sits down at the table with a groan as his wife, Jill, comes out in an apron.


JILL: Tired of sittin’around doin’ nothin’ all day, Joe?

JOE: One of these days, Jill, one of these days—to the moon! I spent eight straight hours with NASA schedulin’the next moon landin’ for an unspecified future date!

JILL: I’m sure you fit right in with the rocket scientists.

JOE: Wise guy, huh? Why I oughta gerrymander this neighborhood and divide our official residence in two and consult my advisors about the feasibility of a quiet divorce! Listen, Jill, we’re behind on our mortgage payments, and I checked my campaign-book royalties —

JILL: Somethin’ tells me your royalties aren’t exactly a king’s ransom.

JOE: But I’ve got a plan, baby.

JILL: Oh, Joe, not another one of your get-rich-quick schemes. Remember what happened last time, with TARP?

JOE: I swear, this one isn’t malarkey. It’s a constitutional amendment guaranteein’ permanent tax relief for all former rankin’ minority members of the Foreign Relations Committee-turned-tie-breakin’ Senate voters.

JILL: (sighs) Why don’tcha just ask your boss if you can work some overtime?

JOE: Mr. Obama? I wouldn’t wanna interrupt his fancy vacation in Hawaii. Besides, all that cheapskate talks about is sequesterin’ this, sequesterin’that. I’d have better luck lobbyin’ the fiscally conservative House of Representatives for a stimulus package.

JILL: At least that’d be one package around here gettin’stimulated.

JOE: “Pow, right in the kisser, Jill!” Is what I would say if it didn’t tacitly endorse domestic violence, which is a serious issue I should address more often from the bully pulpit of the vice presidency.

JILL: Maybe if you sent Mr. Obama a bill requestin’ a raise for members of the cabinet, with majority support from your pals down at the Senate, he’d be open to signin’ it.

JOE: That’s not how these fat cats operate in Washin’ton. You gotta build up enough political capital to get leverage to twist another fella’s arm into a vote that’s unfavorable to his constituency, see?

JILL: Well, you sure did a bang-up job doin’ that at the press conference last week, blabbermouthin’with one of your famous gaffes and leakin’ the top-secret plans to launch a preemptive strike against North Korea.

JOE: Do ya have to make a federal case outta everythin’, Jill?! The feds cleared me of all charges of treason.

JILL: What’ll we do, Joe? The Internet company said they’re gonna shut off our Wi-Fi.

JOE: Y’know, I remember a time in America when an honest, hardworkin’ fella could get ahead by graduatin’five hundred and sixth outta six-oh-eight in his law school class, supportin’the Vietnam War while receivin’ five student deferments until he got reclassified as unavailable for service on account’a havin’ had asthma as a teenager, and risin’ the ranks of the Senate with two unsuccessful runs for the presidency until he got tapped as a runnin’ mate for perceived gravitas and identification with workin’-class white males. But in today’s world of burstin’ economic bubbles and globalized outsourcin’…

JILL: You’ll figure somethin’ out, Joe—you always do. Like with the fiscal cliff negotiatin’.

Joe rises with renewed vigor.


JOE: Humina-humina-humina, you’re right! I’ll moonlight as Transportation Secretary if I hafta.

JILL: And I could sell my apple pies you like so much to my students at the community college and the congressional aides.

JOE: Now you’re thinkin’like Hillary, sweetheart!

JILL: Aww, come here, ya big lunk of a sinecure!

They kiss as John Kerry spastically barges into the room wearing a white undershirt, vest, and porkpie hat.


JOHN: Hey, there, Joey boy!

JOE: Kerry! Are you tryna give me a heart attack like Cheney? Go back where you belong, to the State Department!

Fade to black. Canned applause.

Teddy Wayne is the author of The Love Song of Jonny Valentine and Kapitoil.