"This is a farewell kiss, dog," shouted Al Baghdadia television reporter Muntadar al-Zaidi, while hurling his brogans Sunday in the general direction of America's worst-ever president.
A relatively harmless gesture, yes, but a sweet one for millions of Iraqis, not to mention for hundreds of millions of other residents of planet Earth who, for nearly a decade now, have yearned for a nonviolent means of expressing their intense displeasure at the United States, because we've been governed by a mindless incompetent for eight ugly years.
But now that our long national nightmare of neocon nonsense is within weeks of ending, perhaps it's time to congratulate Muntadar for setting the tone for the George W. Bush post-presidency.
Ah, and such a time that will be! With the complete sangfroid of the idiot non-savant that he is, always has been, and always shall be, the Decider joked about Muntadar's shoe being a size 10, unaware, perhaps, that A) size doesn't matter, and B) the die has been cast, and that he now has a special kind of foot-fetish future ahead of him on the hustings.
Remember the president's famous "replenish the ol' coffers" line in Robert Draper's 2007 Dead Certain bio? Well, happily, Mr. Bush will now have more to put in that treasure chest than just dollars. Maybe he can cut a deal with Nike.
I suspect the Secret Service has a difficult task ahead of itself, one way or the other, as our immediate past president hits the road determined to make some real bucks. For wherever he goes on the post-presidential speaking-tour circuit, George W. Bush will have to duck for his supper as well as sing for it. Will his speaking tours require event organizers to tell attendees that they can only turn up at Bush-retrospective events if they come barefoot?
It's no fun, but if and when you get hit between the eyes with a shoe, you hardly can call yourself a victim of armed assault. Yes, you'll have a bigger shiner than if you were hit similarly with a cream pie, but the effect is more or less identical. The intent of the perps, in both cases, is to humiliate the recipient of their missiles, not injure them. The person "pied" or "shoed" is in no way maimed or incapacitated — rather, trivialized.
And has there ever been a public figure in American life more deserving of trivialization than George W. Bush? Has anyone ever been more worthy of complete humiliation on the public stage?
I think not. I do hope there's a Herbert Hoover family reunion somewhere this holiday season, so that the descendants of our ill-fated 31st president can celebrate his escape from the moldy basement where the reputation of the "worst president of all time" historically gets put to rest. Someone should tell them to turn off the lights and move upstairs, before the celebration gets out of hand.
Poor W. There are an awful lot of shoes in his future.
Kenneth Neill is the founding publisher of the Memphis Flyer.