Under the impression that I was accepting the honor of all honors, I spent nearly two hours this past Tuesday evening at 60 Morningside Drive, livin' it up at PrezBo's first Fireside Chat of the year with a plate of Camembert and donut holes. For 90 minutes, the Man Himself fielded questions from roughly fifty students, tackling subjects as disparate as Occupy Wall Street and his personal reading list (the guy likes Montaigne, for starters, and has a fiery passion for Thoreau).
Overall, the "chat" was fairly broad, and it was only after I'd walked out the door that the real questions began to percolate. For example, does PrezBo even live there?
The only personal touches that I could find were a couple of blueprints of the building itself. Where were all the old magazines, the empty pizza boxes, the Pineapple Express poster over the mantelpiece? Clearly, I didn't know this man at all.
Despite PrezBo shrugging off the evening's more pointed questions, I have to hand it to the guy: his manservants know how to put together one hell of a spread. The food might as well have been the highlight of my night, although it was actually quite difficult to find out what on the buffet table was food and what was decoration. The safest bet was bread, closely followed by the candy corn. Yes, there was candy corn.
If I had any advice for the next Fireside Chat, it'd be to do away with the stuffiness and to start getting real (keep the takeout boxes, though, because those were great). "Fireside Chat" connotes something intimate and personal, but we were pretty much arranged as an audience for a one-man show. I'll venture to say that "Fireside Q&A" would be a more fitting description (even though there was no fire). What I'd hoped for was a classic good-ol'-boy/Ivy-League whiskey session around the hearth—instead, I got a punchbowl of nonalcoholic cider, of which I probably drank a liter.
So maybe next time PrezBo should have a theme to spice things up a bit. Luau? Toga party? (Or, dare I suggest it, anything-but-clothes?) I can't help but think that Prezbo in a toga would look remarkably like an extra in Joseph Mankiewicz's Julius Caesar. Perfect.
It's settled, then. Next week at 60 Morningside Drive: toga party.