Saturday, October 25, 2008

conversations at the urinal

Usually guys just look straight ahead in silence while they are standing at the urinal (too often these days at advertising on the wall), but conversation happens once in a while.

There was the time in the late 90s when I was at the urinal in the men's room at Dixie's Restaurant in St. Paul, and standing at the urinal next time to me was Norm Coleman, who was then the mayor of St. Paul. I was no fan of Mayor Coleman (except I appreciated him helping to bring the Minnesota Wild to St. Paul), and I didn't expect him to remember me even though we had had breakfast together once (with 3 or 4 other people), so I said nothing. Eyes straight ahead. The guy on the other side of him had no hesitation to speak, though: "Mister Mayor, I am really concerned about all this additional debt the city has taken on," and he went on a spiel about his taxes. To me, this was hilarious: Norm Coleman, helpless in mid-stream, a captive audience. The price of elected office.

Within the next couple years, he went on to change parties, become a Republican even though he had been elected as a Democrat, all to be annointed by bush & cheney as the 2002 Republican Senate nominee to run against Paul Wellstone. He would have lost that race, but Paul Wellstone died in a plane crash several days before that election -- six years ago today, a day that I'll never forget. We have had Norm Coleman these last six years, sitting in that precious Senate seat.

Fast-forward to Election Night 2006, mid-term elections. We were at a Victory Party, held at the Minnesota Club in downtown St. Paul, for Amy Klobuchar, who had just won the other Senate seat from Minnesota. We had worked hard for Amy's election. At some point in the evening, taking a break from the national good news of the evening, there I was at the urinal in the men's room, and who should walk up to the urinal next to me but Al Franken. We at this point knew Al Franken a little, had been to various fundraisers with him including one dinner party at his home. So I spoke, overcoming urinal etiquette. "Al, maybe in two years it will be your turn to celebrate." He grinned. At that point, he was still officially unannounced as a candidate for Coleman's seat.

So, I may hold the dubious distinction of being the only guy who has peed with both our two major-party Senate candidates. It will be hard for Al Franken to beat this incumbent, but, if we have to watch Norm Coleman sitting in Paul Wellstone's Senate seat for another six years, boy, will I be pissed!


Anonymous said...

This is hilarious! I enjoyed reading this one.
Go Phillies!!

muse said...

You must be pissing in the right circles.