I’m just a regular guy. No one should have any reason to hate me. I don’t do horrible things. I try to be courteous to people. I generally want the world to be a peaceful place.
So why does Texas Governor Rick Perry hate me?
Is it because of my opinion on politicians?
As a Southern man, I was raised to respect authority, especially the authority of our elected officials. To quote the Good Book: when I was a child, I spake as a child. And I spake a joke about “No New Taxes” in front of my dad … my dad, the loyal Texan. Let’s just say that I read his lips, and they told me there should be no new “No New Taxes” jokes being read from my lips, or else my behind might get “Desert Stormed” (Bush 41 reference overload).
But I grew into manhood and shed my respect for elected officials. Having worked in the Texas capitol for many years as a video journalist, I can without hesitation say that Charles Durning’s performance as The Governor in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is probably the most honest and real portrayal of a politician in the annals of filmed entertainment. A politician’s job isn’t so much to help people as it is to help people feel better about being completely clueless about what the hell is going on in that big domed building they’re always showing on the T.V. machine. And the governor is really just the one politician who has risen to the rank of biggest shyster in the state.
So maybe he hates me because I think he’s a fraud.
Or is it because he’s power mad and he just hates everyone?
If you think about it, the governor of the largest state in the contiguous U.S. is a pretty powerful person, meaning he’s like Lord Shyster, ruling over the southwestern portion of The Kingdom of Hogwash. If there were an all-star basketball team of governors, the Texas governor would be the perennial starting power forward. So why would a little, insignificant, nothing of a man like me even register on this powerful, hypothetical basketball-playing man’s radar?
It’s simple. I showed up late to a press conference.
The year was 2001. George W. Bush had ascended to Washington D.C. like a glorious, bejeweled, Texas angel, thus allowing Rick Perry to seize the gubernatorial seat (that sounds dirty) by default. The first big event for Mr. Perry as governor was the signing of a bill that had something to do with home owner’s insurance or something. I don’t really remember exactly what the bill entailed, because it wasn’t really that important to me. But it was super important to Rick.
Before I go any further, there’s something you should know about the news industry: It is held hostage by the Assignment Editor. This is the person who “assigns” stories to reporters. All they really do is grab the press releases in the morning and pass them out as the reporters come in. Occasionally they’ll read an article in the local newspaper and assign a reporter to do a “follow up”… or as I call it, “a complete copy and paste.” But they primarily sit around doing very little and getting all butt hurt when you ask them for help. But every station has one, and most have more than a few. All the news you get runs through them.
The morning of Ricky P’s big presser, I was informed I would be accompanying a reporter to the event. Since the event was early and at a location forty-five minutes away and I did not have my gear ready, I asked our esteemed assignment editor to print out a map to the event. He got all huffy and puffy, but I was determined not to let him blow my house down. I asked him again nicely – because, as I stated earlier, I try to be courteous to people – and he printed me a map.
My reporter and I climbed into the giant red news van with the enormous yellow call letters plastered onto the side and headed off to the green (as in new, not environmental…stupid, color analogy ruining hippies) governor’s big press conference.
A short while later we arrived at a house that seemed vacant. Well maybe not vacant. We couldn’t be certain that there weren’t few homeless squatters living behind its boarded windows. But we were absolutely certain there wasn’t going to be a major news conference by the state’s new governor about homeowner’s insurance happening in the next twenty minutes at this location. So I called my assignment editor.
He, of course, accused me of not following the directions he printed out. But it turned out that he’d given me the wrong map (it was intended for another reporter who was doing a “follow up” on a newspaper story about the future sight of a new Walgreens).
Now any assignment editor worth his salt would at this point just have the reporters switch stories. But our guy, like the majority of assignment editors, was not worth his salt (and since salt isn’t really worth that much, saying someone is not even worth their own salt has to be some kind of really big insult…at least it looks that way on the salt to insult conversion chart I just made up in my head). So we headed out once again to the governor’s big presser, this time knowing we were going to be extremely late.
And so it was that I walked in and set up my camera during Governor Perry’s opening remarks. If you were to watch the long-since-lost raw video I shot that day, you’d see the new leader giving an impassioned exclamation to the people of his state about the importance of the bill he had signed and how it would be the first in a long line of important legislation that he intended to see into law during his time as governor of the great state he was born in. But every couple of minutes you’d notice that he would glance to his right, just off screen, and a look of disdain would instantly sweep across his face, and the look would immediately disappear just as quickly as it had arrived.
But that look was just the seed that would grow into Rick Perry’s hatred of Nicklaus Louis, a seed that would drink in a copious amount of hate-water a couple of years later when I publicly embarrassed the governor.