Friday, August 7, 2015

the last book I ever read (The Speechwriter by Barton Swaim, excerpt one)

from The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics by Barton Swaim:

The remarkable thing about his reputation for cheapness is that it was true. Or true in spirit. Everybody had a story about the governor’s parsimony. I can remember being in the car with him on a sizzling summer afternoon, a security officer driving, the car stopped at a train crossing. While we waited for the train to pass, the governor insisted that the officer turn off the car in order to save gas. Deprived of the air conditioner, we sat for a few minutes while the train took its time. I could see a bead of sweat dropping off the tip of his chin as he talked on the phone and pretended not to notice how miserable he had made himself and us.

Most of his clothing was in a deplorable state. He would not consent to have it dry-cleaned: his staff, and his wife, would occasionally have his shirts and trousers cleaned without his knowledge. He wore only one coat, a navy blazer with one or two missing sleeve buttons, and one pair of trousers, charcoal gray. Both had so many stains that, had they been of a lighter color, their filth would have been revolting. Once I saw inside the collar of one of his white button-up shirts: it was solid brown. Another time he wore the same white shirt, an ink stain on the sleeve, for almost two weeks straight.

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