I Think I Can (Hold It)

I’ve now seen several sites reference this Reuters photo of President Bush scribbling a note to Condoleeza Rice. The original photo is sort of a generic, almost stock “busy at work” shot. Yahoo!’s version, though, crops tight on the content of the note itself:

detail of Bush's note

(They made the bizarre choice to caption it as “U.S. President George W. Bush writes a note to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during a Security Council meeting…”)

Now let’s get something straight. I am obviously no Bush fan, and I never have been. But I also don’t think it’s fair to sneer at the very idea that the president is passing a note to the Secretary of State regarding, eh, personal matters. I see this as entirely plausible: after all, the Secretary of State is the lead diplomat, and should have not only an excellent grasp of the scheduling and timing, but also a good sense of when would be the most discreet time to make a brief exit. So 1) choosing to write a note and 2) jotting “I think I may need a bathroom break” seems perfectly fine by me.

But what’s with the question mark? What’s with the “is this possible”? For all the pomp, circumstance and snazzy headphones present at the 2005 World Summit and 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York, it’s still a room filled with people, with the same needs.

Suddenly, though, I’m curious about the restrooms at the U.N. I wonder, do the men’s rooms have multiple stalls, or is it one at a time? Do they bother with urinals? With or without privacy screens, do you think? Does everybody try to check each other out? (“Oh ho, Mr. ‘Eight Palaces’ is compensating, eh?”) Does Bush bring in Secret Service?

Now that I think about it, maybe there is specific bathroom protocol. Maybe there is an elaborate series of hand signals for messages like “Abort, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad inside”. Perhaps the Egpytian Ambassador stands guard while the Saudis scrawl anti-Israeli graffiti on the hand dryer…

Hmmm. So how did a fairly high-minded post questioning a Reuters photographer’s choice devolve into bathroom jokes? Oh, that’s right: the call of (human) nature.

Update [Fri 4:07a]: Mi hermana thought the photo might be fake. It’s not.

4 Responses to “I Think I Can (Hold It)”

  1. awarren Says:

    Ha! They have code words for everything, why not for pee breaks? Have POTUS ask for something else! Bush could ask for a “P6”. Clinton probably needed a different code… by reputation, his was probably a “P7.5″…

  2. The liberal Mr. Pech Says:

    I think here, as always, the idiot administration could take a cue from the Bartlet administration…
    “Condi, I need to meet an old friend of mine.”

  3. jsp Says:

    Or, combine euphemism AND codes: “Condi, I’m experiencing increasing pressure — about level 3 now, but we need an exit strategy!”

    (P.S. C’mon, no “The Relieved Mr. Pech”?)

  4. Joel Says:

    It would be nice if codes and euphemisms were in place. But this is a free society. And in a free society, things can get messy. Goodness, we are at the summit now, and leaving prematurely could jeopardize everything we’ve worked for. Some would argue that these urges are a sign of imminent self-urination. But what I’ve been saying all along is that the process is untidy, it is–it is– there will be drips and spurts, a couple of steps forward and a step back. There will be bumps along the way. And it strikes me that what it requires is for people to be realistic; to look at other statesmen that have made that transition and ask how was that done, how long did it take, how difficult was it, how untidy was it? And we accept that, and we’re there to create an environment where that process can take place. And we have patience, and we accept the fact that it’s untidy. And I hope that others can recognize that and accept it and put it into some historical context.

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