As you know, I’ve admired Obama since he began his presidential campaign.
It’s not because I agree with everything he says.
It isn’t because I think he’s infallible.
I don’t think he’s a prophet, or a messiah or a redeemer.
He’s none of those things.
It’s just that, for the first time I can ever remember, there’s a world leader who might — just possibly — have done some of the things I’ve done, listened to some of the bands I’ve enjoyed, wished for some of the things in his life that I’d have wanted, and stepped over some of the same lines that I did when I was younger.
You know those lines: the ones drawn in chalk by people we used to call Straights. Serious people, but not serious in a serious way. Just serious in a boring, settled, humourless, bullshit way. People working so hard at being grown up and hiding their insecurities that they had no life and didn’t want you to have one either.
People utterly unlike us, until Obama came along.
I know Obama wears a suit, unlike me, but I also know that he hates having to wear it, just as I do. I know why he decided to become president of the USA: it was because he couldn’t be Bruce Springsteen, and I also know that was his joke, not mine, but I like him for it.
I like him, though he’s often wrong, and even though he heads a gigantic and dangerous world power, I can’t help liking him on a personal level, with about as much intensity as I detested his predecessor, GW Bush.
I envy him as much as I like him, but there’s nothing to be done about that. I envy his depth and breadth of intellect, but I like him for that too. If I had to make a choice like his, I’d become Bruce Springsteen, because I could never be Barack Obama.
All right then. I could never be Bruce or Barack, because I’ve never achieved anything like either of them, except this one thing. Obama admits that he finds it hard to stop smoking, and you know, it only increases my affection for the man. Not only is he laid back and erudite and generally, all-round cool, but on top of that, he has weaknesses just like the rest of us.
The guy smokes in secret, for Christ’s sake! Who hasn’t done that?
And so, to my one success. I haven’t written best-selling books or risen to lead my country. Nobody calls me Boss except my dog who has no choice. I’ve never laid out my political manifesto or dunked a basketball while smiling for the cameras.
But unlike Barack, I stopped smoking, and if he’d like to call me, I can show him how to do it.
There will be no charge for the service. If I can help POTUS to quit smoking without stress, it will be my little contribution to world peace.