The other day, I wrote about how I liked to read current events book many years, decades even, well-after the fact. Very often, small details that mean absolutely nothing at the time suddenly leap out as fascinating with the perspective of time. I mentioned this because I'd just finished a book by Molly Ivins written about George W. Bush before he'd even won the GOP nomination for president. And in it, there was a passage about how Mr. Bush had a fairly aggressive frat boy attitude that was sort of "pompous macho" and tended to push him farther than it should -- and she made the off-handed comment that if he got elected, "Somebody should probably be worrying about how all this could affect his handling of future encounters with some Saddam Hussein, but that's beyond the scope of this book."
If anyone read that in 1999 when it was written, it would have meant nothing. Reading it last month...yes, it leaped out.
At the moment, I'm reading a book about a year on the PGA golf tour, following several players closely, from rookies trying to get their qualifying card to some of the top veterans. It's called, A Good Walk Spoiled (which is a quote about golf by Mark Twain) and written by well-known sportswriter John Feinstein, published over 20 years ago, in 1994.
There's a chapter about the Pebble Beach Pro-Am Tournament (that used to be known as the Bing Crosby Clambake before the family and PGA parted ways). And near the beginning, it focuses on tour rookie Paul Goydos who was participating in the Pro-Am contest and showing up at the club to find out the name of the amateur he would be paired up with.
Again, this was written in 1994. And what made it even more odd (and more like a "Hollywood Moment," something you'd only see in a movie) is that the eye-popping name in question wasn't on the first page -- which ended with the phrase, "...and saw the name" -- but didn't appear until you turned the page, at which point it was the very first thing that you saw on the page which followed. So, imagine my reaction the other day.
* * *
At Pebble Beach that year, Goydos arrived on the first day, looked on the board to see who his amateur partner was, and saw the name --
-- Donald Trump listed next to his. "Must be another Donald Trump," he said.
It wasn't. When Goydos asked why he, Paul Goydos, tour rookie, would be paired with His Trumpness, he was told, "This way it will be Donald Trump's group. If we put him with a big name, then he would be shoved into the background."
Trump doesn't like background. And he isn't a bad player. He even made a hole in one during the torunament and later told friends that 5,000 people had seen the shot. Goydos figured it was somewhere between 50 and 500, but he didn't mind. "It was fun," he said. "He seemed like a pretty good guy."
Trump even talked to Goydos about doing some kind of sponsorship deal with him but never followed up. A year later, Goydos got a new partner, Jack Olsen, the chairman of the board of Hertz. The two hit it off, and Goydos ended up with a $50,000 deal to wear a Hertz hat and carry a Hertz bag for the rest of the year. All that and a free rental car every week. Trump talked, Olsen produced.
* * *
There was no political agenda in Feinstein writing this. In 1994, Donald Trump was not on the radar as running for any political office. He was just a fairly well-known real estate developer.
There is a famous quote by Maya Angelou. "If someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time."
That's who Donald Trump told everyone he was. An egotistical liar who exaggerates to make himself to look better and makes deal, only to break his promises. And that's without even touching on the misogynistic racism.
Read current event books 20 years after the were written. It's a good thing...
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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