Time Travel with Strom
BY KEN GILLESPIE
A month ago, when the following piece was written, Sen. Strom Thurmond was a thriving icon. As we go to press, the senator has just been released from the hospital, reportedly suffering from dehydration. If, as you read this satire, the word "thriving" no longer describes Sen. Thurmond, we hope that you will consider the intended context.
We'll miss Strom Thurmond when he's gone. After all, he's given us the best century of his life. One day we'll be asking each other, our crusty eyes bloodshot and brimming, "What were you doing when Strom died?"
Assuming the senator doesn't outlive me, I'll reply, "Cursing the Angel of Death for his procrastination."
But the man deserves better than that.
I ran into Strom recently at a miniature golf course in Pomaria. "I'm your president!" I yelled in his ear.
This hasn't worked yet, but I can never resist giving it a shot. After our customary exchange of air-guitar licks, I asked him what he would like his legacy to be.
"I want my legacy to be something I leave behind," he replied solemnly.
"I'm all over it, Ramses," I pledged with a high-five. Nine hours later, I had compiled the following tribute.
June 5, 1902 Embryonic Strom Thurmond uses innate filibustering skills to convince gestating mother to postpone abortion. Precognitive citizens rejoice.
June 28, 1924 Thurmond joins Army reserves. "We'll beat those bastard Yankees this time!" the eager youth vows.
Oct. 29, 1929 Strom swears off pickled eggs; Wall Street reacts.
Feb. 12, 1933 Roosevelt announces New Deal. "Damn," Edgefield Sen. Thurmond responds. "I had a straight flush!"
June 6, 1944 Thurmond lands at Normandy. "We'll beat those bastard Yankees this time!" the circuit judge vows.
Aug. 5, 1945 War hero Strom is not in the mood to discuss the Pacific Theater with President Truman "Let's just drop it, Harry," a battle-weary Strom pleads.
March 28, 1951 Gov. Thurmond sends younger men to fight in Korean War. "They'll beat those bastard Yankees this time!" the redundant governor vows.
Nov. 22, 1963 Sen. Thurmond's derringer misfires on a grassy knoll during soured negotiations with Dallas hooker. Bystander injured.
March 7, 1965 Civic-minded Strom marches in Selma. Party fixers dub white hood "unfortunate miscommunication."
Dec. 31,1965 Strom watches Vietnam War on television from hot tub in Wade Hampton Inn. "We pin cushions will laminate those badgers this time!" steam-addled senator declares.
Aug. 16, 1969 Sixty-six-year-old Strom dangles from The Who's helicopter at Woodstock. "Meet the new boss!" he screams as he attempts to remove polyester action jeans with one hand. "Same as the old boss!" Onlookers respond: "Don't eat the brown acid."
June 17, 1972 Distracted by affairs of state, jabbering Strom breaks down wrong door at Watergate Hotel. Sees psychiatrist's couch and startled Cubans, hastily departs.
June 21, 1972 Sen. Thurmond relates embarrassing incident to yoga partner Gordon Liddy, receives stony response.
Aug. 8, 1974 Thurmond forgets to check messages.
Aug. 9, 1974 Nixon resigns.
March 30, 1981 "He said he'd be here," Strom remarks to inquisitive Reagan/Jodie Foster fan outside Washington Hilton. "Man's losin' his mind, but you did'n' hear that from me."
Jan. 16, 1991 Strom begins taping "Days of Our Lives," misses Gulf War. "We'll beat that bastard Stefano this time!" indefatigable icon proclaims.
Oct. 31, 2001 Strom succumbs to strain of decades of selfless service. Thousands file past diamond-studded coffin.
Aug. 23, 2020 Strom's testicles sealed in vat of Rebel Yell with mummified remains of six former South Carolina governors, the first, second, and third runners-up in the 2019 Teen Miss America pageant and a rottweiler. "All he'll need to kick ass in this century," claims Buttnaugh Pinckney VII, chairman of newly formed Resurrection Party. Retrocognitive citizens rejoice.
Ken Gillespie is the last gainfully employed rat-catcher in Greenville. "Baseball bats don't pollute the water table," the South Carolina native asserts, "and they can be recycled."