A Literary Lion Is Born

Chris Christie meet and greet with S. Claus

Chris Christie meet and greet with S. Claus

‘Twas the night before Christmas,
And not a rat was stirring in the State House.
Santa Claus was coming down the chimney with a gift,
Something no New Jersey governor had ever received while in office.
A big book deal.

“There are no second acts in American lives,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose later career profited from the New Jersey literary environment while an undergraduate at Princeton.

But he didn’t know our governor.

His Rotundity came into office in 2010 roaring like the lion in the MGM movie signature. He could get anything he wanted from the state legislature by growling and showing his very sharp teeth.

By 2016 the Lion of Drumthwacket was about to go out of office with his tail drooping between his legs.

His Immensity had invested years of being AWOL from his day job in Trenton, running for president and serving on what seemed like a fantasy game, heading the transition team for an improbable president-elect. Judging by the eventual cabinet choices, our governor’s recommendations (For Attorney General, Chris Christie) were not looked on with favor.

It was the last act for Typhoid Christie, as he was known with his choices falling to the wayside, in a tragic story worthy of grand opera, the political equivalent of Verdi’s “ Falstaff,” with the governor starring in the very large role of the title character, described by Verdi as a “fat knight.”

But that was before our fat knight got the big book deal.

Friends of fine literature in New Jersey were excited about the governor’s new career as an author.

Presumably, it would be a fat book deal, given the size of the writer’s ego and belt size, whichever was larger.

The governor of our neighboring state got a $700,000 advance for a book that even his relations didn’t read (the sales report, as of Oct, 2016: 3,007). And Gov. Cuomo had nothing to say, beyond singing his praises as a clean government champion in a state whose leaders of both the Senate and Assembly are in prison.

No, we’re not talking about the Federal minimum wage numbers here for our boy, with all the beans he has to spill.

The literary event of the year --the book which reportedly might be titled, “ Shut Up, and Sit down” – would finally tell the truth about Bridgetgate. Not to mention what life was really like inside Trump Tower.

But, yikes, we were stunned to hear that Santa had left a lump of coal in our governor’s Xmas stocking.

Apparently, such a book deal violated New Jersey’s sacred code of ethics for state employees.

They must be kidding! Most of us didn’t even know, the state had such a code; we just assumed they made it up as they went along.

The ethics code said: no emolument while on the state payroll.

Holy Corey Booker!

It was then that our governor regained his mojo.

Rolling up his sleeves, and going to work, he concocted an amendment to the code. It was in the state’s best interest that a selfless governor be allowed to selflessly accept a fat advance going out the door.

To show his smarts, he attached a codicil to the bill that provided many state employees in positions of power who might be voting on the code change would get pay raises.

And then, for good measure, a rider was attached which rescinded the obligation that all state public notices be printed in a newspaper. The loss of revenue, in passing, would make a number of papers, including his severest critics, go out of business.

Basta! It was the perfect way to legally tell his critics to shut up, and sit down.

Like thieves in the night, the literary wing of the Christie machine began pulling strings.

Suddenly, the new Book Lovers Bill was on the table for a vote in both Houses of the legislature. It had been rushed through faster than the speed of light during the final work week before shutting down for the Christmas holiday, typically a hectic time when the public and its representatives’ minds were concerned with mall shopping, our state’s favorite sport.

It didn’t matter there wasn’t time to discuss the bill or even read it. That’s the way progress in New Jersey takes place.

The bill reached appropriate desks late Friday night. The last order of business on Monday before the end of the 2016 session was the reading of the bill, which would make it law. The 67 legislators, who never read anything except praise for the way they protect the public’s interest, were poised to vote aye that Monday. A Merry Xmas would be had by all.

And then the Grinch struck!

Now here’s the totally bizarre unexplained thing. The bill that only had to be read out to become the new improved ethics code stayed unread, tantamount to making it DOA.

Who would want to thwart the aspirations of the state’s newest best-selling author? Who wouldn’t want to read the revelations, say, of all the behind the scenes scheming to surround an idiot president-elect with a cabinet of billionaires and generals, who were good friends of our mortal enemy, the Russians?

Yes, Virginia, we friends of literature still believe in Santa Claus. But to paraphrase another writer (William Shakespeare), “Something is rotten in Trenton.”



Marvin Kitman
Jan. 14, 2017

Marvin Kitman’s next book is “Chris Christie’s Expense Account.”

Public Domain Photo of the George Washington Bridge by National Park Service Photographer Jack E. Boucher from Wikimedia Commons.