My third teen novel, now in progress, is flavored by the ultra-paranoid mindset that saturated our country in the days immediately following 9/11. In creating that flavor, I researched trivia about President George W. Bush this morning.
I now know, thanks to the always credible Internet, that Bush’s SAT score was 1260, that he’s banned jeans from the oval office, that were he stranded on a desert island, his basic necessities would be running shoes, a Bible, a fishing rod, and books (alright, Mr. President!), that he’s fluent in Spanish (really? this is somehow especially shocking), and that he’s a walking encyclopedia of baseball trivia. This last bit is particularly useful to me, as my main character in this novel is a 14-year-old pitching phenom. Along that line, it’s also useful to me to know that, besides being the managing partner of the Texas Rangers, Bush was a pitcher for the Yale University baseball team. I also now know that Bush is 5’11” and *may* have a shoe size of 10-1/2. All very important information when you’re writing a story that blends presidential intrigue with rumors of an alien stink bomb.
But by far the most important Bush trivia of all, at least to me, today of all days, is that the cardiologist put on call in case Bush had had a heart attack while he was in San Diego last week was Dr. Robert Reichman, the very same doctor who, this very morning, is performing heart bypass surgery on my father.
Not too many things can shake your world more mightily than having your father undergoing open heart surgery. But knowing that the best heart doctor in San Diego, the man tapped to crack open the chest of the President of the United States should his heart suddenly require tinkering, is the man in charge of my father’s heart, at least makes it tolerable.
But only just barely.