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Better Late Than Never

I was sitting in the stands of a high school football game in the last weekend of September when a friend asked me if I ever wrote any content about George HW Bush.  I answered, “No“, and then fessed up that I actually knew very little about the man.  His presidency seemed forgettable as he was sandwiched in between two bigger personalities with Reagan preceding and Clinton coming after.  Add to that, his son was president not soon after his term, and the old man kind of got lost in the sauce.

So on October 1st, I sat down at the computer to research Bush Senior and I realized his story is worth telling, but his story was also one worth leaving in my draft folder until his inevitable death.

It was the first time I eulogized someone who was still alive, but at 94, we all can agree that George Sr should not have bought any green bananas in 2018, and I am sure every dump he took in the last few months, he took thinking that it was probably his last.

Fast forward to last night, and I was drunk when the news dropped that he finally dropped, so I was not able to fill in the blanks and hit PUBLISH on the Mad Libs-like eulogy I started at the end of the summer.  I would like to take part of the blame for missing my eulogy window, but honestly, who dies on a Friday night?

Chaps is a big fan of Bush (double entendre?), so I suggest you read the blog he penned following the news of Senior’s timely death…

And since I had mine all teed up for the last 3 months I will throw it out now, just for the hell of it.

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RIP GEORGE HW BUSH

George Herbert Walker Bush passed away today at the ripe old age of xx, making him the oldest ex-president (second place was Gerald Ford, who passed away in 2006 at the age of 93).  His ultimate cause of death was xxxxx, and he passed away in xxxxx surrounded by xxxxx.

As is tradition, the NYSE and NASDAQ will close for a session on Wednesday, 12/5 to mourn the loss of a US president.  I remember being surprised at that tradition when I was working on the floor, and I also vividly remember brokers rushing to the phones to set up tee times once the news of Nixon’s demise hit the tape.

I also recall keeping a close eye on Jimmy Carter’s health after that, and would often fantasize about a scenario where Clinton, Obama, Carter and both Bushes would die tragically in a gas main explosion at the dedication of some new library.  Five presidential birds with one fiery stone would’ve given me a solid week off to mourn in my own unique way.

That perfect storm of presidential death had never happened, obviously.  In fact, in my 25 years on the street I was only privy to 3 days off.  One after Nixon passed in April of 1994.  One when Reagan passed in June of 2004.  And most recently, when Gerald Ford passed the day after Christmas in 2006.  You would think there would’ve been more, but we had so many multi-term presidents in my lifetime (Reagan, Clinton, W, and Obama), that the death pool is pretty shallow, unfortunately.

By coincidence, I started this draft on October 1st… Jimmy Carter’s birthday.  Carter also turned 94 in 2018, and he is a mere 4 months younger than Bush Sr.  So George’s dubious distinction of being the longest living US president will only hold if Carter passes away within 4 months of his passing (or if Jimmy goes first, obviously, and fingers crossed!).

If Carter goes first (he didn’t, obviously), I will probably not write anything because I have too much invested in Bush’s eulogy already, I will leave Jimmy to someone else here at Barstool… My money is on Marty Mush who probably lost $1,000 on the long-odds of Obama being the first one to die.

Here’s the skinny on George Sr…

George Herbert Walker Bush was born on June 12, 1924, in Milton, Massachusetts (which was also the site of Barstool’s first office). The son of a US Senator, he was born into a wealthy and politically active family.

On his 18th birthday, Bush enlisted in the U.S. Navy, becoming the youngest pilot in the Navy during World War II.

He served as a combat pilot in the war, flying carrier-based torpedo bomber aircraft and a total of 58 combat missions.

On September 2, 1944, while flying a mission to bomb an enemy radio site, his plane was shot down by Japanese fire; Bush bailed out over the ocean and was eventually rescued by a submarine.

He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his WWII service.

While still in the Navy, Bush married Barbara Pierce on January 6, 1945, in Rye, New York.  They went on to have six children: George Walker (1946- ); Robin, who was born in 1949 and died in 1953 of leukemia; John Ellis “Jeb” (1953- ); Neil (1955- ); Marvin (1956- ); and Dorothy “Doro” (1959- ).

After the war, Bush attended Yale University, where he was a member of Skull and Bones, which may sound like a line of undersized flannel shirts for hipsters in Williamsburg, but is actually an undergraduate secret student society.  H was the second member of S&B to eventually become president.  The first was our 27th (and fattest) president, William H Taft.

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He served as Ronald Reagan’s vice president for two terms and then won the 1988 U.S. presidential race, before losing his bid for a second term to Bill Clinton.

During his presidency, Bush skillfully handled foreign affairs during a tumultuous time for the nation. Just months into his first term, he responded to the dissolve of the Soviet Union and oversaw the U.S. military’s removal of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega from power. Not long after, Bush responded to then Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait (August 1990), creating a national coalition and leading a military strike to drive Hussein out of the oil-rich country. Bush’s handling of the invasion in Kuwait is largely viewed as his greatest presidential success.

HW wasn’t without controversy…

– His father, Prescott, was a founding member of a bank suspected of holding gold on behalf of Nazi leaders.

– A 2008 book titled Family of Secrets alleged connections between the Bush family with the Central Intelligence Agency and asserts that President George H.W. Bush was linked to the Watergate scandal and was part of the cabal responsible for the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

– And in late 2017, Bush was among a list of politicians and Hollywood bigwigs accused of sexual harassment. His alleged indiscretions dated back to at least 1992, though most of the accusations stemmed from more recent events.

Bush’s spokesman later attributed those last allegations to the wheelchair-bound former president being unable to reach above waist level when posing for photos with women… Which is a fantastic excuse for dirty old man, and one that I hope to use someday.

Rest in peace, former president… Enjoy the day off, former workmates.

Take a report.

-Large