These days, it’s hard for me and my old missionary companion, Willard “Mit” Romney, to spend some good quality time together. In addition to running for president, Mit (he downsized his name a couple of years ago) has been busy shopping at the hardware store for “hardware stuff,” teaching the adult Aaronic priesthood Sunday school class and hanging on for dear life behind his eternal spouse as she pilots the jet ski like a bat out of hell on the blue waters of Lake Winnipesaukee.
So, I jumped at the opportunity to accompany Mit to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. I had run into him at a missionary reunion in Paris, where we renewed acquaintance with our fellow missionaries and reminisced about the best two years of our lives.
Mit and I made a special trip out to the Cimitiere Montmartre on the Avenue Rachel in the 18th arrondissement, where one of our earliest converts, Pierre Derrida—the dissolute brother of the famous postmodern philosopher Jacques Derrida—is buried. The grave itself is overgrown with weeds, unlike the graves on either side belonging to Nijinsky—the most famous dancer of all time—and Adolphe Sax, the renowned inventor of the saxophone.
People say that Mit doesn’t have a trace of compassion for people who are too lazy or poor or stupid to go out there and make a billion dollars, like he did. I know otherwise. Many is the time when I have stood next to him as he wept over the neglected grave of FrÃ¨re Derrida, who drowned in the Seine when he panicked while being baptized by Elder Romney back in 1968.
“Don’t beat yourself up, Elder Romney,” I will invariable say, laying a hand on Mit’s heaving shoulders. “It wasn’t your fault. Poor Pierre was called back home by our Heavenly Father.”
Mit was in a better mood after we stopped at a small sidewalk cafe and shared a nice carafe of Beaujolais.
“Hey!” he said. “How about coming to London for the Olympics for a few days?”
Thus it was that I found myself parked in front of the high-definition TV in Mit’s luxury suite at Claridge’s, a real high-class hotel, as far as I could tell. I felt a bit silly wearing a yellow beret left over from the 2002 Winter Olympics, but Mit insisted that we wear them for good luck.
Mit was most eager to follow the fortunes of his dancing horse, Rafalca, in the dressage competition. It may be that the ride to Greenwich Park tied to the top of taxi may have freaked out the high-strung dancing horse, for he placed out of the competition with a respectable, but not good enough, score of 69.37.
“Ann wanted to use a horse trailer, but I knew for a fact that Rafalca loves riding on top of moving vehicles,” said Mit. “People sure like the London cabbies, but our guy was kind of steamed about the mess old Rafalca left on the top of his cab. Unfortunately, there were also a couple of hoof dents up there when Rafalca heard a polka coming from some pub and thought it was time to start dancing.”
I think most voters would be surprised at what a big sports fan Mit is. He got very excited during the 100-meter dash, observing that “no wonder that Hussein Bolt fella runs like greased lightning—I would, too, if had to elude the Iraqi secret police.” Later, Mit grunted audibly as he did his best to vicariously help an Albanian weightlifter go for gold.
“You know, that dude looks just like Gov. Christie. People don’t realize that Chris is all muscle.”
All of a sudden, Mit is off on a rant about the pressure on him to pick just the right running mate.
“Everyone thinks it’s gotta be perfect, like we were supposed to be synchronized divers or something. Take this Bobby Jindal guy, for instance. Did a pretty decent job in Slumdog Millionaire, but can he stay in the kitchen when it really gets hot? You know, a campaign is worse than water polo, like in the primaries, everyone grabbing your trunks or goosing you underwater.
“Know what I feel like sometimes? One of those rhythm gymnast gals dancing around, throwing balls up in the air or jumping through hoops. Worst thing: You have to keep smiling.”
Mit looked miserable, then brightened. “Hey, look at this. Gals beach volleyball, my favorite.”
D.P. Sorensen writes a satire column for City Weekly.