Kent Bernhardt: Not quite leader material

  • Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2013 1:20 a.m.

The other day, I actually heard myself laugh out loud when an acquaintance of mine suggested that I should run for President.

You may have just experienced a similar reaction even thinking about that prospect.


I could never run for President. Not only am I grossly unqualified to lead a nation, I don’t have nearly enough interesting dirt in my life to make people want to follow me in the news.

America loves a colorful candidate and a good scandal, which is why America wouldn’t love me.

I’m simply too dull. Presidential candidates have to register way up on the excite-ometer before voters even know they’re alive.

Sure, I’ve had plenty of embarrassing moments in my life, probably just like you. But my moments aren’t the headline grabbing kind. I’d probably have to tell my staff to make a few things up to keep me interesting.

However, if you look deeply enough into anyone’s life, you’re bound to unearth a few juicy scandalous nuggets. In fact, just to save the press some trouble, I’ll reveal some of mine.

First of all, I call myself an animal lover, but I’m secretly very wary of cats.

I don’t trust them. Never have. As far as I’m concerned, the purr sound is just a decoy to make us think they like us. I think it’s actually secret code to other cats, and gives humans a false sense of security. They’re patiently waiting for the moment when they can scratch our throats open and take over the world.

Though I have a cat, I’m more of a dog man. Dogs have no agenda whatsoever. All they want is for someone to accidentally drop a chicken leg on the floor, or another opportunity to lick themselves.

Here’s something else the press would eventually dig up: In the ninth grade, I was invited to a dance by a girl, and even though I told her I would go, I faked an illness to get out of it.

I’m not proud of that at all. I just didn’t want to go with her. A friend ratted me out and told her, and she was very hurt. I felt like a jerk, which I was.

Looking back, I should’ve just taken her to the dance. We would’ve both had a nice time. There was no excuse for my behavior, but it’s still in my past and the press will eventually root it out when they stumble across her voodoo doll that looks like me.

Factoid number three: Like most men, I pretend to be macho, but I’m not. In fact, I scream like a little girl when I’m startled by a camelback cricket.

They’re the most unpredictable insects on the planet, and they can jump from the floor to your face in no time. So even if I’m President, if a camelback cricket jumps on me during my inaugural address, I’m going to scream like a little girl. You should know that before you elect me.

You should also know I once told an elderly lady that I liked the music of Slim Whitman. I don’t know why I said that to her because I actually hate his music, but that poor soul took the time to make me four cassettes of his greatest hits as a gift. I just smiled and told her she shouldn’t have. And really, she shouldn’t have.

She passed away long ago, but I think I still have the cassettes somewhere around the house.

A few other things you should know before you vote for me:

Unlike some past Presidents, I’m not a skirt chaser by anyone’s standards. But I’m also glad women can’t read my mind.

If a talk show host asks me which President was my personal favorite, if I’m being honest I’ll say Calvin Coolidge. He was dull too by most standards, but any President who would hide in the White House bushes just so he could jump out and scare the Secret Service agents is my kind of President. Coolidge actually did that.

When they ask me about past marijuana use, I’ll be able to truthfully say that, unless you count the second hand smoke that filtered into my dorm room at UNCC or the breathable air in the Charlotte Coliseum at a 1975 Three Dog Night concert, I’ve yet to actually inhale.

But if you can get high on second hand pot smoke, I’ve probably been stoned a couple of times and didn’t even know it. Either way, there are worse things you can do in life.

And speaking of inhaling, Bill Clinton may have been able to dazzle a late-night talk show audience with some cool blues on his saxophone, but the best I’ll be able to muster is a ukulele solo, and not a very good one at that. That’ll be as exciting as Nixon playing the piano.

So I think it’s clear that I’m pretty lean in the excitement department. Therefore, I’m not very good Presidential material.

But if I do manage someday to get nominated, thanks to this column I’ve just lost the votes of every Slim Whitman fan in the country.

Kent Bernhardt lives in Salisbury.

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