Without Bumpers, Trump Can’t Bowl
Why our President can’t keep himself out of the Gutter
I went bowling the other day and noticed some kids at a lane a few down from mine. They were about ten years old, and looked like normal bay area kids. Shaggy hair. Skater clothes. The whole deal.
Two of the kids were bowling regularly. They used adult sized balls, and played on the lane with open gutters. The third kid was using the lane’s retractable bumpers for his turns, and playing with a bright orange kids-sized ball.
The two kids without bumpers were quietly focused on becoming better at bowling. They were experimenting, and gradually tuning their skills. Sure, they put it in the gutter some of the time. But they were steadily learning and improving.
Of course, the kid with the bumpers was clearly winning the game. He was carelessly throwing the ball down the lane and watching it bounce wildly off the sides. With each roll, sure enough, he’d take down 5 or 6 pins on brute force alone.
And after each roll, he’d spin around on his heal at the foul line and taunt his friends. He’d make hand gestures and yell things like “eat that!” Then he’d point at the electronic score board to emphasize his lead. He was probably too old to be using bumpers. And he was certainly too old to be bragging about winning when he was playing with a clear advantage.
Our President is a grown example of what happens when a kid leaves the bumpers on for too long. He’s someone who’s never had to improve at anything, and so he’s never tried. He’s used the brute force of his inherited wealth to mow through obstacles without ever needing to pause and learn anything on the way. In living his life with bumpers on, he’s never had to worry about failure: inheriting a few hundred million dollars is the ultimate safety net.
Despite all that, he still brags about how his success is due to his superior skill. And if he sees you throw a gutter ball, he’ll be the first to call you a loser. Sad. Pathetic. He mistakes success with skill and advantage with superiority.
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: If you’d invested in Manhattan real estate in the sixties and seventies, it would be worth a lot more today than what you had bought it for. You don’t need to be a genius to know that real estate is a solid investment, and that appreciation accelerates as supply diminishes, and that Manhattan is an island without a lot of available land. It’s not a complicated business. The difference between Donald Trump and yourself is that he was born with the means to do it.
What is complicated is running a country. There are no bumpers on foreign policy. Or the military. Or public health. Every day, we’re seeing that Donald Trump doesn’t know how to gain the upper hand when he doesn’t already have it, and that he’s not built to win on an even playing field. In a way, it’s not his fault. He’s never had to learn to learn. He’s never had to adapt. He’s soft. He likes television and cake.
And now, without his bumpers, he’s putting up empty frames and complaining daily about how the game is rigged against him. He has said the media is biased against him. He has said there is a shadow faction within the government that is against him. He has said that our allies are against him.
These claims are all false. The media, government workers, and the rest of the world are biased towards common sense, competence, and human decency. They are indifferent to its source. They are indifferent to its party.
It’s disappointing that we live in a world where the President of the United States has none of those things.