How I Happened To Meet Karl Rove

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You're not going to believe this next one...

As you know, I was in Washington DC this week.

So Thursday, late afternoon, I get to the airport and I make it to the gate with plenty of time to spare. I'm feeling pretty good about that, all told. And how about that -- the flight is on time. So I'm kicking back, sitting there reading the Wall Street Journal, with one eye cocked on the gate listening for any changes in the schedule. You know, you have to be careful -- sometimes they'll change the departure gate on you with no warning.

Anyway, a few minutes before they start to board I get up and move toward the doorway when I see this guy standing there with his carry-on luggage. He's wearing a blue sport coat over a plaid button-down shirt and tan slacks. He's a middle-aged guy, balding, with frizzy gray hair on top of his dome-like skull. He's wearing wire-rim glasses.

Holy crap! It's Karl Rove.

Moving carefully, I take a few steps forward. I take his picture.


Then he walks up to one of the gate agents and, smiling, says something while motioning with his hands. The two of them look at each other for a moment and then the gate agent lets him board first, before everyone else. After he disappears down the jetway, I turn to the guy next to me and say, "Is it me, or did that guy look just like Karl Rove?" The guy answers, "That was Rove, all right."

Hunh. Karl Rove. On my flight! What are the odds?

So I'm thinking, "OK, he'll be seated in first class, so get your cellphone ready. When you walk onto the plane, pretend like you're checking your email and snap his photo."

I wait while they board the other zones. Then as they call my zone, I get my camera ready. I walk down the jetway and onto the plane. I'm in first class. No Rove. Dang!

Then I pass into coach and there he is, in 19B (a middle seat), five rows in front of where I'll be sitting. Karl Rove in coach? By himself? Hunh. I stop in the aisle in front of him.

The guy behind him is leaning over the seat talking to him. I don't hear what he's saying exactly, but he's really chatting him up in a fawning way. I've got about five seconds to decide what I'm going to do.

Now, another man might have called him a douchebag, another one might simply have gotten angry and yet another one might have walked right on by, saying nothing. And of course there's always the possibility that "Rove" is some sort of pathetic celebrity impersonator. Although -- my G-d! -- who would want a career impersonating Karl freaking Rove? I'm also thinking I don't want to miss the moment and/but I definitely don't want to be detained by security and taken off the plane.

Rove looks at me. I look back. "Holy crap!" I say. "It's MC Rove." He tilts his head back and laughs. "Oh, gosh, no," he says, all modest.

"Can I have your autograph?" I hand him my boarding pass but instead of taking it, he reaches into his jacket pocket and takes out his billfold. "Here's a pen," says The Goofball behind him. Without glancing back, Rove takes out a business card (and his own pen). He signs the card. He hands it to me.

(Click image to see a larger version. Note: the card wasn't one of those crappy ones printed with thermographic ink -- it was embossed.)

The Goofball rattles on. "Would you sign an autograph for me, Mr. Rove? It would mean so much to my wife..." He's a douchebag.

Now, like I said, another man might have unpacked a short rant. Me? I took out my cellphone and snapped his picture because, after all, you never know: maybe a photograph really does steal a man's soul.



Mark Adams Author Profile Page said:

I'm speechless, and figure we're being monitored anyway so talk of what you might have done if you had a pointed stick just isn't appropriate, and ... Holy Crap.

Ara Rubyan Author Profile Page said:

I'm just saying.

shep Author Profile Page said:

Hee. That's a great story, Ara (and an admirable display of self-control :^)

When I can get to typing it up, I'll tell you about an "encounter" I had in DC a few weeks ago.

double-plus-ungood Author Profile Page said:

Sweet. Seems like a nice enough guy when he isn't destroying democracy...

Mark Adams Author Profile Page said:

My daughter informed me last night that even Hitler was a tremendous artist -- if you believe his press clippings.

(Yes, I'm creating a monster.

Ara Rubyan Author Profile Page said:

I saw a movie recently, The Rape of Europa, in which they tell the story of how the Nazis stole (or attempted to steal) all the great art work of Europe, and how it was recovered after the war.

Anyway, in the movie, they interviewed a guy who was in Hitler's art school class. He, along with Hitler and one other guy, all applied to the art institute of higher learning. Only two of them made it -- and Hitler was left behind.

"I've often wondered," he said, "how history might have turned out had I not been accepted and Hitler went instead."

Ara Rubyan Author Profile Page said:

Before I forget -- there's a postscript to the Rove anecdote...

The day after it happened, my son calls me and says he dialed the number on the business card.

"Karl Rove's office," says the female voice on the other end.

"Sorry, wrong number," says my son, quickly hanging up.

He then proceeded to call the White House switchboard.

"May I speak to Karl Rove please?" he asks. My son, who will be 20 in September, has a deep voice and a lot of poise.

"What is this regarding," says the operator.

"I'm calling from the University of Michigan."

"Are you with the Dean's office?"


He was then peppered with about a dozen other questions before they finally blew him off.

I'm just saying.

shep Author Profile Page said:

"My son, who will be 20 in September, has a deep voice and a lot of poise."

Crank-calling the Bush White House?! He's got something made of brass all right but I've never heard them called "poise" before.

Ara Rubyan Author Profile Page said:

Hahahahaha! I'll pass that along.

Michael Author Profile Page said:
maybe a photograph really does steal a man's soul.
Soul? What soul?

Karl Rove has a soul?

Ara Rubyan Author Profile Page said:

Not any more!

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