OK, there are a lot of reasons; e.g., I would be almost entirely unqualified for the job. (Contrary to popular opinion — and especially as regards posts as important as Treasury Secretary — competence is one of the criteria.)

But had there ever been any thought of naming me, say, Assistant Under- Deputy Treasury Secretary for Making the Press Releases Snappy and Grammatical — a post I hope it is not boastful to suggest I actually might fill rather well — it was dashed in the summer of 1992 when I attended a fund-raiser for the candidate in Miami.

He was only the candidate, but I knew he would be president, so when a woman handed me her camera and asked me to take a picture, I went into quiz-show mode. (Quiz show mode is when you are asked something you know perfectly well — the capital of Kentucky — but because you are being watched by 100 people in the studio audience and 4 million people at home — you stutter, “Louisville?”)

The woman had a firm grasp around Governor Clinton, and he around her, and both were smiling — but with dozens of others eager for the moment to pass so they could have their moment — and I was fumbling. The natural ergonomics of the camera, where your eye just more or less automatically finds and frames the subject, and your finger just more or less automatically finds the button, was failing me.

“Turn it around, Andy” said the next president of the United States. Even from a few feet away, he could see I was about to take a picture (if I could locate the button) of my right cheekbone.

I knew at that moment I would never have to leave the private sector for government service.

The capital of Kentucky, by the way, is Frankfort.

Tomorrow: A Stock Tip



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