The Crack-Up

by Bob Ingram

Dorothy Parker looked down at Scott Fitzgerald in his coffin and offered her eulogy: “The poor son of a bitch.”
Shortly after, in 1945, Edmund Wilson collected Fitzgerald’s final Esquire essays into a book called The Crack-Up. The term has passed into common usage. We all pretty much know what it means, although now the preferred term is “losing it.”
Francis Scott Fitzgerald’s crack-up in all its sadness and tragedy still maintained the man’s inherent grace. He was that rare and now almost vanished person, a gentleman, even in his twisting downward spiral. Jesus, he wrote about his own crack-up, wrote with depth and awareness and humor and irony even as the waters closed over him. Now we call it “a class act.”
Guess who’s eminent crack-up is going to be totally classless, like the sordid life that has proceeded and produced it? Donald Trump will go down ugly and brutal, which is only apropos.
It is already beginning. The kitchen is too small and the heat is too high. “Covfefe” might be for Trump what “Rosebud” was for Charles Foster Kane.
I can’t believe they let him stagger around Europe and the Middle East like “a drunken tourist,” as an aide put it. And Trump doesn ‘t even drink. Maybe he should take it up.
He was “fatigued,” they said, from reading too much on AF One on the way over. TV and Diet Cokes, more like it. Lay’s Potato Chips. Two scoops of ice cream. Extra sauce. The dude is 70 years old and has the life habits of a pimply teenager.
You know how they show those pictures of how the presidents age over time? That’s over years. Trump is barely out of the gate and he’s looking totally raggedy already. Puffy, baggy eyes, skin like a cottonmouth, and he’s getting porky and moving with the grace of an aged anteater.
Our esteemed leader cannot take the pressure that is just beginning. Truly serious pressure from truly serious people. These aren’t caddies on his Scottish golf courses or hat-in-hand general contractors at one of his ticky-tacky building sites.
These are vetted, experienced Beltway veterans who have been around every block and know every alley and back door where frauds like Trump and his gang will look for refuge. There isn’t any. These people have time and resources and they will use them in their own way and the pressure will be unrelenting. These dogs hunt.
Trump will be finally, inescapably treed and he might snarl and tweet and offer up sacrifices, but in the end – one way or another – he will crack up. He Iacks the courage and moral fiber to withstand anything he cannot control. He is a sniveling, inveterate coward — a lowlife punk — and it will be there for all to see and then they will come for him.
And they will find him, like Nixon, wandering the ghostly halls of the mansion he has disgraced with his every breath, the distant dawn offering no reprieve. He will be alone in his crack-up as he has been alone in his life, trusting no one, loving no one, his shell now stripped for all the world to see the emptiness beneath it.
And recoil.

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