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Jewish World Review August 8, 2003 / 10 Menachem-Av, 5763

Tom Purcell

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Why not have a whole slew of the world's dignitaries and leaders come by to visit you? | President Bush is enjoying his annual one-month vacation at his Crawford, Texas ranch and some folks are suggesting he's slacking. But they've got it all wrong. Bush isn't slacking. He's just doing what a lot more Americans are doing these days: telecommuting.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more Americans are working from their homes than ever before, and that is a good thing. Telecommuters reduce traffic congestion and air pollution and are able to spend more time with their children. You'd think folks would be praising Bush for setting a good example, but noooooooo! So let me offer the president some advice on how to deal with his critics:

Mr. President, I've been working from my home since 1993. Before I moved to Washington five years ago, I had a house in the country, too. My country neighbors were critical of me. I told them I was a writer who worked from home, but they thought I was in the Witness Protection Program. Though I never faulted them for being suspicious. After all, I did drive a Japanese sedan, not a truck, though I had a gun rack in the rear window.

My challenge is similar to yours. Everybody thinks that because I work from home, I'm slacking off. Friends and family call during the day to chat. Sometimes people just drop in unannounced to say hello. Sometimes I lose my head and shout at my visitors. I tell them that I am hard at work and that they should respect my time, though, I admit, my argument is weakened by the fact that I'm usually wearing boxer shorts and haven't shaved since Monday.

That's why the first thing you should do every day is shower up, Mr. President. Put on your suit and tie and dive into the day, just like you would when working from the Oval Office. Don't fall into any bad habits, either, such as flipping on "TVLand'' while eating cereal for lunch. You could get hooked on those 1970s reruns and then you won't get any work done.

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I also warn you about the isolation. When I first began working from home, I couldn't have been happier. I was able to avoid office politics just as you are avoiding Washington politics. But I soon learned that, as a social animal, I need the contact of people, even people I would normally avoid.

So why don't you take advantage of the situation and invite some of your adversaries over. Heck, invite Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle down. Maybe you can get the Secret Service boys to accidentally bump him into your fishing hole.

In fact, why not have a whole slew of the world's dignitaries and leaders come by to visit you? When they come to Washington, they stay at posh hotels and eat the world's finest food. Why not set up a summer camp for those boys, a "tough-love" program that makes them sleep in the fields at night and go hunting and fishing together all day long. Then have them join you for an ice-cold beer and a Texas barbecue. Sure, they'll probably fight over the same sandwich, but it would be a start.

Another challenge you may have will be separating your workday from the rest of your day. I find myself doing work on Saturday, Sunday and into the evenings. Subsequently, I also find myself doing non-work things during the weekdays, such as taking long, deep naps. Never let this happen, Mr. President, but if you do, I highly recommend disconnecting the fax machine, as there is no more annoying way to be roused from your slumber than a fax machine ringer.

But above all, Mr. President, don't let your critics get to you. You'll be working from your home for a whole month. As I see it, you've become the spokesperson for every one of us telecommuters who have suffered for too long now. Give them hec, Mr. President. Make them give us telecommuters some respect.

And don't forget to keep your TV Guide nearby. TVLand has a terrific afternoon lineup this summer.

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08/01/03: Do you really want to live until 500?
07/18/03: "Ain't-my-fault" lawsuits are becoming more creative
07/18/03: The real story never makes for good summertime drama in Washington
07/11/03: Government bureaucrats, not elected officials, are really the ones determining what people and organizations can and can't do
07/03/03: Overworked Americans
06/27/03: The Metrosexual Male
06/20/03: Crime Etiquette in Washington, D.C.
06/13/03: My Father, the Thief and the MGB
06/05/03: An Open Letter to Bill and Hillary
05/30/03: We are a busy people
05/23/03: Liar, Liar
05/16/03: Laffer all the way to the bank
05/09/03: My mother's house
05/02/03: Teaching the Iraqis how to protest
04/25/03: Iraqi TV
04/21/03: Explaining Democracy to the Iraqis
04/11/03: Major increases to the beer tax? That's a cheap shot right to the beer gut
04/04/03: War humor
03/31/03: Dolphins, PETA and the USA
03/21/03: Traffic Wars
03/14/03: Ronald Reagan's St. Patrick's Day
03/03/03: My Family's Tragic Secret: We're French
02/21/03: I'm worried about my people
02/14/03: George Washington Makeover
02/07/03: Making quiet sacrifices
01/24/03: "Gimme the, goo-goo, gah-gah, remote!"
01/21/03: "Misunderestimated"
01/10/03: Republican night life
01/06/03: Exercise pills
12/31/02: They provide unending joy to those who are wise enough to let them in
12/13/02: Hurried Man Syndrome
12/06/02: In DC, snowstorms have important ramifications --- or, at least, they should
11/26/02: Police advertising
11/15/02: An Interview with Osama
11/01/02: How to vote in America
10/25/02: On edge in Washington, D.C
10/11/02: Giving new meaning to "selling your body"
10/04/02: Bush's Angels
09/27/02: Conservatives, Liberals, Dick Armey and Barry Manilow
09/20/02: Are SUV drivers are the new GOPers?
09/13/02: Bubba is Dubya's man
09/06/02: The Freedom to Picnic
08/16/02: Ah, the $izzle of anti-terrorist pork
08/09/02: Vacationless prez and gutless Americans
07/26/02: Study gives women permission not to hide their emotions
07/15/02: Patriot food
06/28/02: Eavesdropping on a San Fran classroom
06/21/02: The crowded skies
06/14/02: Contemporary Father's Day: A conversation for the ages
06/07/02: Legal rights for animals?
05/19/02: Advice for prom goers this year: Hold onto your money
05/10/02: Don't take her for granted
05/03/02: Letter to the parents of a tubby teen
04/26/02: Zacarias Moussaoui gets expert legal advice

© 2002, Tom Purcell