How Do Hyperambitious Workaholics Get In Touch With Their Sensual Side?

David Brooks is my hero for being both a force of intelligence and humor, a rarefied combination that can take anyone anywhere. (And as such I’ve lost the ability to critically analyze anything he says since I take it all as pure gospel.) With that disclosure, he speaks to me in his column today.

Leaked documents reveal Dick Cheney’s suite demands are telling — the TV must be tuned to Fox News in every one of his hotel rooms. John Kerry doesn’t like celery and his Cobb salads must have ranch dressing. Brooks:

In the first place it’s interesting to watch politicians and their staffs try to come up with lists of items intended to produce sensual pleasure. People who go into politics tend to be the sort of hyperambitious workaholics who have repressed the Dionysian side of their natures in order to become high school tools, college applicant all-stars and twenty-something mentor magnets, in pursuit of their dreams of someday becoming deputy under secretary of commerce. Then they flock to Washington, a city with an erogenous zone the size of a pea. These are not people with highly developed hedonism skills.

What they come up with, as they contemplate pleasure, is a sort of dweeb decadence. Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll are beyond them. Their fantasies run in the direction of really well-selected energy bars. Their memos call for an orgy of decaf, a Mardi Gras of bottled water, a Caligulan binge of chamomile tea. It’s like watching the Taliban production of "Entourage."

Well, I can’t say I aspire to be the deputy under secretary of commerce, but I do certainly obsess about my energy bars and have essentially zero hedonism skills. I should hire Cheney’s staffers and get some tips on how to find true pleasure in life.

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