The following is a piece of satire, and totally imagined.
Maggie Daley rang the top buzzer of a shabby three-flat in Humboldt Park. “L. Logue, Speech Therapy,” the label read. She climbed the steps, and a neatly-dressed man let her into the apartment.
“I’m here on behalf of my husband,” Mrs. Daley said. “He’s about to embark on a lecture tour, but he has difficulty with public speaking. He giggles and stutters, and he can’t complete a sentence.”
“Perhaps your husband shouldn’t be considering a career in public speaking if he has so much difficulty expressing himself,” Logue said.
“It’s not that simple,” Mrs. Daley replied. “He’s about to lose his job, and this will be the family’s only means of support. Mr. Logue, what if I told you my husband was the mayor of Chicago?”
Logue agreed to take on Mrs. Daley’s husband as a patient. A week later, Mayor Daley was sitting in Logue’s office.
“If we’re going to do this, we’ll have to interact as equals,” Logue told the mayor. “You call me Lionel, and I’ll call you Richie.”
“Only my maaa and daaad ever called me Richie,” Mayor Daley said. “If we were equals, you wouldn’t be doing business out of this little apartment. Your alderman would have gotten you a job in the health department.”
“Richie,” Logue said. “I’ve been studying some of your speeches, and you sometimes have trouble using proper terminology. For example, you once told a journalist to go ‘scrooten’ himself. Did you mean scrutinize?”
“Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Scrutinize. Whatever.”
“And here’s another one. You threatened to fire a bullet up a City Hall reporter’s ‘ha ha.’ I think you were meaning to say ‘butt,’ weren’t you?”
“Yeah,” the mayor said.
“Well, it’s OK to use that word. I think one of the reasons you have trouble expressing yourself is that you’re inhibited. Tell me about your relationship with your father.”
“He was mayor, too.”
“He was the most famous mayor in America, and you’ve never felt you’ve been able to live up to his legacy. That’s why you’re so uncomfortable speaking. You feel like you’re not the real Mayor Daley. Now, I want you to say.”
Mayor Daley stood up and began pacing around the room.
“Butt!” he shouted. “Butt, butt, butt, behind, buttocks.”
“Very good, Richie,” Logue said. “I think we’ve made a breakthrough.”
A few months later, Mayor Daley was getting ready to make his first big-money lecture, before the National Retail Merchants Association. Most of the members were Republicans, so the mayor thought he would try to win them over with a funny anecdote. Logue was sitting in front row, to help the mayor through the speech.
“When I was mayor of Chicago,” Daley blurted. “I threatened to shoot a reporter in the butt! Right in the butt!”
Republicans love guns and hate the news media. The crowd went wild. Daley laughed in triumph -- “Ha ha! Ha ha ha!” -- and winked at the speech therapist who’d given him the courage to loosen his tongue and let his thoughts flow freely.
Buy this book! Ward Room blogger Edward McClelland's book, Young Mr. Obama: Chicago and the Making of a Black President , is available Amazon. Young Mr. Obama includes reporting on President Obama's earliest days in the Windy City, covering how a presumptuous young man transformed himself into presidential material. Buy it now!