I was sitting in the Lighthouse Tavern on Sunday night, watching the World Series with the sound down, when I suddenly grabbed the friend at the next stool by the arm.
“Look, on the TV!” I shouted. “It’s ROD BLAGOJEVICH!”
There was the ex-governor, in a black suit, black shirt and green tie, opening a briefcase stuffed with pistachio nuts. Only once in his post-political career has Blagojevich made a more surprising, more embarrassing appearance -- when he sang “Treat Me Nice” at a Chicago street fair.
“Rod Blagojevich does it innocently,” the narrator said, as Blagojevich cracked and ate a nut. “Wonderful pistachios -- get crackin’.”
Wonderful Pistachios is known for hiring celebrities who are famous for being infamous. They’ve cut ads with Levi Johnston, baby daddy of Sarah Palin’s granddaughter; Wee Man of the Jackass crew; Snooki from MTV’s Jersey Shore; and Miss South Carolina Teen USA Lauren Catlin, who gave an incomprehensible answer to a beauty pageant question. Because all these people are nuts! Get it?
A pistachio ad is a step down the celebrity ladder from Reality TV. At least Blagojevich’s castmates on Celebrity Apprentice were famous for some achievement -- singing, cooking, wrestling -- even if they weren’t as famous as they used to be. If Blagojevich stoops any lower, he’ll be stuffing hissing cockroaches in his mouth for a traveling circus.
Maybe Blagojevich is lucky he’s such a clown. Most disgraced politicians never have a chance to profit from their malfeasance in office. Mel Reynolds didn’t get to do an for the Lotto. George Ryan was never asked to shill for a truck driving school. Blagojevich has been ruined financially by Patrick Fitzgerald, but at least he can still make a living off his public image as the governor with the pre-pubescent hairstyle. And he can taint the jury pool for his next trial by having a pistachio company declare him innocent.
Of course, every time Blagojevich goes on TV, he doesn’t just embarrass himself. He embarrasses us, the people who elected him. Isn’t there a law firm out there who can give an ex-governor a job? You’d be doing the state of Illinois a favor.