The whole thing started about 25 years ago, when I was in fifth grade. In my class was one Jared Kushner, now topmost presidential advisor, then the prodigal grandson of the man after which our school was named. He had the same dimpled, Ken Doll face he has now, his dirty-blonde hair always neatly combed to Jay-Gatsby slickness. There was no denying that Jared was as dreamy as any one of the famous Jonathans on the cover of Tiger Beat. And he had a cool detachment about him which suggested, even then, that he orbited on a higher plane than the rest of us lowly mortals.
Jared had a cousin who was also in our class, with dark hair, round eyes, and a big personality – essentially, Jared’s opposite in looks and temperament. But, being family, they were a team. The cousin – let’s call him Elmo – would often pick on me while Jared looked on, neither participating nor interfering, like a golden Adonis looking down from Mount Olympus (or, in this case, the Livingston Mall). Elmo was often brutal, as were other kids in my class, and it was not uncommon for me to go home in tears.
(No need for pity. It gave me great material. #thecapehouse)
Evening after evening, my father would see my pink, teary face, until he finally had enough. He pulled me into the library, shut the door, and said, “I’m going to teach you how to fight.”
“I thought we’re not supposed to hit people,” I replied. “You said that if they made fun of me, I should say, ‘I’m fat, you’re ugly, and I can lose weight.’”
“Yeah, well, there comes a point when you just have to kick their ass.”
For the next week, my father was Burgess Meredith in a yarmulke, teaching his tubby Rocky how to punch. He told me to be fearless, and go right for the face. Finally, after one of my swings knocked him over, he said I was ready. All I had to do was wait for the right opportunity.
It came soon enough, in art class. I will acknowledge that, eager to test my punch-throwing skills, I may or may not have thrown a marker at Elmo and Jared, which tipped off a slew of harsh name-calling. Even Jared got in on it, spewing a few choice phrases from his rosebud lips.
It was time.
I reared back my fist and swung, aiming right for Jared’s gorgeous face. Alas, my spatial perception was slightly off; a good three feet separated us, and my arm flew right past him like a giant bumblebee. The speed threw me off balance, and my shoulder almost out of its socket. Jared leaned back just slightly out of instinct, but looked at me like I’d just vomited on his shoes.
It was not my best work.
Now, let us take a DeLorean ride back to that moment in the early ‘90’s and change the script so that I actually made contact. I might have broken Jared’s nose, blackened his eye, or at the very least, bruised his ego. The shame of it might have haunted him for years, killing the confidence he would have needed to approach one Ivanka Trump. He would have never become Donald’s wingman, nor advised him in his presidential campaign. In other words, my failed attempt to kick Jared Kushner’s ass put Donald Trump in the White House.
To one half of America, I’m sorry.
To the other half, You’re welcome.