I was flipping through the channels the other day when I heard a CNN reporter say something along the lines of "Something, something, since John Sununu," and I thought, "Oh, yeah. John Sununu. Who was I again?"
I've heard my name enough times to think that I was a fairly big deal in Washington back in the day, but I can't put a finger on what exactly I did or why I was important.
John Sununu. John Sununu. It's like one of these iconic Washington names that you just know, right? I know it, people from Generation X know it, even some kids in their 20s might kind of know it, but all that comes to mind when I hear it is "political guy during the '80s or early '90s."
It's on the tip of my tongue, just give me a minute.
Press secretary maybe? Secretary of state? I'm pretty sure I had a really important title, but I have no clue what that was. I know I wasn't the president of the United States. I know that. I think I was fairly close to the president, though, because I vaguely remember news clips of myself shaking hands and talking with him, possibly in the Oval Office, so I must have been pretty high up, right? Which president, though? Bush? Or was it Reagan? I don't think it was Clinton, because I'm pretty sure I'm a Republican who wasn't Newt Gingrich.
Was I a senator? I don't think so. Maybe.
Ugh, this is killing me. I really feel like I should know who I am and what I did, especially if I had such an important role in government. You know what I think of when I hear my name? Important men in suits walking down a hallway—literally the most unspecific image there is.
It's the same with Tip O'Neill and Dick Gephardt. Real important people with catchy names who had a lot of responsibility, but I couldn't tell you what in the hell those people did or whether they're dead or alive. To be honest, I was actually sort of surprised to find out I was still alive, mainly because I haven't thought about myself in years. Either way, I'm going to go ahead and assume that at one point I was influential enough to, say, be in newspaper articles. Hell, there might even be news articles written specifically about me.
Quick question: Was I one of those important Washington guys who writes an op-ed in The New York Times, and you get to the bottom of the column and it says, "John Sununu is (insert pretty important title here)," and readers are impressed that I'd write something for The New York Times? I feel like I might have been that significant. I'm sure, if nothing else, I was more important than Brent Scowcroft. Then again, maybe in the grand scheme of things he was actually more important than me but his name just isn't as memorable.
Oh! You know who I am? That guy. The one who had to resign from the Senate because of sexual harassment or whatever. What's-his-name, uh, Packwood. Bob Packwood. Yeah, that's me. No, wait, hold on. What am I saying? That doesn't make any sense. My name isn't Bob Packwood. It's John Sununu. Shit.
Okay, let's think what was going on in that era and maybe we can piece this together. The Cold War was just ending, but I probably didn't do a ton to directly end it. I was big, but I wasn't Mikhail Gorbachev big. Sports? Was I in sports? I don't feel like I was in sports. Hmm. I remember Indiana Jones movies being popular back then, but I'm sure I wasn't in any of them. Or was I? I do like those movies. Maybe I'm remembered for liking those movies? Seems silly. I vaguely recall being lampooned in one of The Naked Gun films, but I don't remember which one it was, and I don't remember what my character did. What I do know is that I was famous enough to be lampooned. Late-night talk-show hosts made fun of me for a little while there, and they don't make fun of just anyone. Was I the John Sununu that was on Charlie Rose once, or was that my son? I didn't even know I had a son until I saw him on there.
Have I been talking about my famous son this entire time?
Did I ever run for president? I don't think so. But maybe I thought about running for president, or maybe I was important enough for somebody to ask me if I ever thought about running for president. Did I take a bribe, maybe? Hmm. My gut is that I wasn't big in the military. That's Oliver North, you know, the guy who stood up and raised his hand. The last time I talked to him, though, he said he didn't quite remember what that was for, but he did say it was really important at the time.