Most people know of Paul Ryan, the United States Congressman and presumptive Republican Vice Presidential nominee, as the face of his party’s attempt to overhaul our nation’s budget. Over the pat few years he has been the poster boy, both literally and figuratively, for the Republican push to reign in our nation’s leviathan-sized debt by stripping away the social safety net in order to give the wealthy of this country a much deserved tax break. What most people don’t know, however, is that underneath his All-American facade lies a dark and deviant past, a past forged in the crucibles of western Ohio, during the formative years he spent studying at Miami Univeristy, Ohio. As it turns out I, too, happened to be passing through that region of the country about twenty years ago, and spent an eventful summer getting to know the future Congressman. The following is an account of that time…
We first met on a windswept stretch of Interstate 75 just outside of Troy, Ohio. It was the middle of summer, and as I cruised down the highway, my air conditioning barely operable, all I could think about was getting a bottle of cold beer between my teeth. Lost in my daydreams, I somehow nearly missed the long-haired hippie standing on the side of the road next to a broken down Oscar Mayer Weinermobile. He was hysterically waving his bandanna at passing motorists, desperately trying to find a good samaritan to pull over and help him out. Despite my deep yearning for a respite from the heat, something about the young man tugged at my heartstrings, and I decided to lend a hand.
I pulled over onto the shoulder. Before I could even get out of my car I was met by the foul odor of patchouli and rotting tie-dye fluids. The face that greeted me, a giant grin on it writ large beneath an unkempt, scraggly beard, was that of a young man who I doubted was even of legal drinking age. I adroitly maneuvered myself several feet away from the despoiled youth, farther from his noxious smell, and listened to his tale of woe.
He told me of a dead father, a sick mother, of working hard to save money to pay for college, going so far as to captain the Weinermobile. He said that if he couldn’t get the four-wheeled dildo up and running again within the hour he would miss an important delivery, thus losing his job and, likely, his ability to continue with his studies. We took a look at the engine, quickly realizing it was a lost cause, and instead packed as many cases of frozen wieners into my trunk as possible in order to complete the delivery as best we could. Once we had packed the car the two of us jumped in and I sped off in the direction of Columbus. As the speedometer neared eighty I realized I had skipped an essential formality, one that is especially pertinent when picking up hitchhikers.
“My name’s Peter,” I said as I extended my hand across the cup holders.
“Ryan, Paul Ryan,” he replied. “Nice to meet you. Thanks for the ride.”
Although the hard red lines in his eyes belied the fact that he was obviously a hardcore drug fiend, I assured him the ride wasn’t a problem and we set off wordlessly on our way. A short while later we pulled into Columbus. After dropping off the wieners at the state fairgrounds, Ryan collected his fee, and the two of us now found ourselves in the middle of Ohio on a summer’s eve with nothing to do. We stood there for a long, awkward moment.
“I owe you for the hospitality,” he said to me.
“Seriously, don’t worry about it,” I told him. “It was my yearly good deed.”
“No,” he said, “I owe you. If you’d like, I know a guy here who sells some of the dopest weed in the state. All I have to do is give him a call and the two of us’ll be sky high by the time the evening news is over.”
I thought this over for a moment. Accepting drugs from brand new acquaintances had gotten me in trouble in the past.
“I don’t know,” I said warily. “Don’t get me wrong, you seem cool and all, I just don’t know this drug dealer of yours form Cain.”
Again he assured me. “Look, since I moved to Ohio this guy has hooked me up with everything – shrooms, acid, coke, smack, pills, pot, and PCP – and not once have I been disappointed.” He threw an arm around my shoulder. “Trust me”.
End of Part One.