This whole week will be filled with concerts, speeches, parades, and…speeches. Aside from the inauguration itself, it can be a little difficult to figure out what to watch. But I know. I’ll be watching the Secret Service dudes.
Those guys are bad, man. They could take out Jason Bourne with one hand tied behind their backs. They make James Bond look like a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars.” Somewhere there is a Secret Service school, and I’ll bet they dedicate a whole semester just to looking cool.
I’ve had a few run-ins with the Secret Service.
The first time was when I found myself on the wrong side of the rope line (I swear it was an accident) when Former-President Ford came around to shake hands with the crowd. The agents appeared out of nowhere, and although they eventually let me shake his hand, I knew (and they KNEW I knew) that one false move and I’d be dropped like a bag of potatoes.
During President Clinton’s term I ran into them twice. Once, when Air Force One landed at my military airstrip, I stood right next to one. I leaned over and asked, “You packing heat?” He glanced at me (as far as I could tell – he was wearing sunglasses), and very quietly said, “Oh yeah.”
My next encounter occurred when I was driving to the on-base range for pistol quals, and came up behind a black suburban driving real slow. As I fell in behind it, the back window opened and I was greeted with a truckload (literally) of Secret Service guys with guns. None of them smiled. They waved me on, and there on the shoulder was the President on his morning jog. I could feel the laser sights burning red dots in the back of my head.
I even sat next to a guy on a plane who said he was on the Presidential Protection squad. He was real talkative, and by the time we landed I was pretty well convinced he was also a compulsive liar. So that doesn’t count.
Anyhow, it doesn’t take stories to convince you that they’re tough dudes.
So when things get slow this week, look for the Secret Service guys on TV. And if you’re lucky enough to be at the inauguration in person, I only have one recommendation.
Don’t get on the wrong side of the rope line.