Opinion » Bill Cope

Mr. Cope's Cave: Gifted Imagination—The Story of Me



Of all the things I've told you about myself, this is not one of them: I don't give a hoot about making a shitload of money by publishing a best-selling book.

No sir, I have never said that. In fact, the opposite is true. I would love to make a shitload of money by publishing a best-selling book and, at this point in my life, I don't particularly care what the book is about. I've already tried a few different approaches—a humorous sci-fi book, an adventure story of talking dogs in the wilderness, a collection of short stories in a genre I call magical realism for hillbillies—but nothing has really taken off. I've even written some sample chapters about choking on a chicken nugget and the ensuing trip to Heaven in hopes of attracting that audience who would buy damn near anything that made them think there really is a life after death, but even that didn't sell. Perhaps I shouldn't have first told readers I was only doing it for the money.

However, borrowing from what I see happening at that nexus of politics and publishing, I may have my best idea yet for a best-seller. I'm not really a politician in the sense that I've never won an election or had a job in government. But I'm definitely politically inclined, as you know, so there is no reason to think I would never run for president, is there? Absolutely not! Truly, it's almost impossible to believe I wouldn't run for president at some point. You know... when I feel the country is ready for me. And if this election cycle has shown us anything, it has to be there is no reason any judgmental, mouthy, unqualified schlubb cannot run for president, as long as he has a high enough opinion of himself.

Now, if there's one thing we expect out of our presidential candidates these days it's an autobiography. Therein lies my great idea. With an autobiography, I can kill three birds with one tome: 1) it could very well attract the sort of publishing interest that is drawn to people who, it is rumored, are thinking about running for president... 2) there wouldn't be a whole lot of research involved because it would be the story of my life, and if I don't remember the details, I could just make some up as I go, and who's to know?... and 3) I've been trying to think of a way to produce material for this blog without having to put much effort into it, and what could be easier than writing about crap like when I was born and what happened to me after that?

Thus it begins, ladies and gentlemen—my autobiography. Every few weeks—or days, maybe—I shall relate another episode in the ongoing saga of me. Later on, maybe a couple of years from now when I have caught up with myself to the point where I decided to write an autobiography, I will gather all the chapters into one volume—possibly two... or three, even, depending on how interesting I find myself—and offer them to the highest bidder. Then, I will go on a book tour, even if it just happens that I'm running for president at the same time the book comes out, and my adoring followers will have the opportunity to meet me face-to-face and tell me how wonderful I am. All for only $35, suggested retail price.

Hardbound, of course.


Gifted Imagination—The Story of Me
by Bill Cope

Chapter One:
Here I Am! Finally!

I don't remember a great many of my prenatal experiences, but I do recall how my sainted Irish Mama would rub her tummy, with me in it, and murmur soft sentiments about how I was her special little baby bump and that she could feel from my amniotic fluid alone that I would go far.

She was a single mother, my Mama, or would have been if not for Papa being there with her for 50-some years, and even before I was born, I could sense her iron resolve that I would go to college, no matter how many sacrifices and G.I. Bill loans it would take.

Mama used to tell her friends that if I'd held off for another five minutes—and 81 days—I would have been born on Christmas morning, just like our Lord Jesus. But I have never been a holder-on-er, and that night in October of 1947 was no exception. The way Papa told it, as soon as Mama felt the first contractions, he calmly drove her to the hospital, where I as delivered without incident six hours later.

That's not the way I remember it. I remember an epic struggle to get out of there. I lost track of time, but I'm sure it was days, not hours. It was like when Uma Thurman was buried alive in Kill Bill Part One and had to battle her way back to the surface. Or was that Part Two?

Anyway, the experience taught me all I needed to know about perseverance and self-sufficiency. The obstetrician was so impressed with my independent nature and fighting spirit, he gave me a $10 bill and told me I was the most self-made baby he had ever delivered.

And that was all before he cut the umbilical cord!

In the next installment of Gifted Imagination—The Story of Me, I will relate how, in spite of set-back after set-back and what to anyone else would be insurmountable obstacles, I learned to walk, even while risking my life in a heroic effort to rescue some worms that had crawled up onto the sidewalk and were baking to death in the sun.

And coming soon, my brunch with Dwight Eisenhower.