Marginalia, no.193

I done my duty! I done my duty!

~ Leon Czolgosz

President McKinley had a parrot named Washington Post. I like to imagine he brought it with him to the Pan-American Exposition, though nothing I’ve read says so. For the president that day duty meant an hour in front of the Temple of Music shaking voters’ hands. For Czolgosz it meant putting three rounds from a .32 caliber into the fat man’s belly. Duty is like a bird that moves from shoulder to shoulder squawking in your ears. You hear its call and feel its talons but can never get a good look at it. With Peterson handy and Audubon memorized, you still might mistake a parrot for a buzzard.

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