How to Get Six Seconds with President George W. Bush

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George W. Bush signing copies of Decision Points

LM Otero/AP

All it requires is a sleeping bag, a tent and a thermos of hot chocolate.

Geroge W. Bush is signing copies of his memoir, Decision Points, in Utah Friday. And his more devoted fans pointedly decided to go the distance when it comes to snatching a few seconds with the 43rd President. People began lining up at 11 a.m. Thursday for the Friday afternoon signing.

(See pictures of Bush.)

Tammy Woolley told the Salt Lake Tribune that she’ll be there because “my husband is an unbelievably big fan of President Bush. This will be his Christmas present, and he will be so surprised.” The newspaper reported that as of late afternoon Thursday, about 40 people were in line despite the threatening clouds. They had the likes of sleeping bags, blankets, garden chairs and even tents. Sounds more like a vacation than a meet-and-greet.

But here’s the bad news for the Bush-ites: they ain’t gonna get much face time with The Decider. Manager of the Costco warehouse store, Scott Christensen, said Bush could feasibly sign between 250 and 300 books an hour, which means that a crowd of 500-600 people will get around six seconds with Bush. Any way you look at it, there isn’t much wiggle room beyond your classic conversation gambit of “how are you?,” “thanks for coming,” and “do you miss the White House?”

(See Joe Klein’s review of Decision Points.)

Still, it’s reassuring to learn that there’s at least one person in line who’s doing this for no good reason whatsoever. Ricky Wilkinson is from New York and is visiting friends in Utah. “They said Bush is in town and signing autographs, so we should go. I didn’t realize at the time that he won’t be here until tomorrow. But I don’t have anything better to do.”

There you go then: somebody wants to meet a President because he didn’t have anything better to do. It’s hard to know who to feel more sorry for.