I Have Questions, You See

The White House switchboard operator asked why I wanted to talk with somebody in the press office.

What is your affiliation?

I’m a veteran journalist who writes news blogs, I said Monday, and I need contact information for the person assigned to respond to media inquiries from Scranton.

I have questions, you see.

I didn’t mention that Scranton is Joe Biden’s birthplace. The operator probably already tacked a poster of the Electric City on the wall above his command post.

The operator connected me to a White House office and the line began to ring.

One ringy dingy.

Two ringy dingys.

For two long minutes, from 3:38 P.M. until 3:40 P.M., the White House office line rang, eventually ringing itself out and turning into a busy signal after nobody answered.

I called back.

A guy who sounded like the first guy but said he wasn’t muffled a quick laugh when I told him what happened. I asked if he would connect me to somebody who might direct my future inquiries to the right press person.

I have questions, you see.

No, the operator said.

It’s best to send an email.

Should I direct the email to anybody in particular?

No, he said.

The switchboard operator provided me with a generic press office email he said should do the trick. Within minutes I sent my first communication to the new White House media staff about the new president but held off on asking my few simple specific questions.

Did Joe Biden get baptized in Scranton? If so, where and when? Who are his godparents?

My inquiries might seem unimportant but Catholicism is relevant to Joe Biden’s presidency, only the second Roman Catholic to serve in American history. A reporter at my local daily newspaper wrote a recent column raising the issue of Biden’s Papist roots, but failed to provide answers. You’d think lazy editors at this parochial publication would understand how we who voted for our Joey crave all we can get about Biden’s bucolic background.

I mean, Scranton lives matter.

Three hours later new White House staffer Angela Perez sent me the name and address of the person to whom she said I can “reach out.”

Say hello to Seth T. Schuster.

Our young man in Washington doesn’t know me yet but soon will. I’m looking forward to a fruitful relationship with him and hope he’s up to the job. Without guys like me we wouldn’t need guys like him. I’m one of the reasons he gets a nice federal salary and benefits as a regional communications director, a step up from his last job from last June to November as a national communications assistant at Biden for President.

I sent Seth an email this morning.

I’m hopeful.

I have questions, you see.