A `Yuppie' inaugural, almost
Washington — President Reagan almost had a Yuppie inaugural. He thought it was a great idea -- he loves lemon neckties with little red dots -- but Nancy balked, at the last moment. She refused to wear L. L. Bean hunting shoes to the swearing-in. ``You've got to be kidding,'' she said. ``These things look like drain pipes.'' I was tipped off to this story (which has so far eluded Peter Jennings, Dan Rather, and the rest of the throat-spray brigade) by Dr. Jacques Yamada, the man who fixes my car. That's what I get for buying a Honda Civic -- it can be worked on only by someone with a PhD in fuel injection.
Dr. Yamada has a very emotional approach to repair; when my car was stalling on right turns, he grabbed the side mirror, and held it to his bosom. He closed his eyes. ``It's homesick,'' he said. ``Take it on a vacation to Osaka.''
Anyway, Yamada called me last week. ``The Secret Service was just here,'' he said. ``They want me to tune up 108 BMWs, today. Why?''
It hit me right away: The Cadillac limos, anticipating the inaugural parade, were being dumped for foreign cars. What next? The Cabinet on 10-speed bikes, wearing Walkmans?
``It's true,'' sighed an administration source, who asked to remain nameless because it makes him seem more impressive. ``We've gone Yuppie. The gala theme's been changed to `The Wide World of Investment Banking.' Baked brie is now the official inaugural hors d'oeuvre. And ficus trees -- they're everywhere. The Oval Office is full of them.''
Sure, Yuppies went for Reagan in a big way. I can see the GOP's reasoning here: We've got 'em hooked, so we give a big blow-out, show them we speak the same language, and faster than you can say ``realignment,'' the trend-setters of the Baby Boom are ours for life. Gary Hart ends up running the Aspen franchise of Pasta 'n' Software.
As a Yuppie myself, I can guarantee it wouldn't have worked. The brie thing is a good example. I mean, nobody eats brie anymore; it's practically as pass'e as Velveeta. The latest chic cheese has an unpronounceable name, and comes from the milk of French cows owned by Gaullists.
That, anyway, is what my friend Phoebe the Food Snob tells me. ``You'd like it,'' she says. ``It has an amusing little taste of the barnyard.'' On my honor -- that's the way real Yuppies talk.
Phoebe is the Yuppiest person I know. (``I don't work because I have to,'' she says. ``I work because it gives me a place to wear my cashmere sweaters.'') She was appalled by the inaugural plans. ``BMWs?'' she cried. ``It should be Turbo Audis. The BMWs I know are all from New Jersey. And as for ficus trees, why, you might as well decorate with Op Art, or cactus.''
Yuppies are just too fickle for the Republicans to ever truly capture. It isn't as if they're Italians, or Methodists, and have some common heritage that can be appealed to; we're talking here about a group defined by its taste in consumer products. A group that makes preteen girls look like a stable market. This month, it's Gaullist cheese; next month, maybe its Mario Cuomo.
So it's just as well that the weather did not cooperate and Nancy put her foot down. I don't blame her -- those Bean galoshes did clash with her Galanos gown. Of course, there was pressure from other quarters, too: The Supreme Court felt that robes embroidered with ducks were undignified, and the Cabinet wasn't wild about leading Congress in aerobics.
The Secret Service never did get the hang of those BMWs. Have you ever tried to look tough while sitting in the back seat of a two-door import?