My friend Senator Bearman has decided not to run for president.
"Did it have anything to do with your submitting one of Judge Oliver Wendell Holmes' opinions to Reader's Digest last week as your own?" I asked him.
"Holmes is dead. Do you think it matters to him who gets credit for something he wrote?"
"Right, senator. But your opponents say you've done things like this since law school."
"I have always written my own stuff, including George Washington's farewell address, which some have called the finest speech this country has ever heard."
"You will be remembered for it."
"I have never used the words of anyone else without attribution," he said. "I am going out to speak to my supporters who are devastated by this. Come with me if you want to see the real Bearman."
I followed him to his headquarters, where 500 men and women waited patiently.
Bearman began, "Friends, Romans, countrymen. I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them. The good is oft interred with their bones."
"That's good," I said to Bearman's campaign manager. "Did you write it?"
"No, the senator pens his own resignation speeches."
Then Bearman said, "I am not frightened of the future. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
I was so taken with this statement I started to write it down. The aide said, "I wouldn't do that if I were you. The senator has it copyrighted."
"But doesn't he want all his thoughts to be distributed throughout the country?"
"He doesn't care." Then like rolling thunder I heard Bearman's voice, "I have nothing now to offer but blood, sweat and tears."
"Are my ears deceiving me?"
"What can I tell you? The man is a natural communicator," his manager said.
The senator stretched out his arms. "I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky. And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by."
"I never heard a politician put it that way before," I said.
"The senator likes to recite sea poems. It makes him feel close to the people."
"When does he get time to write all this stuff?" I asked.
"Anyone can find it if they are running for president of the United States."
"Then there is no truth to the talk about the senator plagiarizing other people's work?"
"Have you heard one thing that didn't sound as if it just came fresh out of the oven?"
"Can't say that I have," I replied. "He's on a roll."
"You won't believe what is coming next," the campaign manager said.
The senator looked out at his supporters and spoke, "Oh, London is a man's town, there's power in the air; and Paris is a woman's town, with flowers in her hair. So if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen."
I went up to Bearman to congratulate him. "Let me guess, senator. When talking about the heat you were quoting Harry Truman."
"You're wrong. They were my words and I scribbled them on an envelope while driving over here."