S.I. Hayakawa came to breakfast yesterday, and those who ate with him may never be the same again.
Sen. Hayakawa (R-Calif.) was the guest at the Washington institution known as "Breakfast with Godfrey," after newsman Godfrey Sperling of the Christian Sciene Monitor. Normally, it is a predictable affair in which a score of bleary-eyed reporters hurl political bacon and undercooked scrambled eggs.
Yesterday's meeting might have been called "Breakfast with Lao-tse," after a long-dead Chinese philosopher whose words of wisdom were quoted by Hayakawa.
Even the menu was different. While the reporters struggled with those familiar runny eggs, Hayakawa was eating a plate or sardines which he had asked the waiter to bring him. The waiter also brought a large plate of lettuce, which Hyakawa munched thoughfully throughout the hour-long interview.
Since Hayakawa speaks in a low voice interrupted by an occasional long mid-sentence pause, the menu posed some problems for reporters. When one of them complained that he couldn't hear the senator, Hayakawa replied that this was because "you ask me questions when my mouth is full."
This was not the only food for thought of the morning.
One reporter wanted to know, for instance, what Hayakawa was interested in, and seemed to expect him to enumerate some area of legislative policy. Hayakawa thought about it for a while and replied, "Sculpture and art."
Asked how these interests would fir into know, but added: "The Senate has needs for all kinds of people."
Supplementing his diet with a nearby half-grapefruit, Hayakawa also gave his views on President Carter's energy program. He praised Carter for convincing the American people that there is an energy shortage but said that the initial gasoline tax increase of 5 cents would be insufficient to discourage the American love affair with automobile. Hayakawa said a tax boost of at least 25 cents was needed.
Lao-tse, a 4th century B.C. philosopher, came into the converstion while Hayakawa was deploring the freeway-building policies that led Americans to settle in the suburbs at an enormous energy cost. When a reporter wanted to know if the federal government should make a massive effort to reverse this trend, Hayakawa shook his head in the negative and quoted Lao-tse:
"You should govern a great nation as you fry a small fish - with only a little amount of stirring."
This was news to the reporters, at least one of whom thought Hayakawa was citing a more recent conservative, former Gov. and Sen. Frank Lausche of Ohio. Hayakawa finished is sardines, and patiently spelled Lao's name for those who were interested.