Oh, Mr. President

My emotions were all over the place today. Lord, help me, I’m a Cancer. I can’t help it.

I’m always eager to go to work because my last two jobs have been jobs that I LOVE to do. But when I got in I knew the task at hand was to develop a list of questions for both of the interviews I had scheduled that day. My publisher wanted to take a look at them.

So I thought hard and developed a list. One for a press conference with the President of Ethi.op.ia and the other with the founder of the Black Col.lege Expo.

The Black E.xpo was easy. Background, background, who does it benefit, what are your goals- blah blah

But the interview with the president would prove to be more difficult because I wanted some juice and not some puff piece. So I had to do some digging to find out who he was and how he operated. The whole reason that he was here was because the fossil is being displayed in Houston as the first stop in a nation wide tour.

The significance of the tour is, there are so many critics that say that the fossil should not be removed from it’s home because it could be destroyed or damaged during all of the travel. I read an article that said that all of the museums in the US are salivating over hosting this world treasure. But the Smithson refuses to host it. So you know that it’s serious when they turn it down.

If it’s really that dangerous, then why are we taking it on a tour?

That’s what I wanted to know…

As I formulated my questions I texted Bernard and asked his opinion. Bernard is so damn smart. He’s an Intelligence Officer in the military.

Bernard hit me back quickly with a fire ass question!

When I showed the Publisher my list we went through line by line and adjusted my questions to make them more succint.

My problem is- When I write questions, I write in the same way that I write the story. You are supposed to ask the question in the most simple way. If you are going to ask a complex question (like I do because I love to write complex sentences) put the most important part of the question upfront. Otherwise, the source can ignore the second half if they choose to.

And I have to stop writing questions like I write stories! No adverbs! Just straight up questions, remembering to cover the 5 W’s.

So back to the lecture at hand. The tour is coming to Houston of ALL places? Why? Why Houston? What’s the vested interest?

Maybe it’s the fact that the Hous.ton port is a large importer of coffee and Eth.io.pia is the largest exporter of coffee?


I don’t know.

But you know I had to ask.


So I made it to the press conference an hour early and sat outside and meditated on my life. When the time came for the media to go inside the conference room I walked in with the rest of the reporters and photographers after the secret service dogs sniffed my purse. Ewww…

He walked in surrounded by other Black men in suits and sat in chairs arranged directly in front of the audience.

When I heard, “Does anyone have any questions?” my hand shot up.

“In the midst of criticism from scientists about the dangers of traveling with the fossil, why did you choose to move forward with this tour?”

I questioned the president quite a few times and even stumped him with this question:

“If the majority of Eth.i.opian citizens are Christian and some scientists believe that the discovery of Lu.cy (the fossil) support the theory of evolution, what kind of debate have these significant findings inspired among your citizens?”

He just stared at me.

“What does Christianity have to do with L.ucy? She was never baptised?!” he replied.

Everyone breaks out in nervous laughter.

I sit back in my chair and smile. I’m in the front row, in the first seat near the aisle, directly in the middle, directly across from the president.

I have ONE MORE question to hit him with but…I decide not to.

I wanted to ask him, “How do the people of Et.hi.opia benefit financially from this tour?”

But he’s an older man. I didn’t want him to get too upset.

After my last question everyone stood up to leave and I couldn’t believe it but people came over to meet me and shake my hand. Everyone wanted to tell me, “You did a great job!” “Don’t apologize, you did exactly what you were supposed to do.” “Good job Sista,” one lady with a short cut said to me as she walked by.

Before I knew it, the TV cameras filming the press conference were on me and the cameraman was asking my name.

You know I hammed it up!

“I’m Ms. Tee,” I said cutely, staring intensely into the camera and giving them ALL of my charm.

I walked out smiling after collecting business cards. Then I spotted the Texas Senator. I wanted an interview so I stood on the sidelines trying to catch his eye.

There was a commotion as the president’s entourage began to file out of the room. I’m standing in the hallway so I stand to the side and smile at him as he walks by. “Thank you for visiting.” I say to him.

“You satisfied?” he asks gruffly without stopping to look me in my eye.

“Yes sir!” I say.

I then turn around and the media relations woman introduces me to the Senator. “Senator, thank you for your time,” I begin as my voice recorder starts rolling. “I’m Ms. Tee with the NEWS.”