I said I liked the latter topic much better but that I absolutely suck at coming up with good oneliners on the spot -- note to self: do not embark on a career as a stand-up comic. They said no problem, most people are like that, go into the post office and take however long you like.
When I got back out, I'd managed to cobble together some not-particularly-memorable line about how everything is funny at some level, managing to work Chappaquidick into it, at which point the woman with the notepad, who looked to be about 25 or so, goes, "Chappaquidick? What's that?"
Uh oh. "You know? Ted Kennedy driving off the bridge? Drowned his secretary. Waited a day before telling anyone? It's all eerily parallel."
Blank stare. At which point the guy with camera pipes up, "Yeah, Rush Limbaugh was making a joke about that on his show the other day,..." and then goes on to repeat the joke about how it's better to go shooting with Dick Cheney than driving with Ted, because he'll still visit you in the hospital or you'll still be alive or something like that. And I'm like, great. He gets his news from Rush, and she wasn't even born when Ted made his Big Mistake. At which point I kindof gave it up as a lost cause and left them with my lame quote.
And then once I'd driven about half a mile away, thinking about all the ways they could mangle my quote, I finally get the proverbial lightbulb-in-the-head and come up with the Right Line. This always happens, of course. But this time, I realized, they were clearly nowhere near getting their quota, so it was likely they'd still be there when I get back. And so, I turned the car around, went back, and there they were, and sure, I could change it.
So, on the question of whether it's appropriate to make jokes about Cheney and this 78-year-old guy who's sitting in the ICU with however many hundreds of #7-1/2 ball-bearing-sized shot in his face and is thus facing the worst kind of plastic surgery imaginable, I have a new official answer.
Woman with notepad's reaction: "Nice!" Actually, it was a bit hard to tell what she was really thinking, but I'm guessing I made the interesting-enough-to-print bar.