Last week, George W. Bush revealed what he was doing
when Barack Obama called with the news that U.S. forces had found and killed Osama bin Laden:
"I was eating soufflé at Rise Restaurant with Laura and two buddies," Bush said..., according to an ABC News contributor who attended the event.
Now, Gut Check's first reaction was to chuckle at the idea of our former president, whose war in Iraq alienated our French allies -- prompting "Freedom Fries" and similar acts of edible patriotism -- getting the news of bin Laden's death while chowing down not simply on French cuisine but on something as delicate as a soufflé.
But making fun of W. is so
last decade. Instead, our idle minds started to wonder what other famous figures might have been eating at the moment history's bell tolled...
The Caveman Who Discovered Fire
: This one's a no-brainer. There sat Ugg the Caveman, idly rubbing two sticks together while he chewed on his morning snack of berries and leaves, when -- wham! -- suddenly his hands were burning and that mammoth across the field became the main course as well as an existential threat.
Then again, maybe Ugg already had a refined palate. Maybe, until that moment, his favorite meal wasn't whatever he'd hunted and gathered over the past couple of hours but, say, a carpaccio of mammoth tenderloin?Moses, Parting the Red Sea
: Well, duh. Dude is standing in the middle of a sea, with the water suspended to either side of him. Sushi! Or, more precisely, since no one had the time to locate any vinegared rice, sashimi!Nero, While Rome Burned
: All that fiddling was bound to make the Roman emperor hungry. Did you know that dormice were considered a delicacy in Ancient Rome? We didn't till we read this site
. Nero probably just skewered a few of the plump little rodents for an impromptu barbecue. The best part? He didn't even have to wait for the coals to get hot before grilling!King George III, When Napoleon Was Defeated
: Sadly, by the time the Napoleonic Wars ended, England's monarch had lost his mind, so he was as likely to be eating his own feces as anything.
Archiduke Franz Ferdinand, When He Was Assassinated
Archduke Franz Ferdinand: Do not get between this man and a deer.
: Wikipedia (yes, we know) contains this fascinating factoid:
Franz Ferdinand had a fondness for trophy hunting that was excessive even by the standards of European nobility of this time. In his diaries he kept track of an estimated 300,000 game kills, 5,000 of which were deer.
That's not a misprint: 300,000 game kills. The man lived to the age of 50, which means that, even if he started hunting at the age of five, he would have had to average more than 18 game kills per day for 45 years to reach that total.
So perhaps the total was exaggerated. Suffice to say, the man loved game. He was in a car at the time of his death, and when you think of game meat and automobiles, of course you think of jerky! So let's imagine that when Franz Ferdinand was moments away from death, he was madly chewing on a piece of venison jerky dried from one of the very deer he'd killed, blissfully unaware that he would be remembered not for all the animals he killed, but for the millions of humans whose deaths followed his own.