He's the sort of man I've met many a time in Irish pubs. Biden will tell you, at some length for sure, all about his plans for the future, how he's on the cusp of greatness just waiting for that last piece to fall neatly into place. The fact that - stubbornly - it has never yet done so deters him not a bit. Next time, lads, next time...UPDATE: See what I mean! Priceless!The second post exceprts Richard Ben Cramer's 1988 campaign book, "What it Takes," talking about Biden's old mansion, and all the difficulties he has and creates for himself trying to fix it up:
He'll often seem as though he's auditioning for the position of Official Pub Bore but then every so often there'll be a flash of wit or a moment of self-deprecation that punctures the bluster and bombast, rendering Biden warm and human.
You can picture him propping up one end of the bar for thirty years; long enough for all to be forgiven, all ancient battles and blunders forgotten as we grow older, more charitable, more sentimental. Biden's the sort of fellow who'll make a wildly inappropriate and suggestive comment about your wife. To your face. On your wedding day. But he'll do so in such a guileless fashion free from any hint of malice that, dash it and almost half despite yourself, you forgive the silly old fool. He was, you realise, probably trying to ay something complimentary.
Meanwhile, he planted. He liked hemlock trees. He found some old Czech guy who ran a nursery up in Pennsylvania. Joe didn't want any three-foot saplings, no. This guy had big hemlocks. Rhododendron bushes, great ones. Yews--big old yews! See, Joe had to have privacy. When he started have to sell off lots, he had to plant more, so he'd have privacy. ...
His pal Marty was with him that day: Marty Londergan, a dentist, Joe's buddy from high school. "Joe," Marty said. "How we gonna get all this shit back?"
"Get a truck," Joe said. Like everybody's brother had a forty-foot flatbed in the garage.
"Yeah," Marty said. "Who's gonna drive it?"
"I'll drive," Joe said. "Used to drive 'em all the time."
Sure enough, Marty found somebody's brother who'd lend a truck, and Joe drove the thing, overloaded, rocking and pitching, with trees hanging off the tail, down the back roads, an hour and a half, back to Wilmington. Then he started digging--a forty-five-foot trench, three feet deep and three feet wide, through blacktop and paving stones. He was out there in gym shorts and hiking boots, sweating like a pig, with the headlights of four cars shining upon his ditch, with Jill leaning out the window to yell, "Come to bed, honey!" ... while an old friend or two propped the trees and bushes up in the ditch, so Joe could wall away his realm.Finally, the Atlantic sizes up Biden as VP, dealmaker and go-to guy for a different opinion. I could definitely put up with the guy telling stories for a couple of hours some night as I drink a few beers and want to hear something entertaining.
"No, tighter!" Joe'd say.
"I don't know, Joe..."
"Tighter," Joe said. He had to have privacy. The rhododendrons, he planted them two feet apart. Next weekend, he's back for yews. He built a wall of yews around the swimming pool. Never mind there was no room for them to spread their roots.
"Whaddya think?" Joe asked, grinning.
Two years, of course, they're all dead.