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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Jimmy Carter staying positive in hospice

Many Carletonian readers have expressed concern for former President Jimmy Carter since his February decision to enter hospice care at his Georgia home. To address these worries, I traveled to the small town of Plains to visit the President and his family. This was my experience:

President Carter is sitting in a rocking chair on his porch as I approach. He beckons me over and offers me a cigar, but I politely decline. This was a wise choice, I later found: Not only can smoking cause numerous health problems, but, in fact, this was no ordinary cigar. When former first lady Rosalynn Carter joins us on the porch and accepts the cigar, it explodes, covering her face with ash. Jimmy quickly dies of shock, but he recovers soon enough, succumbing to a fit of uncontrollable laughter. Later in our interview, he would offer another of his cigars to his gullible nurse and use its detonation as a method of diversion, scampering away down the porch steps before promptly being caught and escorted back to his chair. “You win this one,” Carter grumbles after the nurse is safely out of earshot, “but I’ll break out one of these days. You just wait and see.”

We begin to talk, and it becomes clear that Carter hasn’t lost any of his famous vivacity, despite having long shed his equally well-known virility. He slips easily into his trademark drawl as I extract my pen and paper. “You gotta remember, it was a diff’ren’ time in those days,” he begins, seemingly defending himself for some action of his that hasn’t actually come up in our conversation. “When all that peanut oil came out about Lewinsky, I just didn’t know any better. I had to let ‘er take the fall,” he explains, “or it woulda been the death of me.”

I quickly steer him back onto topic — after all, an affair with Bill Clinton is not relevant to my interview’s objectives — and he obliges by filling me in on his health. “I’m great,” he insists, and elaborates, “Carter? I hardly know ‘er!” When I point out that his bones were classified as “structurally unsound” by the Georgia Office of Insurance and Safety during their last mandatory safety inspection, he dismisses the whole affair as a “witch hunt” intended to interfere with his chance of winning the 2024 Democratic nomination for Georgia State Auditor. As a relative newcomer to the political field, though, it is unlikely that Carter will be successful in his bid, regardless of the structural integrity of his bones.

We converse for several minutes more, touching on various anecdotes from his life — his brief stint on Broadway as the Rum Tum Tugger in “Cats,” his tutelage under table tennis legend Ichiro Ogimura, his 1972 contributions to the development of the gel-filled silicone testicular prosthesis — before he is startled by the sight of himself in a mirror and dies again.

Once he has woken up, Carter resumes his story. Now that he has a sturdy foundation, he says, he can really focus on his musical career. Interested parties can see him and his band perform this Sunday evening at the Oglethorpe Lounge in Albany, Georgia. “This could be our big break,” Carter says. 

To end our interview, Jimmy expresses to me a closing thought: “Ben. . . I regret killing JFK,” he whispers in my ear, and I bid him goodbye. 

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About the Contributor
Ben Ellis
Ben Ellis, Bald Spot Editor
There are two things I like: eating grapes and lying in the newspaper. Also, general happiness and joy. Plus, I've been known to enjoy a good LDC Reuben. Ben (he/him) is a sophomore and started as a Bald Spot editor last year.

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