pasted ud fra en længere artikel om USAs økonomi. Kunne ikke lade være med at være OMFG over beskrivelsen af Arnie lidt inde i artiklen.
Nærmest textbook innergame det her...
California Iron Man
At seven o’clock one summer morning I pedaled a $5,000 titanium-frame mountain bike rented in anxiety the previous evening down the Santa Monica beach road to the corner where Arnold Schwarzenegger had asked me to meet him. He turned up right on time, driving a black Cadillac S.U.V. with a handful of crappy old jalopy bikes racked to the back. I wore the closest I could find to actual bicycle gear; he wore a green fleece, shorts, and soft beige slipper-like shoes that suggested both a surprising indifference to his own appearance and a security in his own manhood. His hair was still vaguely in a shape left by a pillow, and his eyelids drooped, though he swore he’d been up for an hour and a half reading newspapers. After reading the newspapers, this is what the former governor of California often does: rides his bike for cardio, then hits the weight room.
He hauls a bike off the back of the car, hops on, and takes off down an already busy Ocean Avenue. He wears no bike helmet, runs red lights, and rips past do not enter signs without seeming to notice them and up one-way streets the wrong way. When he wants to cross three lanes of fast traffic he doesn’t so much as glance over his shoulder but just sticks out his hand and follows it, assuming that whatever is behind him will stop. His bike has at least 10 speeds, but he has just 2: zero and pedaling as fast as he can. Inside half a mile he’s moving fast enough that wind-induced tears course down his cheeks.
He’s got to be one of the world’s most recognizable people, but he doesn’t appear to worry that anyone will recognize him, and no one does. It may be that people who get out of bed at dawn to jog and Rollerblade and racewalk are too interested in what they are doing to break their trance. Or it may be that he’s taking them by surprise. He has no entourage, not even a bodyguard. His former economic adviser, David Crane, and his media adviser, Adam Mendelsohn, who came along for the ride just because it sounded fun, are now somewhere far behind him. Anyone paying attention would think, That guy might look like Arnold, but it can’t possibly be Arnold, because Arnold would never be out alone on a bike at seven in the morning, trying to commit suicide. It isn’t until he is forced to stop at a red light that he makes meaningful contact with the public. A woman pushing a baby stroller and talking on a cell phone crosses the street right in front of him and does a double take. “Oh . . . my . . . God,” she gasps into her phone. “It’s Bill Clinton!” She’s not 10 feet away, but she keeps talking to the phone, as if the man were unreal. “I’m here with Bill Clinton.”
“It’s one of those guys who has had a sex scandal,” says Arnold, smiling.
“Wait . . . wait,” says the woman to her phone. “Maybe it’s not Bill Clinton.”
Before she can make a positive identification, the light is green, and we’re off.
His life has been a series of carefully staged experiences. He himself has no staged presentation of it, however. He is fresh, alive, and improvisational: I’m not sure even he knows what he will do next. He’s not exactly humble, but then, if I had lived the life he’s lived, I’m not sure I would be, either, though I might try to fake humility more often than he does, which is roughly never. What saves him from self-absorption, aside from a natural curiosity, is a genuine lack of interest in personal reflection. He lives the same way he rides his bike, paying far more attention to what’s ahead than what’s behind. In office, he kept no journal of any sort. I find it amazing, but he now says he didn’t so much as scribble little notes that might later be used to reconstruct his experience and his feelings about it. “Why would I do that?” he says. “It’s kind of like you come home and your wife asks you about your day. I’ve done it once and I don’t want to do it again.” What he wanted to do after a long day of being governor, more or less, was to lift weights.
We’re just a couple of miles in when he zips around a corner and into a narrow alleyway just off Venice Beach. He’s humoring me; I’ve been pestering him about what it was like for him when he first arrived in America, back in 1968, with little money, less English, really nothing but his lats, pecs, traps, and abs, for which there was no obvious market. He stops beside a tall brick wall. It surrounds what might once have been an impressive stone house that now just looks old and bleak and empty. The wall is what interests him, because he built it 43 years ago, right after he had arrived and started to train on Muscle Beach. “Franco [Columbu, like Schwarzenegger a former Mr. Olympia] and I made money this way. In bodybuilding there was no money. Here we were, world champions of this little subculture, and we did this to eat. Franco ran the business. I mixed the cement and knocked things down with the sledgehammer.”
Before he stumbled while running downhill with a refrigerator strapped to his back, Columbu was the front-runner in the 1977 contest for the title of the World’s Strongest Man, so there was some distinction in being hired by his operation, as Schwarzenegger was, to be the muscle. They had a routine. Franco would play the unreliable Italian, Arnold the sober German. Before they cut any deal they’d scream at each other in German in front of the customer until the customer would finally ask what was going on. Arnold would turn to the customer and explain, Oh, he’s Italian, and you know how they are. He wants to charge you more, but I think we can do it cheaply. Schwarzenegger would then name a not so cheap price. “And the customer,” he says now, laughing, “he would always say, ‘Arnold, you’re such a nice guy! So honest!’ It was selling, you know.”
He surveys his handiwork. “It’ll be here for a thousand years,” he says, then points out some erosion on the top. “I said to Franco we ought to come back and fix the top. You know, to show it was guaranteed for life.”
A poor kid from a small village in Austria, the son of a former Nazi, hops on a plane to America, starts out laying bricks, and winds up running the state and becoming one of America’s most prominent political leaders. From post to wire the race takes less than 35 years. I couldn’t help but ask the obvious question.
“If someone had told you when you were building this wall that you would wind up governor of California, what would you have said?”
“That would be all right,” he said, not exactly catching my drift.
“As a boy,” I said, taking another tack, “did you believe you’d lead something other than an ordinary life?”
“Yes.” He didn’t miss a beat.
“I don’t know.”
“No one has had this kind of crazy, wild ride,” he says as we speed away from the brick wall, but in a tone that suggests the ride was an accident. “I was influenced a lot by America,” he said. “The giant six-lane highways, the Empire State Building, the risktaking.” He still remembers vividly the America he heard and read about as a boy in Austria: everything about it was big. The only reason he set out to grow himself some big muscles was that he thought it might be a ticket to America.
If there had not been a popular movement to remove sitting governor Gray Davis and the chance to run for governor without having to endure a party primary, he never would have bothered. “The recall happens and people are asking me, ‘What are you going to do?’ ” he says, dodging vagrants and joggers along the beach bike path. “I thought about it but decided I wasn’t going to do it. I told Maria I wasn’t running. I told everyone I wasn’t running. I wasn’t running.” Then, in the middle of the recall madness, Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines opened. As the movie’s leading machine, he was expected to appear on The Tonight Show to promote it. En route he experienced a familiar impulse—the impulse to do something out of the ordinary. “I just thought, This will freak everyone out,” he says. “It’ll be so funny. I’ll announce that I am running. I told Leno I was running. And two months later I was governor.” He looks over at me, pedaling as fast as I can to keep up with him, and laughs. “What the fuck is that?”
We’re now off the beach and on the surface roads, and the traffic is already heavy. He veers left, across four lanes, arrives on the other side, and says, “All these people are asking me, ‘What’s your plan? Who’s on your staff?’ I didn’t have a plan. I didn’t have a staff. I wasn’t running until I went on Jay Leno.”
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After seven years of trying and mostly failing to run California, Schwarzenegger is persuasively not depressed. “You have to realize the thing was so much fun!” he says. “We had a great time! There were times of frustration. There were times of disappointment. But if you want to live rather than just exist, you want the drama.” As we roll to a stop very near the place on the beach where he began his American bodybuilding career, he says, “You have to step back and say, ‘I was elected under odd circumstances. And I’m going out in odd circumstances.’ You can’t have it both ways. You can’t be a spoiled brat.”
At some point in our talks I asked Schwarzenegger how much time he had spent, as governor, grappling with the on-the-ground local implications of the big state crisis. The question pretty clearly bored him. “I’m not into the local stuff,” he’d said. “I was born for the world.”
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