He’s a fat man, early 70s. He sits surrounded by the ancient trappings of the Oval Office. There he sits for a photo op in his big chair in front of his big, bare, polished desk.

There is nothing on this desk, called the Resolute desk, no stack of documents befitting a very busy executive, no pen and pencil jar jammed with writing tools, no framed pictures of family, wife and children, sports figures, old prom photos.

There is not even a notepad, or one of those “things to do” books with lines and letters in caps that list the days of the week.

There is no sign of the clutter of a busy day well spent: crumpled notes, broken pencils, an ashtray full of cigar or cigarette butts, etc.

There is not even an empty Scotch glass like the kind you used to see on LBJ’s and JFK’s desk at the end of a busy day. This man clearly does not drink nor smoke.

In the photo he holds the receiver of a phone in his left hand as he poses for this impromptu shot. It’s an ordinary phone used by all occupants of this office — not an iPhone or an Android, more like one in an insurance office. Maybe it’s just a prop.

This is where he purportedly works, but there is no clear evidence of that. He does have a red button on the Resolute desk, and when he presses it, a butler brings him a Diet Coke. True fact. That is like, so cool.

I have a picture of me sitting at an empty desk with a phone nearby. I’m not sure where it was. I think it was at a hotel job. I seem to be waiting for the phone to ring. There is no red button or butler or Diet Coke.

I don’t see a clock in the Oval Office. If there is, it’s probably a very old, ornate one of gold and crystal that maybe belonged to Andrew Jackson, so he knew that it was time to go home to Rachel, or that told Eisenhower that it was time to meet with a friend for a round of golf, or Kennedy — the first president to use the Resolute desk in the Oval Office — that Jackie was going to call, or Clinton that Monica was coming to bring that promised pizza. Obama, Clinton, Bush all used the Resolute desk.

I had an office once in a room without windows. It had a desk and chair and phone that never rang, and a wall clock with a tick that kept me awake.

It was a summer job in a hot office at the end of a long hall full of empty offices. I think my office was a front for something nefarious. The windows were dirty and looked out at a brick wall. True story.

I wish I could call the fat man with greying orange hair and ask him a few questions about his desk, just to see if he has had the same quirky curiosity as I had, you know, man to man, old desk owner to desk owner.

I would, like, ask him stuff like this:

“Is there anything in the drawers of that desk that was left behind and surprised you?

“Have you even opened any of them? Of course you have, Donald, you couldn’t resist.

“Did you by chance find, as I did, in that big center drawer, a single lone pencil, probably a Ticonderoga No. 2 pencil, considered the world’s finest pencil, rolling around in there, and when you opened the drawer, it rolled all the way forward with that sound that single pencils do, and when you shut it, it rolled all the way back with the same muffled sound? Isn’t that fun to do? Isn’t it?

“I did exactly that. And did you check that side drawer, the one to your left, the sticky one you have to hit to open? And did you find it? That big ball of colored rubber bands all rolled together? I hope you didn’t try to open one. They all come undone, you know.

“And in the bottom one on the right, did you find that box of colored paper clips? We loved those. We would open it and spill them out and then arrange all the reds and greens and yellows in separate piles. Go ahead. It’s fun.

“Once more before I go, just for me. Do the pencil thing again.”

J.P. Devine is a Waterville writer.

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