With Rick Perry announcing his run for the 2016 Republican nomination for President, I though I’d bring back this March 2011 post detailing the time I met Perry while the two of us were laying on a rehab table in southwest Austin.
As I was sitting on the rehab table preparing to get treatment for my pelvis/back issues, I spotted a familiar-looking person coming to take the table next to me.
He wore a baseball cap, gray shirts and gray shorts with black socks and a pair of Brooks Launch tennis shoes. (Only runners wear those shoes, I thought to myself).
Then the light bulb went off.
The Texas governor? Can’t be. His hair was too messed up – way way way messed up – and he’d not shaved. This did not look like the slick-looking guy I’ve seen on TV.
And then, one of the attendants reached out to shake his hand.
“Hi, Governor,” she said.
“How are you,” Rick Perry replied.
“Oh, shit, I was just about to say ‘You look like the governor,’|” I said in Perry’s direction. (Yes, I cursed.) “What’s your condition.”
“I’ve got a pain in the butt,” he laughed. “Seriously – I’ve got some back pain.”
Perry laid down on the table as one of the attendants began work on him. He asked my name and what I was in for. I could see him kind of cringe when I said, “pelvis fracture.” Then he asked me where I was from and what I did for a living. Knowing I was going to blog about this meeting, I figured it was time for full-disclosure: from my time as a Fort Worth Star-Telegram reporter, I knew people who knew him. (I’d actually met Gov. Rick Perry once before. In 2003, when I was a metro reporter, the Star-Telegram sent me and a few other reporters to East Texas to cover the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. Perry had come down and, among other things, thanked the locals and Red Cross for helping in the cleanup.)
I’m not sure why I thought it was important for Perry to know that I was once a newspaper reporter, though I guess once a journalist, always a journalist. And of one of the no-nos of journalism is not revealing your identity to the person you are interviewing.
Anyway, the conversation continued. He asked how many marathons I’d run (8) and he replied, “one for me was enough for me.” (I didnt know if he meant he’d run one marathon or one half marathon.) We talked about South by Southwest and what’s wrong with the newspaper business. He said he wished newspapers would not allow anonymous comments at the end of online stories, and he said places like where I currently work (Bankrate.com) have seemingly figured out how to make money on the internet these days.
Soon, we were both summoned to the traction tables. The attendants strapped us both in (on separate tables of course) and we continued our conversation, both of us on our stomachs staring face down talking through a donut hole.
We talked more about running – he said he really liked running in his Brooks Launch and was glad they changed the colors from orange; he said his back problems stem from a spinal condition he has had since he was a kid; and we talked about social media. And of course, Perry has been in the news lately for blocking six Texas journalists from following his posts at www.twitter.com/GovernorPerry.
I asked Perry if he’d received much criticism for blocking his twitter feed.
“Oh, I was just giving those guys a hard time,” Perry laughed. “You know, the First Amendment cuts both ways.”
And with that, Perry’s time on the traction table was up. I told him he had a hard job and I didn’t envy his position. He tapped me on the leg and said he’d had a nice visit.
I’ll admit, I’ve not always agreed with Governor Perry’s politics, but Rick Perry is a nice, personable guy.