The Alternate Existences of Jack Kennedy

by evanmcmurry

Perhaps this is a personal tic, but I’ve never internalized that whole Jack-is-a-nickname-for-John thing, primarily because it makes absolutely no sense. A side effect of this mental block: for years, I heard the “I knew Jack Kennedy, you’re no Jack Kennedy” line and assumed it referred to one of the many lesser-known Kennedys who had entered politics. There was John, Bobby, Ted, probably a Chad, and some guy named Jack, who was clearly very respected, maybe because he was Chairman of the Budget Committee or something, and I just hadn’t heard of him because I didn’t know enough about politics.

The same thing happened briefly last night. After one of the many times Biden pointed at Paul Ryan and said, “LIAR!” Ryan namechecked—or tried to namecheck—”Jack Kennedy,” before Biden let him have it. I spent about thirty seconds trying to remember who Jack Kennedy was before I realized they were talking about the 35th President of the United States.

Perhaps, in retrospect, I’m getting confused not because Jack is an absurd nickname for John, but because JFK was president for about six minutes, during which he fucked everything that moved, including an invasion of Cuba. Oddly, the Jack Kennedy in my head is much more accomplished.