The Million Pretzel March

I don’t normally take joy in the misfortune of others, but in this case I must ask for forgiveness. When I originally heard this story I had a feeling of an almost miracle happened, but then didn’t.

Before I get to the article, let me set the tone:

To make a football (American style) analogy: Imagine your team is down by a few points with less than a minute left in the Superbowl and the other team has the ball and is on third down, needing only a yard for the first down and then they can just down the ball to run out the clock, game over… looks hopeless.

The quarterback calls “hike” and hands the ball off to his best running back who only needs that one yard for the first down… but he bobbles the hand off and the ball comes loose… you naturally get very excited at jump to your feet, adrenaline surging, heart rate racing, imagining the possibilities… you watch the ball bouncing around on the ground… It pops into the hands of one of your players! More adrenaline and excitement!!

Not only does your player have the ball, but he is running with it and only has the quarterback to beat to get to the end zone and score a touchdown to win the game and be the hero who snatched victory from the jaws of defeat… he stiff arms the quarterback to the ground… and now nobody can stop him! You are on your feet, screaming and high fiving everyone in reach!!

But just as your man, Leon Lett, is about to cross the goal line he begins to celebrate and himself fumbles the ball, which is recovered by the other team… game over… you lose.

Now your hopes that just a few seconds ago were bleak, then turned to exuberant, now turn back to bleak, but even bleaker than the before… now you have to live with the fact of knowing that you were so close… so close to winning the Superbowl, affecting the lives of so many, perhaps changing the world forever… But it did not happen. A cruel twist of fate.

Now you know how I felt when I first heard about this story. In fact, it is what inspired my friends and I to wistfully, longingly, wonderfully fantasize about what it would have been like if only George Bush had choked on that pretzel that day. What if… We imagined the world turning, the sun coming up, breaking the dark fog that has fallen over our planet, bringing new life and hope, to make the world a better place, the place that we know it can be if we want it to, if we take positive actions.

But our fantasy did not stop there… Since we lived in Washington DC, a city born of people standing up to speak, be heard, protest, we decided that we must protest George Bush, and what better way to do it than with a march. But what kind of march, and with whom? What would be the theme? Well, putting it all together and figuring that there are millions of others around the world who want to protest George Bush, we decided there should be a MILLION PRETZEL MARCH ON WASHINGTON.

And, yes, we still think this march should come to happen. On July 4th, 2006. But we need organizers and publicists. Howard Stern, where are you? Michael Moore?? This sounds like your kind of thing! You can read about that march idea on my website,, which is the website this whole pretzel thing spawned.

Okay, that was a way longer preface than I originally intended. Now on to the article:

From BBC News.
Monday, 14 January, 2002, 13:53 GMT

Bush makes light of pretzel scare


US President George W Bush said he felt “great” on Monday, despite having fainted and fallen from a couch after choking on a pretzel over the weekend.

Sporting an angry red bruise on his cheek, the president joked with reporters about the incident as he left the White House on a two-day tour of the Mid-West.

chew before you swallow,” he said before boarding a helicopter to Illinois.

The president’s doctor said Mr Bush had been feeling unwell for a couple of days, and he lost consciousness for a short time when his heart rate slowed after he choked on the salty snack.

He slightly cut his face and bruised his lip when he fell to the floor.

Business as usual

Mr Bush is considered extremely healthy for a man in his 50s and has gone ahead with his planned trip to Illinois, Missouri and Louisiana.

He told reporters that he only realised what had happened when he looked up to see his two dogs, Barney and Spot, looking down at him.

“I hit the deck and woke up and there were Barney and Spot showing a lot of concern,” he said.

White House officials say the president was alone watching American football when he fainted at approximately 1735 local time on Sunday (2235 GMT), although his wife Laura was in an adjoining room.

Mr Bush passed out for just a few moments before waking up and contacting White House medical staff.

“He fainted due to a temporary decrease in heart rate brought on by swallowing a pretzel,” White House physician Dr Richard Tubb said, adding that the president had complained of feeling “a little off his game” in recent days.

“He said it [the pretzel] didn’t seem to go down right,” Dr Tubb said. “The next thing he knew he was on the floor.”

Low pulse

Mr Bush, 55, runs regularly, particularly at the Camp David presidential retreat in the state of Maryland.

He has a lower than normal pulse rate, which doctors attribute to his rigorous fitness regime.

According to Dr Tubb, this made him more prone to fainting when the pretzel stimulated a nerve when it got caught in his throat.

A neurologist at George Washington University Hospital, Dr Adriana Petretska, said: “It could happen to anybody. It is a typical reaction of the body of a patient who has something stuck in the throat.”

The incident comes almost exactly 10 years after President Bush’s father, George Bush Snr, famously collapsed and vomited as he was seated next to Japanese Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa during a state banquet in Tokyo.


One thought on “The Million Pretzel March

  1. Greetings Chris,

    My wife Gunilla and I briefly met you and your fiance in Goteborg a couple of weeks ago at the Heden swap meet. You kindly gave me a couple of bumper stickers.

    Your website is brilliant, and I’m now steering other malcontents towards it.

    If you ever want to get together for a drink when we’re in Goteborg (we also live in San Diego), our e-mail is

    Please don’t post this… I just wanted to get back in touch with you, and your blog appeared the only way.

    Cheers, Dave Morton

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