I was in the 6th grade. It was the annual trip to Washington D.C. We were in the Capitol Building on a tour, currently parked in the National Statuary Hall being told of the whispering gallery that occurs there. I was young, naive; enamored by the presence of a name I actually knew. That toupee looking thing on his head. He looked familiar from the television. Our teacher whispered with a slight giddiness that drew all our attention, “There’s the Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich.”

Speaker of the House? That sounded pretty important from what we could recall from our Social Studies lessons. Newt paused in the middle of the Hall to talk with some politician (we assumed, but was most likely a lobbyist now looking back at things). That smug, shit-eating smirk took over his chubby face. He was on top of the world—this being 1996 and he being Time‘s reigning “Man Of The Year.”

He had already begun diddling House of Representatives staffer Callista Bisek by this time, while still married to his second wife mind you. Something of him reeked though. Even at the young age of 11 I felt an odd inclination that something was off about him—maybe he had just had a go-around with Callista in his office on some giant mahogany desk that cost $30,000. I wonder now how many times he had used that whispering gallery to cut some deceitful backdoor deal. And who knew that on that day the younger portly Newt would be the Newt I’m trying so hard to drown out these 16 years later. I wish I had gone over and kicked him in the shins, I’d be proud of my younger self if I had…