Knock on Wood

October 10, 1962

What a relief to get Cuba off my agenda for a while. Well, not exactly off-off my agenda (as we say in Boston), because the damned Republicans and a lot of crazy Democrats as well—this is the only subject that interests them right now. But it really looks as if Khrushchev got my message back on 4 September: you put strategic nuclear weapons into Cuba, we will give you a choice: remove them voluntarily, or we’ll destroy them militarily. So far, anyway, our people say there is no sign of nuclear missiles—at least from the U-2 photographs. Long may it be so; knock on wood; may the luck of the Irish prevail, and so on.

This gives me a little time to consider really serious matters. Jackie says that she wants me to wear my hair the way Richard Burton wears his—with a little hair brushing on the collar of my dress shirts. She’s in love with Burton, like all the women are these days. And frankly, I think his dame, Liz Taylor, is quite a bombshell. But I don’t know. I don’t want to look like a longhaired beatnik. Next think you know, I’ll be giving speeches that have lines in them like: “like, hey man, check it out, ask not what your country can do for you, dudes; ask what you can do for your fellow be-bopping daddy-os.”

On second thought, I kind of like that line. When I see Ted Sorensen this afternoon, I’ll tell him to use it in one of the campaign speeches in New York state, when I am up there stumping for Democrats in next month’s election. I can’t wait to see Ted’s face when I say: “yo, Tedly, you cool rockin’ daddy-o.” He may faint.