Bringing Down the Nuhauser


Pol­i­tics, long an inevitable part of the Olympics, have been front and cen­ter at this year’s Games, thanks large­ly to Under­sec­re­tary of Edu­ca­tion Buck Nuhauser. Known state­side as a lov­able doo­fus, a gal­lant bum­bler always ready with a smile and a not-quite-firm hand­shake, Nuhauser has been charm­ing the pants off of vice prin­ci­pals and after-school pro­gram tutors since his appoint­ment in 2009.

But with height­ened ten­sions between the Unit­ed States and Rus­sia in the months lead­ing up to the Games’ open­ing cer­e­mo­ny, Pres­i­dent B.H. Oba­ma decid­ed to keep all of his pre­vi­ous­ly appoint­ed high-lev­el del­e­gates at home, and send Nuhauser as the lone Amer­i­can rep­re­sen­ta­tive from the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment. The nation­al media imme­di­ate­ly began to sali­vate at the com­i­cal pos­si­bil­i­ties. But Lucky Bucky — as his wife calls him, usu­al­ly in pub­lic — has been deter­mined to turn those chuck­les into cheers by prov­ing his tal­ents, his gen­eros­i­ty and his com­po­sure while halfway across the world.

In short: Buck Nuhauser, Under­sec­re­tary of Edu­ca­tion, did not come to Sochi to mess around. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, the uni­verse has had oth­er plans.

Often con­sid­ered a low-brow, canned beer parti­er by his loy­al Ohio con­stituents and the larg­er Wash­ing­ton press, Nuhauser was deter­mined to put togeth­er a classy arrival pro­ces­sion, full of Amer­i­can whim­sy, when being for­mal­ly intro­duced to Rus­si­a’s own low-lev­el designee, the Min­is­ter of Cul­ture Vladimir Fukof­s­ki. Dozens of bewil­dered locals were scooped up and sent to the tar­mac for the offi­cial cer­e­mo­ny, which had been bedecked pri­or to Nuhauser’s arrival by his own staff members.

Upon his request, a giant ice cream sun­dae loomed at the cen­ter of a long red walk­way, and strong men in Amer­i­can flag judo jack­ets stood ready to throw hot minia­ture apple pies into the crowd. An Uncle Sam char­ac­ter on stilts, com­plete with long red-striped pants, hov­ered in the wings. The result­ing fun­fet­ti and pomp that unveiled itself as Nuhauser stepped off the plane was cer­tain­ly its own brand of charm­ing, if a bit cul­tur­al­ly tone deaf. Then the Under­sec­re­tary of Edu­ca­tion bran­dished a gun.

Well, a rifle real­ly, a holdover from the Civ­il War. Meant as a sym­bol of Amer­i­ca’s will­ing­ness to come togeth­er even in the face of adver­si­ty, the rusty mus­ket (some­how, improb­a­bly, still loaded) mis­fired, catch­ing fire to sev­er­al tall ban­ners depict­ing the Grand Canyon filled with the Krem­lin in a show of cul­tur­al uni­ty. In the imme­di­ate infer­no that fol­lowed, Nuhauser stepped on the train of Min­is­ter Fukof­ski’s wife as she tried to flee, tear­ing it com­plete­ly off. Sam­my Hagar, an Amer­i­can ride-along sent as a cul­tur­al attaché (com­plete with elec­tric gui­tar) imme­di­ate­ly swung into action. With a quar­ter cen­tu­ry of vol­un­teer fire­fight­ing under his belt, Hagar, ringed by smoke and flames, began to pound out the fire using his price­less gui­tar. The result­ing sin­gle image of the mess, cap­tured per­fect­ly, shows a stilt­ed Uncle Sam face down in an over­sized ice cream sun­dae while a wall of flame plays behind. In the fore­ground, a naked Russ­ian woman — the Min­is­ter’s debauched wife — stands in heels as Sam­my Hagar smash­es his Fend­er gui­tar on the ground, and Nuhauser stands hold­ing a rifle, the whole scene lit by orange rolling flames. The Asso­ci­at­ed Press, not known for edi­to­ri­al­iz­ing, call the event “fuck­ing awesome.”

Things have not got­ten much bet­ter for the man in the days fol­low­ing the pho­to’s inter­na­tion­al release. Nuhauser unknow­ing­ly used the top half of one of the city’s old­est matryosh­ka dolls to down a shot of Jack Daniels from a mini­bar bot­tle kept in his back pock­et, his dog Wolfie — a lum­ber­ing sheep­dog who accom­pa­nies the Under­sec­re­tary every­where — inter­rupt­ed the first elim­i­na­tion round of inter­na­tion­al hock­ey after try­ing to slow­ly “fetch” the puck while in play, and an impor­tant din­ner meant to smooth over the ear­li­er arrival sna­fu has arguably been the worst-received moment of all.

The meal was orig­i­nal­ly planned as a down-home coun­try bar­be­cue, com­plete with ribs, mac & cheese and Nuhauser’s famed Good Lawdy Corn­bread, but the idea was scrapped in favor of a more inter­na­tion­al, high-class mod­ernist feast. Nuhauser’s rea­son for the change was to show that the ear­li­er comedic sit­u­a­tions were not indica­tive of who he was, just a series of coin­ci­den­tal mishaps.

Strug­gling with the last minute about-face, the under­pre­pared chefs (many from sim­ple bar­be­cue restau­rants in North Car­oli­na) tried to foam up, emul­si­fy, Cry­oVac and flash-freeze the ingre­di­ents on hand. The raw pearls of pork ribs, dressed in beef blood foam to the best of these sim­ple men’s abil­i­ties, made near­ly every guest sick (Wolfie loved it), and those who were some­how unaf­fect­ed by strych­nine had their cheeks and tongues frozen by the poor­ly pre­pared dry ice bits of hoof. Fukof­s­ki, the guest of hon­or fol­low­ing the pre­vi­ous fias­co, choked on a large piece of bone, fell back into the serv­ing table, cre­at­ing a ful­crum that launched a bowl of emul­si­fied pota­to sal­ad into the lap of Fufofski’s incred­u­lous wife. Wolfie imme­di­ate­ly came over to lick it all up, and (for a brief moment) her face went from shock to com­i­cal arousal. The Asso­ci­at­ed Press, start­ing to become known for their edi­to­ri­al­iz­ing, described the moment as “fuck­ing awesome.”

Nuhauser, hell­bent on mak­ing things right with Fukof­s­ki, his wife, and the peo­ple of Rus­sia, decid­ed to try his best for a speech he was to give the fol­low­ing day on the shores of the “Black” Sea. After get­ting a sur­prise call from Pres­i­dent B.H. Oba­ma, Nuhauser opt­ed for a more toned down approach, stand­ing on a sim­ple stage to speak about the need for edu­ca­tion world­wide. After twen­ty min­utes of heart wrench­ing, off the cuff remarks, the crowd moved to tears, and with­out inci­dent, Fukof­s­ki relaxed, think­ing the speech was over.

How­ev­er, Sam­my Hagar had not got­ten the memo about the updat­ed speech plans and drove in from the ocean on a fan boat blast­ing “Ride of the Valkyries” fol­lowed by a fleet of Amer­i­can ser­vice­men in land­ing craft (rem­i­nis­cent of D Day). The Rus­sians, believ­ing an inva­sion, ran in every which direc­tion. Nuhauser, while thrilled to see his good friend Hagar, tried to call off the pre­sen­ta­tion by wav­ing furi­ous­ly. In the process, he also stepped on Fukofski’s wife’s dress again, as well as his own pants, result­ing in the pho­to of she and him hold­ing each oth­er, pants­less, to which the Asso­ci­at­ed Press called “a fuck­ing thrill ride.”

As of this print­ing, Nuhauser has returned to Amer­i­ca and is hard at work using the same skills he dis­played in Sochi on fix­ing America’s edu­ca­tion­al sys­tem. Fukof­s­ki and his wife returned to their demure life in Moscow, though she has been rumored to buy­ing bot­tles of Nuhauser’s cologne (not the brand he wears, his own line). And Sam­my Hagar, well, he took the “Black” Sea in a fan boat and hasn’t been seen since, but he’s been heard rock­ing all over the god damn world. ✦