...From the moment Ickes arrived at the White House he was the guy everyone else in the room noticed scribbling notes. Even after the Whitewater hearings, when it was clear that anything you put down on paper could be held against you, Ickes kept scribbling away. He couldn't have been more conspicuous about it: he scribbled his notes standing up! It gave him the air of a man who refused to join the crowd, but the main reason Ickes stood through meetings was to avoid falling asleep.
When he was 25, Ickes had entered Columbia University Law School and promptly contracted -- if that is the right word -- narcolepsy. For 10 years or so Ickes took massive doses of Dexedrine. Five milligrams of the stuff would wire a normal person for 48 hours; Ickes swallowed 60 milligrams a day to keep himself awake. At the White House Ickes had a special terror of falling asleep in the Oval Office. He imagined a day when a pride of Cabinet members would be sitting around the yellow sofas, Al Gore would be going on about the ozone layer and whoosh ... he'd be nodding off on his feet like some giant flamingo. He says: ''It's hard to fall asleep on your feet but it can be done.Just give me a nice, dark cozy corner.'
Harold Ickes attended Stranford University and Columbia Law School
( Alex Wong, Getty Images for Meet the Press )
From the New York Times Magazine Article "Bill Clinton's Garbage Man" written by By Michael Lewis Published: September 21, 1997