Esquire spent a couple days with Todd Palin—"the man for American now"—last year, and just got around to publishing the story, including heartbreaking details of Sarah Palin and Levi Johnston before the crack-up.

Most of the story is devoted to Todd's deadening and humiliating life as a stay-at-home dad, which is occasionally punctuated by concentrated blasts of testosterone-boosting stuff like running an oil rig and racing around on snowmobiles, which some people insist on calling "snow machines."

But reporter Luke Dittrich hung around in Palin-land before Bristol and Levi parted ways, and caught some now-poignant exchanges between the family's matriarch and the loutish son of an OxyContin dealer that Bristol tried to drag in to the family:


Bristol comes into the kitchen with Levi Johnston, her fiancé. He's a good-looking kid, very Abercrombie & Fitch. He says hi all around but doesn't say much more. When he's over here, it's usually just him and Todd and Trig in a house full of women, and the women dominate the conversation. He nods at Todd and Todd nods back.

"Levi got his wedding ring stuck on his thumb," Molly says.

"Levi!" Sarah says. "That's par for the course. That means you're stuck. That's symbolic or something." She pulls a roast out of the refrigerator and calls Levi over and starts showing him how to marinate it. "Now, Levi, look, I'm gonna put this stuff in here. . . ."


Sarah turns and looks back over her shoulder at Levi, who's peering uncertainly into the oven. "Is it cooking, Levi?" she asks.

Symbolic! Or something!