June 2017 was supposed to be the month my 13-year-old son Gideon went to Washington, D.C. on a youth tour.
For reasons that had nothing to do with recent gunfire or the current occupant of the Oval Office (or the fact that “draining the swamp” might be too overpowering a concept for a lad who still cringes at parental suggestions about “emptying the cat litterbox” or “picking up that HazMat suit from your bedroom floor”), my wife and I decided to cancel our plans and get a refund.
Gideon made a quick tour of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History with us four years ago and stands a chance of winning a free D.C. trip between his junior and senior years, so he’s handling his disappointment well.
He has his karate class, his talk radio favorites (Phil Valentine and Mark Levin) and his Dean Martin impersonations to keep him busy. If he sang “That’s Amore” inside The Beltway, the lyrics would have to be changed to “When the moon hits your eye/Like a big pizza pie/That’s a golden opportunity for collusion between the SpaceX lobby, the hitting-in-the-eye lobby and the pizza lobby.”
Sure, I’ve felt temporary pangs of guilt about passing up this educational experience. One website touting Washington tourist attractions made it sound downright unpatriotic not to “Feel the pulse of American politics at the U.S. Capitol.” Of course, with the medical coverage they provide themselves, feeling the pulse is no big deal for congressmen. For the rest of us, feeling the pulse probably involves scolding about “out-of-network,” “cosmetic procedure” and “preexisting condition.”
It’s probably best that Gideon didn’t have to be exposed to all those nefarious, entrenched “deep state” government bureaucrats who try to make trouble for new administrations. Some go really deep. (“Just you wait, Harry S Truman - I’ll fix...hey, do the dentures stop here?”)
And the other kids would probably have been rowdy and robbed Gideon of his much-needed sleep. He would likely have been as cranky and unpredictable as some of those federal judges who get up on the wrong side of bed. (“Holding truths to be self-evident? That’s clearly unconstitutional, divisive and traumatizing! Where’s my auto-correct app for founding principles?”)
Gideon is something of a history buff, but some of the kids might have driven the tour guides crazy with their embarrassing questions. (“You say DOLLEY MADISON saved a White House portrait from the British during the War of 1812? Sure, and I’ll bet HOSTESS TWINKIES stood there telling all the Redcoats ‘Shhhhh’ in the Library of Congress.”)
Right now, Gideon needs a stable environment for the summer, instead of a city where the scope of investigations can expand willy-nilly. (“How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop, and can the Russians do it faster?”)
Perhaps Gideon will have an even clearer picture of Washington if he delays his second trip until he has an afterschool job (with all sorts of payroll deductions on his meager check stub). He may want to observe a moment of silence at the Tomb of the Unknown Dumpster Diver.
Yes, someday young Mr. Tyree WILL return to Washington and campaign for his pet causes: a mandatory waiting period on wedgies; a single-payer system for those &%$^ door-to-door magazine sales; and rejection of CONCEALED-CARRY permits for school cafeteria mystery meat methane.