Travel Guide to Washington DC (for my niece Maria)

Travel Guide to Washington DC (for my niece Maria)


Prehistoric DC. Virginia eventually reclaimed its unused gift.

Early DC. Virginia eventually reclaimed its unused gift west of the Potomac.

Dear Maria,

Good evening and hello. We’ll just assume it’s evening. It reads better that way. It appears your next adventure in this journey we call “life” remands you to the District of Columbia (originally a 10 mile square tilted cube until 1846 when Virginia retroceded its portion back into the state leaving Maryland’s cession as the location of present day DC.). You are both fortunate and burdened to have your intellectual capacities exercised to the degreee they will be in DC (The extra e in degreee was intentional, although it serves no purpose, in much the same way long parenthetical entries are more confusing than enlightening – agreed? Agreed!). Yes Maria, your lot in life will soon revolve around DuPont Circle (formerly DuPont Square, but numerous revolutions have rounded its corners rendering it DuPont Circle).


The Capitol on Jenkins Hill

The Capitol on Jenkins Hill

As you commence your internship and continue your peripatetic education, you’ll walk the corridors of power and thrill to the brinksmanship of political drama. I also foresee appropriate time being allotted for bathroom breaks – except for the guy who works in the gift shop at the top of the Washington Monument. I don’t know what he does. Maybe there’s a tube behind the desk or something. In any event, while in DC there are certain under-the-radar sites you’ll be edified to see. Some truly exist others are made-up from whole cloth purchased at Whole Foods (actually put on layaway from Whole Foods – everything there is so expensive). I’ll let you determine which are fact and which are specious:

1.     Lincoln Assassination Museum – in the basement of Ford’s Theater, it’s filled with chilling artifacts and explanations of that dastardly act committed by John Wilkes Booth on April 14th 1865. The bullet, the gun, the bloodied overcoat, the diabolical diary entries are all there in agonizing glory. You’ll see the mullet Booth war to disguise himself when he fled to southern sympathizing Maryland. You’ll learn, among other things, that Mrs. Lincoln did not enjoy the play either.

2.     Rhetorical Museum of Action Verbs – With undue prolixity and sesquipedalian verbosity, this museum persuasively confirms the notion that truth is whatever is said the loudest and commands the rabble’s attention.

3.    Museum of Tolerance – Happily answers the question, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Note: Now featuring Jew-free Thursdays. Hispanic women must wear pants above ass crack. Free admission for whites with light-colored necks.

4.    Congressional Cemetery – Off the well-trodden path, this often disregarded burial ground was the temporary resting ground for Presidents and houses the remains of several American luminaries.

5.     The Museum of Arms and Legs Missing from all the Statues in other Museums – Amputees get in for free. All others $95. You’ll please note I took the high ground and said nothing about it costing an arm and a leg.

6.     Octagon House – Temporary White House Co-opted by Madison and Monroe after the British burned our Capitol in retaliation for the US sacking York (Toronto) during the poorly named War of 1812.

7.     Fonts of Wisdom – They’re all there. From Arial Black to New Times Roman. All fonts are faithful in the way they act. It’s typecasting really.

8.     Hall of Odors – On second thought don’t go there. It stinks.

9.     Union Station – Magisterial from courtyard to canopy, this architectural marvel is a must see. Shops, food courts and plenty of well-dressed people convinced they’re in a hurry  as they spin away on their treadmill to oblivion. Of course that’s just on the Nihilism tracks. On the Logical Positivism tracks it’s much cheerier.

10.   Effluvium – Because some days the best things we manage to produce are waste products. See the Hall of Leaky Chamber Pots and relieve yourself in a genuine outhouse where dried corncobs have replaced the toilet paper. Combines the bad taste of haggis with the dyspepsia of Piltdown Man. Not recommended for those with a peanut allergy.

11.   National Portrait Gallery – Practically abandoned, you’ll enjoy padding about this august cavernous setting. If you know the back story (by reading beforehand) it’s a treasure trove of Early American history.

12.   National Archives – Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, ‘nuff said. On one of my visits they displayed the Magna Carta whose authenticity I thought was dubious owing to the words “Pringles” appearing several times throughout the text.

13.   The International Hall of Leafblowers – Thrill to the cacophonous din of thunderous tympanic reverberations accomplishing something so inconsequential. Don’t miss the instructive children’s film: The Little Leaf that Refused to be Pushed Around. The Adult version is entitled The Landscaper who Liked Blow Jobs.

Dearest Maria these are just a few of the myriad targets you should train your sites on while in our nation’s capitol. Poor analogy. I’m sure you’ll have the experience of a lifetime in DC if you just remember 2 things. Irony is not enough, and, as Oprah says, “The most important relationship you’ll ever have is your relationship with yourself.”

Hope to Visit You, Bon Chance,

Uncle David

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