- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 4, 2002

Please come to Washington, one of the friendliest, cleanest and safest cities in the area between Maryland and Virginia.
Do not be dissuaded by the noise in the background.
We were just kidding about having Mike Tyson in town. We are not kidding about this official invitation.
We have cleaned up the anthrax, locked away a lot of suspicious-looking characters and issued a lifetime parking pass to Marion Barry.
You usually can spot the ex-mayor by the doughnut powder underneath his nose. You can spot the current mayor, Anthony A. Williams, by his bow tie and stack of charts, graphs and budget tables at his side.
The two are almost as politically intriguing as James Carville and Mary Matalin.
The ex-mayor is seeking an apology from the current mayor, plus a possible seat on the D.C. Council, if he ever is allowed to address the important issues of the day instead of his devotion to doughnuts.
Mr. Barry says Mr. Williams owes him and "the citizens of Washington an apology" after Mr. Williams suggested that Mr. Barry find professional help, if he needs it, for his doughnut-eating habits.
Why Mr. Barry thinks the citizens of Washington deserve an apology is curious, to say the least, because Mr. Barry was by himself when he was nabbed with a box of doughnuts.
Then again, this is Washington. You are not obligated to understand.
Mr. Williams might as well owe Mr. Barry and "the citizens of Harpers Ferry, W.Va., an apology."
This is what we do in Washington. We make hot air. We feign indignation. We push the boundaries of common sense.
We also take pictures of speeding motorists, write parking tickets and encourage our young to become tow-truck operators.
You should hurry to check out the cherry blossoms. They are in full bloom, just stunning, and the weather, for the most part, is being cooperative.
Pack a camera and wear a bulletproof vest while you are here.
The region is experiencing an upswing in violent crime, the District in particular, notably a series of gang-related shootings that have resulted in six dead and eight wounded in the past month.
In a positive development, it is now safe to visit scenic College Park, home of the University of Maryland and the national champions in college basketball.
College Park is where we like to start fires, throw bottles and smash windows if our emotions, good or bad, become too much to bear. Some places tout their old-town charm; College Park touts its primal-therapy benefits.
No, we have not been in the best mood since the awfulness of September 11, when Osama bin Laden favored us with his virgin-seeking nut cases.
You may notice the serious-looking men sitting atop the artillery vehicles across the Potomac River at the Pentagon. You probably would not want to test their level of readiness.
Otherwise, we are trying to get back to normal, although there have been no recent sightings of flying manhole covers.
The two rent-a-pandas at the National Zoo, Mei Xiang and Tian Tian, are doing just great. The same can be said of our ever-resistant rodent population.
We pick up the trash most of the time, the water is probably safe to drink and our 911 operators usually answer the phone.
As for three of Fire Chief Ronnie Few's top aides, they also are able to perform skin grafts on burn victims, according to their resumes.
We urge visitors not to go swimming in the Anacostia River unless all their shots are up to date. We allow only natives to walk on the rocks at Great Falls. A few do slip each year and turn up, days later, downstream.
We have our historical reference points beyond the obvious. Fanne Fox took a dip in the Tidal Basin, and Kevin Costner jumped off the Whitehurst Freeway in "No Way Out," with the help of special effects.
Michael Jordan still hangs out in Tony Cheng's neighborhood. He used to play basketball with the Wizards. Now he rides a stationary bicycle in the tunnel between the team's locker room and the court.
Remember: Our city is your city.
We only ask that you sample it.
If it helps, we accept all major credit cards.


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