- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Here’s the scoop: Our esteemed and embattled mayor is running so fast to and fro that any day now he’s going to meet himself around the corner.

So accordingly, I have a wee bit of advice for him: Please take a break.

Here are a few reasons why.

Is Mayor Vincent C. Gray still in charge? Seems like he is.

Is the city being run effectively and efficiently? Yes, no, maybe so.

Is the mayor overexposed? Y-E-S.

Are the political corruption allegations a distraction? You bet a double scoop of Baskin-Robbins’ flavor of the month, Gold Medal Ribbon (my favorite), that the allegations are a serious distraction.

Can and should the mayor do something? Yes and no.

No, he shouldn’t resign unless criminal or civil infractions are spelled out in legal documents.

Yes, he should do something, and that is take a break.

All day, members of the media get to take sneak peeks at the mayor’s schedule, receive press releases about what he thinks about this or that, and follow written statements and TV and radio appearances that inform us and the public on all manner of issues. And I have to concede that, for a 69-year-old man, he appears to be holding up fairly well under some incredible pressure.

But like a rattle on an aged Presto pressure cooker, steam sooner or later takes its toll.

Now let’s be clear. The media mustn’t let up, no matter how tough the going gets for the mayor. He’s stewing now, and it’s our job to mind the pot.

And prosecutors mustn’t take their eyes off of the Gray pot or any of the other burners. The anticipation of what might further snarl Mr. Gray or any additional miscreants is a bit like waiting for a pot of water to boil on a burner still on simmer.

It’s just that relishing a cone of ice cream or digging into a bowl of the sweet creamy stuff is far more pleasurable and rewarding than him watching us watching him.

So here’s my advice to Mr. Gray. First, instruct a member of your Metropolitan Police Department security detail to drive you to a Baskin-Robbins. I recommend the store at Eighth Street and Pennsylvania Avenue SE on Capitol Hill. I called Wednesday afternoon on your behalf and a scooper there assured me they have this month’s featured flavor. It’s the store closest to your home.

Next, tell the police driver to take you directly home so your self-indulgent goodie doesn’t melt. If your driver needs to hit that siren a few times as you head out Pennsylvania Avenue to Branch Avenue and hook that right turn before pulling up to gate, that’s cool. You make yourself the story (instead of the issue) too often anyway.

Then, grab a tablespoon and dig in. Let every mouthful of the deliciously cool chocolate-and-vanilla ice cream melt on your very, very, very, very busy tongue and savor the swirls of caramel that linger afterward.

Such fleeting moments of self-indulgence won’t make the mayor’s political or legal troubles disappear, or soften the bites or barks of news hounds. So he should snatch the small joys and comforts of life while he still can, even if that means taking several days off in a row. The media will take notice anyway.

Oh, and if vanilla, chocolate and caramel aren’t the mayor’s thing, he should not schedule a press conference.

He doesn’t want to give the impression that he actually devalues others’ opinions.

• Deborah Simmons can be reached at [email protected]

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