This Dave Barry column was originally published Sunday, January 22, 1995
Big changes are occurring in Washington, D.C. (motto: "Don't Laugh: You're Paying For It"). The Democrats, who had been in charge of Congress for thousands of years, have been thrown out into the street; you see hordes of them wandering aimlessly through traffic, freezing, holding crudely lettered signs that say "WILL INVENT HUGE WASTEFUL GOVERNMENT PROGRAMS FOR FOOD."
Congress is now in the hands of a genetically altered new breed of Republicans led by Newt Gingrich, a man who is motivated by a passionate commitment to political and cultural beliefs forged in the crucible of his youth -- when America was strong, and people had real values, and the streets were safe, and at school the other kids dunked Newt head-first into the boys'-room commode because he was a dweeby little ball of pudge named "Newt."
Yes, Newt is an angry man, and he is above all angry at the federal government; he hates it, hates it, hates it. The only thing that keeps him from eliminating the federal government altogether is that then he would have nowhere to work.
Nevertheless he and the other new-breed Republicans are determined to "downsize" the government in every single area except of course those areas that are located in their personal districts. At the same time, they want to "upsize" spending on national defense, so that Americans will never again have to fear that some foreign bully such as Saddam Hussein will be able to dunk the head of this proud nation in the boys'-room commode of international humiliation.
The Republicans also want to pass a middle-class tax cut, and so do the estimated eight Democrats who were able to retain their congressional seats during the recent elections by hiding in their basements. Even Bill Clinton, who as of this writing is still, technically, the president, has decided that he is once again in favor of a middle-class tax cut. You may recall that he had planned to propose a tax cut right after he got elected, but once he took office he became preoccupied with the awesome responsibility of having to completely change his mind every 45 minutes.
But the point is that all parties in Washington now agree that the middle class should get a tax cut, which means there will not be one any time soon. Instead there will be a lengthy and loud debate over who will get credit for a tax cut; ultimately the amount of money spent on press releases alone will be far greater than whatever pathetic amount winds up in the hands of the actual middle class.
Speaking of action, we can also expect the new Congress to do something about bringing back the kind of decent, old- fashioned values that we used to have in America years ago, when there was no crime, and a new car cost 50 cents, and you weren't constantly being hassled by total strangers trying to get you to change your long-distance telephone company, and nobody had ever heard of "cellulite, " and if you asked for water in a restaurant they didn't ask you what KIND of water and then charge you good money for it even though it probably came out of some French person's garden hose, plus if you ordered a hamburger they gave you an actual BOTTLE of ketchup instead of those hideous little packets that you have to open with your teeth and never squirt in the right direction.
Yes, America was a better place then, and as a nation, we need to spend more time talking about the spiritual values of yore, because "yore" is a fun word to say. Try it: yore yore yore yore yore. But words alone are not enough. We also need to take action, especially in our schools, where the time has come -- no matter WHAT the so-called Supreme Court says -- to bring back an activity that has been missing from our public-education system for far too long; an activity that was a regularly scheduled part of the school day when Newt and I were boys; an activity that has been eliminated with disastrous consequences to the moral fiber of our youth. I am referring, as you have no doubt deduced, to the wearing of athletic supporters.
I have here an article from (really) the Cox News Service, written by Kevin Amorim and sent in by alert reader Tom Wassenich; this article states that supporter-wearing has declined sharply among the young men of today. I was alarmed to read this. When I was a youth, we HAD to wear athletic supporters in gym class, and although they were uncomfortable, we were ultimately glad they were mandatory, because every now and then you could sneak up on a victim, grab hold of his elastic strap, pull it back about 700 feet, then let go, and henceforth the victim would be singing in a whole different section of the Glee Club, if you catch my drift.
I say that it's about time we returned to those days of yore yore yore yore yore. I say that if mandatory athletic supporters were good enough for great Americans such as Newt and myself and the late Abraham Lincoln, then they are good enough for the young people of today, and I hope that you will join me in loudly voicing this opinion to whoever will listen. And speaking of voices, I cannot help but notice that Newt's is fairly high-pitched.
© 1995, Dave Barry
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