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Will nation be able to keep up with Obama?

January 21, 2009

I could never be president. It has nothing to do with competence, obviously, it has to do with the fact that I can't stay up past 10 at night. Watching those inaugural balls made me feel old. And tired. And clueless.

Fortunately, Beth stood at hand as my interpreter:

"Whose that performing?"

"Jay-Z."

"Jay-Z who?

"It's just Jay-Z."

"Oh. I used to drive one of those."

"Um, hm."

"Is he good?"

"I think so. He's better than he sounds."

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I thought the inauguration itself went well enough, highlighted by the fact that Bush 41 appeared to be wearing an actual caribou on his head and the fact that the new president and the Chief Justice messed up a 35-word oath of office.

That should give the conspiracy coneheads something to do for the next three years, filing suit charging that Obama is not authorized to be president because of a transposed word.

His speech was all right, although I was a bit disconcerted about his idea that all of us citizens are going to have to do a lot of the work of rebuilding the nation.

I was hoping he would do it all. If I'm going to rebuild the nation, I want part of the pay.

The Chinese were nonplused as well, censoring Obama's references to communism. So I guess if you were in China, the line you would have heard was: "Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and the glorious workers paradise not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions."

So I could handle the daytime festivities. But all those balls - whew, that would be too much work for me. I heard there were 10 of them, with names like the Neighborhood Ball, the Southern Ball, the Equality Ball, the Armed Forces Ball and the Meineke Car Care Ball.

There was the Midwest Ball, the Mid-Atlantic Ball, the Home State Ball. There was probably a Hagerstown Ball in there somewhere but we didn't see it because everyone was wearing camouflage tuxedos.

I felt for some of the old geezers in the audience at the Neighborhood Ball with their gray hair and tuxes, futilely trying to keep a rhythm with some trendy hip-hop artist. That would be me. You know it is entertainment, you just don't know why.

Not that there weren't some really good singers - but it is depressing to think that there are so many wildly famous celebrities of whom I've never heard.

It wasn't until Sting took the stage that I was finally able to shout, "Hey, I know that guy!"

But even that was a bit disconcerting. I mean, he sounded like Sting. But he wasn't the same ultra-lean, counterculture icon with the shock of spiked, yellow hair. He had a conservative haircut and a beard, and looked as if he should be teaching community college philosophy classes.

The president didn't even make it to the last of the balls until 2 a.m., which means he probably didn't get home until about the time I was getting up.

So after all the galas, how do you wake up in the morning and govern? I'd be concerned that I'd give a $300 million bailout to Gitmo and close down Citibank.

Although now that I think about it, that might not be such a bad idea.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2324, or by e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com.

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