Eat Before You Go

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More than a few “party” experts suggest that, before going to a party, you eat. The theory is that if you eat a little at home, you will not make a pig of yourself at the party. Party food might be higher in fat and calories, while you can snack on twigs and bark at home to keep your figure slim.

This advice has always been puzzling to me. It seems akin to swinging by the McDonald’s drive-through on your way to your grandparent’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. “Honey, I’m going to take the edge off with a Big Mac before turkey and pie.”

The notion of pre-party indulgence to avoid over-indulgence at a party, however, may be useful for some parties, specifically, political parties.

Perhaps people might donate mannequins, or robotic pet dogs, to legislators and congressional staffers, right before Congress gets into session.

Who knows — if the legislators get their fill of giving orders and manipulating artificial people (and dogs — who will think of the dogs?), maybe they will be sated when it comes time to consider what new restrictions to impose on living, breathing people.

Of course, the plan would be very expensive to implement. Mannequins and robotic dogs would have to be sent to various lobbyists, grass roots organizations, and perhaps large blocks of swing voters in key states. Query whether PETA would be offended by a gift of robotic dogs.

At any rate, such a plan is worth considering. Just think of the troubles we could have avoided if only the Continental Congress had been so influenced by mannequins.

The Alien and Sedition Acts? Never would have happened. John Adams — the man who would be king — could have been given a Thomas Jefferson, or Benjamin Franklin Bache, dummy, to berate and punish. Like the real Bache, he could have imprisoned the mannequin. But then again, maybe the Jeffersonians would not have swept Adams and his Federalist Party from power in 1800. Utilitarian calculations are so difficult.

The War of 1812? No need. Whole boatloads of mannequins, set up for destruction by patriotic cannons, would have quelled the need to kill Canadians. But then there might not have been any New England secession movements — which make the later New England opposition to Southern secession so deliciously hypocritical.

So remember: before going to political parties, stage a mock legislative session at home. You’ll thank yourself later when you don’t have all those unwanted laws to get rid of in a crash diet.

Mr. Dieteman [send him mail] is an attorney in Erie, Pennsylvania, and a PhD candidate in philosophy at The Catholic University of America.

© 2001 David Dieteman

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