A hand­book for swamp-drain­ing

The Washington Post Sunday - - LOCAL OPINIONS -

There’s been a lot of dis­cus­sion re­cently about drain­ing the swamp in Washington, and I’d like to pro­vide some in­sight into this very im­por­tant and rel­e­vant topic.

It’s very dif­fi­cult to lit­er­ally drain a swamp and nearly im­pos­si­ble to drain a fig­u­ra­tive one. I should know. If there were such a thing, I could be in charge of co­or­di­nat­ing swamp-drain­ing ac­tiv­i­ties for lit­eral swamps and fig­u­ra­tive swamps.

I’d be re­miss if I didn’t un­equiv­o­cally state up­front that the District was never built on a lit­eral swamp. It wasn’t built on a fig­u­ra­tive swamp, ei­ther. This is a myth that has been passed down from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion and de­serves clar­i­fi­ca­tion. Also, the drain­ing of lit­eral and fig­u­ra­tive swamps is an out­dated ac­tiv­ity.

That said, here are fac­tors to con­sider when un­der­tak­ing swamp-drain­ing ac­tiv­i­ties.

Fac­tor No. 1 — In­fec­tious Dis­eases

Lit­eral Con­sid­er­a­tions: Lit­eral swamps must not be drained dur­ing the rainy and/or warm sea­sons. Ac­quir­ing in­fec­tious dis­eases from mos­qui­toes and get­ting a tick-borne ill­ness are real con­cerns. Stag­nant wa­ter and hu­mid­ity in a lit­eral swamp can lead to a host of health is­sues. No one really wants to get malaria, yel­low fever or cryp­tosporid­ium. If you have to drain a swamp, it’s best to wait un­til win­ter.

Fig­u­ra­tive Con­sid­er­a­tions: Not ap­pli­ca­ble. In­fec­tious dis­eases are not present in imag­i­nary swamps.

Fac­tor No. 2 — Dis­place­ment of Res­i­dents

Lit­eral Con­sid­er­a­tions: Dis­place­ment of in­di­vid­u­als re­sid­ing in or near lit­eral swamps must be con­sid­ered. I would per­son­ally never choose to live in a swamp, but there are those who do. Swamp peo­ple don’t like hav­ing their land taken. My ad­vice is to find them a new swamp that doesn’t need to be drained and ask them to move there.

Fig­u­ra­tive Con­sid­er­a­tions: Not ap­pli­ca­ble. No one lives in imag­i­nary swamps. Fac­tor No. 3 — Swamp Goo Lit­eral Con­sid­er­a­tions: A prac­ti­cal mat­ter to con­sider when at­tempt­ing to drain a lit­eral swamp is where to put the gooey stuff. Non-swamp towns don’t like tak­ing in swamp-re­lated goo. The best sug­ges­tion is to see if Canada is will­ing to trade some­thing for our goo. Maybe we could of­fer to take Drake off of their hands in re­turn for swamp ma­te­ri­als. It would be an even trade.

Fig­u­ra­tive Con­sid­er­a­tions: Not ap­pli­ca­ble. There’s no goo in imag­i­nary swamps. Fac­tor No. 4 — Swamp Thing Lit­eral Con­sid­er­a­tions: Not ap­pli­ca­ble. Swamp Thing is make­be­lieve.

Fig­u­ra­tive Con­sid­er­a­tions: To­tally Ap­pli­ca­ble. Cau­tion must be main­tained al­ways if ev­i­dence of the crea­ture’s ex­is­tence is rec­og­nized in said swamp to be drained. Ev­i­dence in­cludes hor­ror-movie mu­sic, mon­ster dung and weird bub­bles em­a­nat­ing from the mid­dle of the swamp.

This is not a com­pre­hen­sive guide, but it’s a good start­ing point when en­deav­or­ing to drain swamps.

As stated above, lit­eral swamp-drain­ing, while chal­leng­ing, is a com­pletely doable ac­tiv­ity.

Fig­u­ra­tive swamp-drain­ing, on the other hand, is a very ar­du­ous task. It’s hard enough to even lo­cate the fig­u­ra­tive swamp to be drained. In my years of ex­pe­ri­ence on the job, most fig­u­ra­tive swamps aren’t fig­u­ra­tive swamps at all. In many cases, they are just a silly slo­gan.

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