Monday, July 23, 2012

Skull & Bones 3

Georgetown info session at 10:30, followed by tour at 11:05. What a great place Georgetown is for those who want to learn how to pull the levers of power; what an excellent place to learn, to learn how to apply that learning, and to walk out with a resume that proves it. (But more on that below.)

After the tour, we catch the hotel shuttle back to the hotel, and take the 32 bus to the Mall: White House, check.

The American History Museum is our first stop, a real winner with the kids. I let them lead me through all the dioramas and scratch’n’sniff exhibits, all the while wondering about the future of American civilization; but hey, who am I to wonder. And the exhibits are, when one gets right down to it, engaging and informative, despite, or because of—Einstein would agree—their childish gestalt.

Then it’s on to the Archives, which are cool if one has time, which we didn’t. Besides, the Declaration and the Constitution do not get their gravitas from the age of the paper on which they were originally written.
The lunch counter that launched the liberation of African Americans

36 bus (and nap), back to hotel, to get all gussied up for dinner at 1789 Restaurant. 1789, by the way, is the date of the official founding of Georgetown University, by free-thinking Jesuits. (I know, I know; but look it up, if you have to ask.)

Speaking (tangentially) of Jesuits, “The Exorcist” was filmed at Georgetown, and we have stood on the steps to prove it.

The famous steps are across the street from 1789 Restaurant, where we had fantastic food, and the even more fantastic company of Sean Redmond, Matt Talvacchia, Clara Gustafson, Kara Brandeisky, Vail Kohnert-Yount, Alex Bodaken, and Jake Sticka.

What did I get out of it, besides the irreparable yearning to be young and beautiful again? This is what I learned: Georgetown is the place to learn to do work that matters, in any and (almost) every field of endeavor, by way of internships, in the halls of power, which are only a mile or so away.
P.S. On the taxi ride back to the hotel, Tanya asked a question, which I will roughly paraphrase here: why go to all the expense of wining and dining us and guests? Couldn’t the money be spent in more worthwhile endeavors for the students of our district? (Give it up to Georgetown: it is the university’s intense focus on social consciousness and good works, reiterated in the info sessions, on tour, and by the former and current students at dinner, that gave Tanya the courage to speak up.)
I left the answer to her question up to our cab driver. His explanation was two-fold: 1. practically speaking, you have to learn how to be comfortable in the trappings of power (the Prime Minister of Haiti happened to be dining in the next room); and 2. person-to-person connections are everything; and therefore, compared to the value of your acceptance into and matriculation from a school like Georgetown (and into the halls of power, perhaps), the money spent on this dinner is an excellent investment.

So, two angels: Tanya, for asking, and the cabbie, for answering.


  1. I hope that Tanya can answer that question herself when she’s completed her time with the ILC. With any luck she can tell us that we haven’t wasted our money on choosing her as an ambassador for the District. If, at that time, she still feels that we’ve wasted our time and money on her, perhaps she can write us a check to reimburse us and we can invest her money on the students she left behind.

    Even though we’re investing a fortune in Tanya, if we were to distribute that money evenly amongst the students she left behind we could invest an additional 28¢ per student. Perhaps we can add a few more AP classes or make sure we have art, music and drama programs in every school. We can reduce class sizes and add a few more college guidance counselors.

    OR, we can give the money back to the sponsors who thought that expanding the college going culture in our district was a worthwhile investment.

    We’ll let Tanya tell us how she wants us to spend the money when she reimburses us.

  2. That seems like a particularly defensive and rude response to a young woman's legitimate inquiry, Don.

    Shouldn't we be encouraging critical thinking, not trying to shut down discussion? If you are right and Tanya is wrong, that will become clear when a fair, non-threatening discussion has been had.

  3. I love the group picture! Thank you so much for a wonderful evening, and we hope ILC comes back to visit Georgetown in the future.
    - Vail