Inauguration: the fine print

If it rains, please no umbrellas. If it's cold, please no Cutty Sark. If weak of bladder, tough luck.
If it rains, please no umbrellas. If it's cold, please no Cutty Sark. If weak of bladder, tough luck.

For a Northwesterner to enter and win the inaugural-ticket lottery is to become Rod Blagojevich. You've got this thing, see, and it's [expletive deleted] golden.

The congratulatory notice from your Congressman begins innocuously enough, like the first line on a prescription-drug label:

Congratulations on being selected to receive two tickets for the 56th Presidential Inaugural Ceremonies in Washington, DC on Tuesday, January 20, 2009. I look forward to seeing you when you come to pick-up your tickets.

True, you're poor and it will cost at least 600 smackers to fly to DC. Why not give your tickets to a friend instead? Your inner-Blago awakens and says to you, "It's a [expletive deleted] valuable thing. You just don't give it away for nothing."

Your Congressman anticipates miscreants like you. He writes:

Inauguration tickets will be available for pick-up in my Washington DC office on Monday, January 19th from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM. This is the only day that tickets will be available.

Each person will need to show photo ID in order to receive their ticket. Tickets are non-transferable. Ticket holders will be required to provide the names of each individual in their party in advance.

Drats, you think, no windfall. At least you'll be a part of history. You can sit back with your umbrella and thermos of Scotch and watch "Change We Can Believe In" finally come to pass.

This is the part of the message qua prescription-drug label that kindles second thoughts. It's that mid-section on the back listing possible side effects such as dry mouth, trouble breathing, and mild-to-severe psychosis rarely lasting more than four hours.

The Inaugural Ceremony is held outside the West Front Lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Historically, Inauguration Day is cold and sometimes wet with an average temperature of 37 degrees. Attendees should be prepared to stand for several hours. If there is rain on Inauguration Day, umbrellas will not be permitted within the security perimeter.

No umbrella? What of your thermos? What of your Cutty Sark?

Once inside the event, movement will be limited and attendees will be asked to stay within their ticketed area. [read: weak-of-bladder best not attend] Please review the list of prohibited items carefully as there will be no place to leave prohibited items.

Prohibited items include, but are not limited to: Firearms and ammunition (either real or simulated), Explosives of any kind (including fireworks), Knives, blades, or sharp objects (of any length), Mace and/or pepper spray, Sticks or poles, Pockets or hand tools, such as 'ꀜLeatherman,'ꀝ Packages, Backpacks, Large bags, Duffel bags, Suitcases, Thermoses, Coolers, Strollers, Umbrellas, Laser pointers, Signs, Posters, Animals (other than service animals), Alcoholic beverages, Other items that may pose a threat to the security of the event as determined by and at the discretion of the security screeners.

A TSA-style gauntlet followed by a freezing, thermos-umbrella-backpack-free inauguration?

Make no mistake, it will still be [expletive deleted] golden.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson is the former editorial-page editor of the Everett Herald. Follow him on Twitter @phardinjackson