All about what I had for dinner

All about what I had for dinner

I rode in my time-machine to March 4, 1809, Washington DC, the White House, front lawn, 4 in the afternoon. Through the window I saw President James Madison standing and looking out at me. He had the puzzled and dazed look which always happens when someone sees me appear out of nowhere. It’s the brain saying, “That’s not possible.” I waved. He looked okay again and waved back. Everybody feels okay when you wave.

President Madison came out to greet me. We shook hands and offered up our names. He wanted to know about my sudden appearance and my traveling machine. I said, “I’m a time-traveler and I came to see you.” It’s what I usually say. If I just said the first part of that sentence, back would come the befuddled gaze. But letting the person know I came to see them makes them feel really good about themselves, and the time-travel becomes a triviality.

I said, “Congratulations on becoming President!” He’d been inaugurated at noon that day. He thanked me. I said, “The history books say that you are the greatest of all leaders that have ever, ever lived.” He gushed a river of tears, held my hands, thanked me, and invited me to a stately dinner of roast goose, earth nut peas, and taro corms. I didn’t know what the historians actually said. But I was hungry and flattery is foolproof for getting well fed.

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