Once, in the mid-nineties, they were legion. Now they are few, walking quietly among us like ghosts. When they emerge in public, people either avert their gaze or gape in awe. "Mommy, what's wrong with that man?" asks a small child who has only seen people who live in sunshine or in darkness.
But these last few, these last self-tanners, are slaves to neither the sun nor the moon. They honor the mighty spray-on tan that most mortals abandoned 15 years ago. And their standard-bearer is one brave Ohioan named John Boehner.
To be sure, he has his compatriots; for example, Lou Dobbs and Charlie Crist, two other proudly Tang-colored Americans. But as his journey through life continues, John Boehner finds himself increasingly mocked and ridiculed by a populace that cannot understand his insatiable compulsion to be orange.
"In the next hundred days our bipartisan outreach will be so successful that even John Boehner will consider becoming a Democrat. After all we have a lot in common. He is a person of color--although not a color that appears in the natural world."
Most ungentlemanly! But Boehner gave a pretty classy response, through his spokesman: "I can see no reason to discuss it." Later on, the flack elaborated: “If Leader Boehner had a nickel for every time he’s heard a joke like that, he could make a serious dent in Washington Democrats’ record-setting deficit.”
This sadly revealing quote tells us that Boehner is well aware of his long-standing reputation for extreme ochreness, and has quietly shouldered the burden of ridicule for years. It's too bad that he doesn't open up and share about his experience, for the edification of us all.