Guiding: “No Comment”

And the Laugh’s on Zuckerberg

Well, the Fall guiding season is in full swing in our Nation’s Capitol with adults here to see the sights and visiting eighth-grade students here to prevent them from doing it.

Just kidding.

Sort of.

I have guided adult mid-westerners on a retirement getaway, perhaps even from the grand children, as we faced an onrush of 200 kids in a Capitol pedestrian tunnel in what felt like Gengis Khan and the Mongol hordes in a headlong rush to battle.

My advice to my group:  move to the side and hope for the best.

Here I sheepishly admit that I have also been on the other side, with those hordes as they both fail to walk to the right and make room for others, regardless of repeated entreaties.

Fellow guides will know that one of the toughest places to either unload or load a motorcoach full of visitors is at the south side of the Lincoln Memorial.

There I was the other day, looking to unload my adults, many of whom were graduating from high school when I was born and that was when Ike was in the Oval Office.


Desperate for a spot, I saw a police officer and requested the driver to stop so I could ask permission.

As I stepped off the coach I said to the officer, “I have a group of seniors, can we unload here?”

As the words crossed my lips I tried to pull them back realizing that at least the first six rows of passengers had been privy to my verbal gaffe.

As one of them, a retired Korea-era Marine, later said with an arm around my shoulder and a hint of a smile, “It’s one thing to be a senior and another to be referred to as one.”

Sir, yes, sir.

My eighth-grade group last week was delightful with the exception of one young fellow who saw it as his solemn duty to push my buttons at every opportunity, which was often, gliding up next to me to deliver a verbal joust.

We were walking around the Tidal Basin when he asked if he could jump in the water.

Tidal Basin

I quickly considered my response options and the subsequent ramifications and finally settled on “No comment” hoping to sound neutral on the idea without killing it outright.

Alas, dry he stayed.

If you bond with the kids, and I usually do, they have a million personal questions to which I always reply “that is need to know information and you don’t.”

But they can be wily.

After the “do you have a wife or girlfriend” question failed one fellow waited a few minutes and sidled up with, “So, do you care for anyone?”

Which was quite clever but failed nevertheless.

Their next approach is to go for the social media ploy.

A young lady asked, “Are you on SnapChat?”

I replied, “What’s that?” only to be given a mixed look of pity and sympathy for my abject studipity.

But the night was complete when a young fellow then remarked, “I know he’s on Facebook, all adults are on Facebook”, said with the same note of matter-of-factness as you would say “all adults wear velcro sneakers” or “all adults have hearing aids.”

The notion of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg being tagged by the truly youthful as a codger-in-waiting made me laugh out loud.

And suddenly the spring was back in my step.








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