By James Taranto
What Would Tip O'Neill Say?
Is it possible that we got it wrong yesterday in assuming that Rep. Hank Johnson was joking when he said he was worried about Guam tipping over and capsizing? In December the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Johnson suffers from Hepatitis C, "an incurable, blood-borne liver disease" whose symptoms include somatopsychic ones:
The Lithonia Democrat's already-thin frame has shed 30 pounds in the past year. His speech is slower than ever, and he regularly gets lost in thought in the middle of a discussion. He is easily fatigued and often impatient and irritable. . . .
He was officially declared free of the virus in January, but it has ravaged his liver, resulted in thyroid problems and other health issues, including depression, for which he's also being treated. To keep the disease in remission, Johnson is going through an experimental treatment that he said has been the worst part so far.
"I am weaker than I ever have been," Johnson, 55, said in his Capitol Hill office.
… we wish Johnson well as a fellow human being.
Reader Kent Van Horn, meanwhile, writes us that Johnson's worries aren't as far-fetched as they sound:
We used to go island tipping when we were kids. We'd get a bunch of us together and all run to one end of the island, and just when it started to tip up, we'd race to the other end and create a huge wave as it slammed back down. Then we'd laugh and laugh and laugh–such crazy kids. Our parents would wake up when their bed slid across the room and get so angry.
One time we loaded up our pockets with rocks to make an even bigger splash, and the added weight and speed of cars made it even more exciting. But we were responsible and never actually tipped any islands over. Sure, some of the older kids and even some parents talked about being able to roll the island a full 360 without anything falling off, but I'm still pretty skeptical about that.
To this day you see warning signs on the cliffs in Guam warning you not to get too close to the edge. Some people think it's to prevent you from falling, but the real reason is too many people near the edge is a recipe for island-tipping disaster–an archipelageddon!
Because this email was sent on April 1, however, we're not sure it should be taken entirely seriously.