Over Easy: A visit with Justice Thomas

For the Valley News
Published: 4/14/2023 9:40:28 PM
Modified: 4/14/2023 9:40:26 PM

Dear Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas:

You’ve been in the news lately for taking swanky vacations provided by a billionaire Republican. The secret getaways on superyachts and private jets admittedly make me a little jealous.

I’d have to win on Wheel of Fortune to even come close. And you never know what you are going to get: Cozumel! Maui! Rochester, N.Y.!

I’ll have to take the word of your pals when they say they don’t try to influence your legal thinking even as it mangles precedent. When you sit around the campfire singing about cancel culture and the scourge of affirmative action, and later tell scary stories in the dark about AOC, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, it’s all in good fun, I guess.

But never mind all that. Justice Thomas, have I got an offer for you. For an escape from controversy, come to the undiscovered Upper Valley! If money is tight, you can save by staying with us in our cozy West Lebanon bungalow.

I’ll be your personal tour guide as we explore the wonders of a modern-day Brigadoon, hidden from the stress of liberal cities, crazy protests and The Washington Post.

I can’t send a private jet, alas, but you’ll travel in style on a Greyhound bus, or our deluxe Dartmouth Coach, departing three times daily from New York City. Or take the Amtrak, which you should experience in case the Supreme Court hears a case about the constitutionality of government subsidies.

I fear that as an originalist you’d oppose them, since the Founding Fathers didn’t establish a national railroad, perhaps owing to locomotives not being invented yet. And yet they somehow approved of pistols-for-all and the everyman AR-15! The genius of America!

We’ll put you up in the kids’ rooms, which have been redecorated in the 20 years since they moved on and we somehow managed to let them go. We’ll sweep for any hard-plastic childhood leftovers. You don’t want to step barefoot on a little Hulk Hogan — he’s sharper than a progressive’s tongue.

Yes, Justice Thomas, there’s much to do here. You’ll see the Upper Valley that billionaires miss when we tour the day-old bread shop, the Listen second-hand stores and the Fast Food District, where the tangy aromas of grills and Fryolators mingle with car exhaust regulated by the EPA. (I suspect you are ready to toss those rules to the wind. Oh, that pesky administrative state.)

We’ll take excursions into the country, which is nonpartisan. You’ll ride in reasonable comfort, if not luxury: Our 2018 Subaru Forester is the base model, but it has American-made Weathertech floor mats, and the radio is in fine working order.

We’ll skip the 2007 Honda Fit, which has seen better days. The air conditioning is shot, and limping it through inspection every year is an ordeal. On that note, could the Supreme Court intervene? Isn’t inspection of a 2007 Honda Fit government overreach or something? I’m not really asking. Just thinking out loud.

Maybe your other friends think out loud like that.

As for cruising on the waters, I don’t currently have a superyacht, which would be awkward on Mascoma Lake anyway. We Mackies are from the kayak class. I don’t even own one of those yet — still saving up at age 70.

Of course we’ll have to keep your wife, Ginni, busy. There are many hobbies to explore in the Upper Valley, almost all of them not involving frenzied calls to the White House seeking to overturn an election. I think history will show that few knitters and quilters were among the insurrectionists. Just sayin’!

I understand that you once said in an interview that you are such a regular guy you’d be content to stay in an RV in a Walmart parking lot. I don’t know of any Walmart prettier than the one in my hometown. Take that for what it’s worth.

As for worth, Business Insider says the Walton family wealth is “roughly” $229 billion. Maybe you’ve vacationed with them. Did they share their store-brand pup tents? Did you have to report that?

I think we will avoid Dartmouth College, where woke college students might raise a ruckus, but not our local senior centers, where we can take in chair yoga, mahjong and American chop suey. Google tells me you’re 74, with a birthday in June. Maybe retirement is on your horizon. Millions of Americans would wish you godspeed!

Until then you should live your best life — apparently with the help of your friends. Just remember, you are known by the company you keep.

Or that keeps you.

Dan Mackie lives in West Lebanon. He can be reached at dan.mackie@yahoo.com.

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