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actions & protests | government selection 2004

The Democratic Convention--Let's Call the Whole Thing Off

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Conventional wisdom: Let's rethink (cough, cough) this DNC thing
By Beth Teitell
Tuesday, June 15, 2004

You say ``eether'' and I say ``eyether.'' You say ``neether'' and I say ``nyther.'' You say the Democratic National Convention will be a $154 million boon, I say a $50 million bust. Eether, eyether, neether, nyther, boon, bust - Let's call the whole thing off!

But how? As every runaway bride knows, canceling an event, particularly when People Have Made Reservations, is so awkward.

And yet, as Patron Saint of Snap Decisions Britney Spears knows, better to endure momentary embarrassment than a lifetime of misery - or in our case, days of road rage, four-hour check-ins at Logan and cheek-to-armpit crowding on the T.

Last week, as U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro ordered federal marshals to patrol the FleetCenter amid police union contract protests, it seemed like a good idea to get some extricating advice from one of the city's premiere wedding planners.

``The band-aid approach is best,'' Phyllis Block, director of weddings at the Seaport Hotel, said. ``Just rip it off now and get it over with.''

Or, in wedding-ese: Mayor Thomas Menino and Boston 2004 announce the DNC has been called off by mutual consent.

As any etiquette expert will tell you, there's no need for details - i.e., no need to say that Boston feels as if it went on a bender and woke up the next morning with an embarrassing ``Boston Luvs the DNC'' tattooed across our tush. The guests need not learn that we've met our convention/fiance's family, and just can't bear the thought of eating with them.

Best to leave it vague. Or, better yet, we could pretend we're sick - all of us.

And we've got just enough time to lay the groundwork. With about six weeks to go, we're in the so-called ``scratchy throat'' period. Let's send out a few ``heads-up'' e-mails letting delegates know we might not be able to make it - ``We're hoping to feel better but just wanted to let you know'' followed in a few weeks by personal calls:

``We're dying to see you, but we don't want you to catch what we have. Another time?''

Or maybe the Lemon Law could be applied. Although the DNC isn't, technically, a vehicle, I do think it fits the intent of the law: ``The Massachusetts Lemon Law protects consumers (in this case residents) who have serious defects in their new cars (or conventions). The law defines a lemon as a new or leased motor vehicle (or convention) that has a defect (ahem) which substantially impairs the use (ahem, ahem), market value (ahem, ahem, ahem) or safety of the vehicle (or convention) . . .''

If appeals to the law fail, we could use the Dr. Frankenstein maneuver. Gene Wilder fans will recall him in ``Young Frankenstein'' begging Igor and Inga to let him out of the room with the monster, even though he'd told them not to. ``What's the matter with you people?'' he yelled, banging furiously on the door. ``Don't you know a joke when you hear one?''

And if that doesn't work? Let's all pretend we're in a reality TV show - and then we won't mind the inconveniences one bit.