Pop a Molly
It’s a common question, leveled at anyone who slips slyly out of the singular and into the first-person plural. Sometimes, the speaker seizes at “we” to shirk responsibility—the same way a switch from the active to the passive can shift the blame with it, à la Richard Nixon’s “mistakes were made.” Other times, “we” confers more responsibility than it deflects.
D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser’s call on Friday for a capital city-wide referendum to make the District the 51st state in the union adds a new chapter to an old story. The arguments for D.C. statehood are tried (or tired) and true—yet in the past few decades, little has changed.
I pinched my nose and puffed up my cheeks. I moved my jaw from side to side. I went to the gym. I took a shower. Nothing worked, and the ear kept ringing.
It’s not just the tea there (much better), or the number of streets and landmarks referenced in T.S. Eliot poems (much higher). It’s not the way things don’t go wrong in the United Kingdom but instead “go pear-shaped”—and, when they go just right, “Bob’s your uncle!” It’s not even the hats.
It didn’t come as a shock. Though I’ve had sad times, I’ve never really been a sad person. I’ve even analyzed my own happiness and announced it—to my friends, to my family, and to myself. But there was something cleaner to this realization. I didn’t need to announce it, and more important than that, I didn’t need to explain it. I just felt it.