Finally hearing our cries for relief, President George W. Bush has declared Temple University a federal disaster area, after one construction project after another has wreaked havoc across the main campus, leaving a trail of closed-off areas in their wakes.
Fortunately for you, my gentle readers, I have a connection that got me permission to accompany the president on a tour of the devastated area. Let’s just call that connection “my dad who has raised more money for Republicans than Kobe Bryant spent on his legal-defense team.”
As we walked amid the pockets of chaos, looking at newly-sprouted cyclone fencing and various burly construction workers, the president said he “hadn’t seen this big a disaster since they let my daughters speak at the convention last month.”
Who among us couldn’t agree with that? In the three years I have been here, not a week has gone by without a new fenced-off area, randomly blocked street or lunch-truck implosion.
Of course, it should be noted that a French architecture critic recently said the school was “one of the most beautiful examples of urban magnificence ever to grace so fine a city.” Of course, it should also be noted that the critic was unemployed, drinking heavily at the time and, well, French.
After the tour ended, Bush said he was thinking about bringing Afghan President Hamid Karzai to visit the campus to “you know, cheer him up a bit. I mean, we bombed them up pretty good and all, but Kabul ain’t got nothing on y’all.”
Bush told me that $500 million in federal disaster aid will be given to the school, along with 100 free iTunes downloads to every student. Bush insisted the music gift was not a campaign stunt designed to win the hearts of what he termed “misguided Northern liberal brats… I mean the brightest hope for our future.”
At a campaign stop in Ohio, a swing state the presidential candidates have visited roughly 5,678 times in the past two weeks, Democratic challenger John Kerry said he was “fully in favor of helping rebuild Temple University.”
Ten minutes later, he accused Bush of misleading Americans on the issue and said he would not vote for any aid.
I talked to many Temple students, most of whom expressed relief that help was coming.
One therapeutic recreation major, Albert Brown, said he woke up last week in White Hall “and there were some dudes putting a fence up around my bed. They told me they needed to rebuild the walls in my room. Then they left me there for like two days, came back, painted everything orange, and left.”
In addition to promising the aid, the president said he would send Vice President Dick Cheney out to “look mean and stuff” to keep the rebuilding on track.
Now, if only they could do something about the drunk, unemployed Frenchman on campus.
Brian White can be reached at email@example.com.