Matthew Walther’s Inauguration Diary

Feature: How I got Norovirus and found myself hallucinating about Wallace from ‘The Wire’; Plus: My own Baltimore plans, getting up early, and His Majesty the King of Silk

Inauguration Trump House Democrats
The U.S. Capitol looms over a stage during a rehearsal of the President-elect Donald Trump's swearing-in ceremony / AP
January 17, 2017

This is the first in a series of inauguration week dispatches. My coverage of Cleveland, Philadelphia, and the debates last year speak for themselves, and I hope to continue that winning streak during what will probably be the second worst week of my adult life.

I say "second worst" because the worst was last week, when I got Norovirus from spinach purchased at Safeway, which serves me right, I guess, for trying to be healthy. Most of the days thereafter were a blur, but I remember that Monday was fairly normal: I came in to the office just in time for my staff meeting, drank a few Budweisers from a glass at China Garden, and read Roald Dahl. By Tuesday night—or was it Wednesday?—I was nauseous, delirious, and not very happy. Around three in the morning I found myself awake with a fever of 102.5 asking my wife whether Wallace—the poor kid shot by Bodie and Poot after returning from his grandmother’s house in season one of The Wire—had been elevated to the diaconate. I don’t recall exactly what she mumbled in response—her own fever had just broken—but I think she was of the opinion that our hero’s reception of what used to be called minor orders was a fairly remote contingency.

Speaking of The Wire, at the start of Advent I came up with a list of goals for the coming year, which included, among other things, "Wake up earlier," "Write more/better," "Waste less $$$," and "Move to Baltimore." For years I have agreed with Bobby Bare’s wife that it is one of America’s most beautiful cities, second only, I have come to realize, to St. Louis. It is also much cheaper than Alexandria or D.C.

First, though, for professional reasons, it is important that I make progress on two of the other items, which is why I was so relieved to be over my illness by Sunday. I really want to jump into this inauguration thing. The best way to start out the week I thought was to meet with some like-minded but mostly unknown souls on the best way to go about plotting the papist-integralist resistance to the Trump administration. Would you believe me if I told you that there is a political party in America that is against abortion, gay marriage, and obscenity, and in favor of single-payer health care, pro-union and anti-NAFTA? The only thing wrong with the platform of the American Solidarity Party is that it is anti-death penalty, which is absurd rubbish contrary to the constant teaching of the Church on the competence of the temporal power to administer just punishments to the wicked. It is also anti-draft. Otherwise, it sounds very jolly. Their presidential candidate, about whom I only learned after it was too late for me to register to vote in Virginia, is "the King of Silk," a magician from my beloved home state of Michigan who is best known by his other nom de guerre, Magic Mike. To be absolutely clear: We are talking about stage magic here, a harmless amusement not grossly contrary to the natural law, rather than sorcery. Magic Mike, thank heaven, is no warlock.

Anyway, the area chapter of the ASP was meeting at a bar in Columbia Heights yesterday at 4:30—or so I thought when I made the two-and-a-half mile trek up there from McPherson Square only to receive a message when I was two blocks away informing me that I had gotten the date wrong, no doubt on account of my fevered state over the weekend, and that the meet and greet had occurred on Sunday afternoon.

My cab ride back to the office was a very sad one. Still, I am not despairing. There is so much to cover this week: at least one inaugural ball, a gay dance party outside Mike Pence’s house, the lunatics who plan to hand out dope in plain sight before the inaugural parade, my old friend Julian Raven, the former abstract expressionist painter and proud immigrant who predicted Trump’s victory to me back in January, and, of course, the Million Woman March. Stay #woke, brothers and sisters. Ad maiorem Matris Gloriam.