'Bob Levey speaking."
"Hi, Bob, this is one of your loyal readers in Northern Virginia."
"Hi, loyal reader. What's on your loyal mind this loyal Wednesday?"
"Bob, I have a radical political idea I need to discuss with you."
"If you're going to tell me to move to Canada so I don't have to write a column for tomorrow . . . ."
"No, Bob. I'm going to tell you that we need a 51st state. And we need it right here."
"I've always said that statehood for the District is a lot better than the half-a-loaf home rule we've got now."
"I'm not talking about the District, Bob. I'm talking about Tysons Corner."
"Let me put down my coffee before I spill it from choking too hard. You want Tysons Corner to become the 51st state?"
Right! And I even thought up a name for it. Tysontucky."
"Loyal reader, you have put the cart so far before the horse that they're in separate solar systems. Tysontucky, huh? I thought Tysons Corner was doing just fine as part of Virginia. Why do they need a divorce?"
"Because of the way Richmond treats us, Bob. We're strangling from a lack of roads, right? But you mention this to somebody in Richmond, and they say, 'Yes, but we have to make sure that Backwater County gets its fair share of state highway funds.' Bob, there has never been a traffic jam in Backwater County in all of history. There has never been any traffic in Backwater County in all of history. Yet that's who Tysons Corner gets compared to. And Tysons traffic is beyond human endurance."
"Wait a minute, now. I've got it figured. You're a Chuck Robb guy who just wants to eliminate a Republican stronghold in the northern part of the state, right? Or maybe you're a Pat Robertson guy who doesn't think the Lord has noticed the shortage of parking spaces outside Bloomingdale's."
"Nope and nope. I'm just a computer engineer who wants to get to work in the morning without it taking until lunchtime. And I think my idea is in the great American tradition. After all, Bob, there were lots of people who told Alaska and Hawaii that they could get everything they wanted by remaining territories."
"All right, my friend. Let's talk a little good old-fashioned Washington hardball. You got the votes? Takes two-thirds of the state legislatures, you know."
"I haven't done the research, Bob. But I will bet you that the legislatures would be more receptive to Tysontucky than they ever were to Marion Barryland, or whatever they were going to call D.C. Hey, we might be a little dull out here, Bob. But at least we won't have to explain a politician's love life to anyone."
"What about the old argument that a 51st state would just be a way to hitch up the gravy train and start spooning?"
"We wouldn't need much gravy. We'd have very low unemployment. We already have Dulles Airport, so we wouldn't need economic incentives. We have nothing but clean industries, so there wouldn't be any problems with the EPA. We have lots of young families, so there wouldn't be a huge drain on Social Security. I'm telling you, Bob. Tysontucky could be the model of the modern industrial state. Silicon Valley without earthquakes."
"What's in it for you, as an individual? From what you say, the only difference in your life will be new license plates."
"The big difference I'm hoping for is season's tickets to see the Redskins."
"Don't you see, Bob? When the Tysontucky proposal starts doing the rounds on the Hill, everyone up there will ask what they always ask: What's in it for me? The answer could be season's tickets for everyone! Figure it like this: The Democratic leadership will need to smooth things over with Richmond. What's the best way to do that? By greasing the right palms with football tickets. The Republican leadership will need to smooth over the loss of a Republican district. How do they do it? More football tickets. So both parties get together and build a new 497,000-seat domed stadium for the new state of Tysontucky, out near Dulles Airport, with federal money. Jack Kent Cooke will love it, and I will, too."
"A 51st state founded on football! Now I've heard everything."
"No, you haven't, Bob. You haven't heard the Tysontucky state song. It'll be 'Take Me For a Ride in Your Car Car,' by Peter, Paul and Mary."
"Brilliant. Just brilliant."
"And you haven't heard the state motto. It'll be HOV."
"Yeah. It stands for Habeas-Corpused Old Virginians."
"Loyal reader, with diplomats like you, I don't see how Tysontucky can fail."