For a few brief days, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry will be . . . Gov. Barry, thank you.

A grinning Barry, his chest poked outward, announced at a press conference yesterday that for the forthcoming presidential inaugural events, he will be accorded the status of a governor, not just a mayor.

"There are some protocol elements here, and I'm learning that if you're going to be a governor you've got to follow those protocol arrangements," Barry said.

Barry's new status will accord him a prominent place at the Governors' Ball on Sunday, seats in the White House inaugural parade reviewing stand with real governors on Tuesday, and the ultimate perquisite of a governing leader, a military escort.

"His rank is colonel," Barry explained, laughing. "He'll be with me all day and at the evening activities. You know what aides do. They open doors for you, keep the tickets for you, things like that."

Barry was asked how long he gets to keep his colonel. "I assume we'll dismiss him at the end of the Inaugural Ball on Tuesday," the mayor joked.

And will the mayor be sporting full formal attire? "Reluctantly, yes," he said. "I told my wife I just don't want to do it, but she said you've got to be proper. So I'll be wearing a morning suit."