The unraveling of Deep Throat's identity, one of Washington's most enduring mysteries, inspired other anonymous sources and holders of secrets to come forward last week. As a public service to Hollywood agents, book publishers and families looking to make a killing, I have reviewed the contenders, eliminated the pretenders and produced the following loosely verified list:
* The anonymous source of prewar intelligence on mobile laboratories in Iraq was long thought to be an Iraqi chemical engineer. Nicknamed Curve Ball (after a porn film of the same name), the source ultimately turned out to be a crazy fabricator, although his name was never revealed. Thanks to Donald Rumsfeld's recent revelation, we now know the crazy fabricator was the defense secretary himself. "Golly," he said. "I thought everybody already knew. Even Colin Powell eventually figured it out."
* Perhaps the week's big shocker was the surprising answer to the longstanding question "Where's Waldo?" Apparently Waldo is none other than Waldo Ralph Emerson, a former night attendant at the parking garage that turns out to have been the now-famous rendezvous spot for Bob Woodward and Deep Throat. "I always wondered what those guys were talking about," said Emerson. "All this time I thought it was sex or drugs. If I'd only known, I could have retired way early."
* In a stunning turn of events, multiple secret sharer George W. Bush made a clean breast of things with a litany of revelations. The president conceded that his tax cuts do favor the wealthy, that private Social Security accounts help Wall Street more than Main Street, that the war in Iraq is a distraction from the war on terrorism ("It was Cheney's idea," he said) and that freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose. "You can't vote me out now," he said. "So you might as well know the truth."
* The mystery of what happened to the New York Yankees has finally been solved. The once-powerful franchise has fallen on hard times this season. It turns out that financially strapped owner George Steinbrenner pulled a secret double switch. He actually bought the Montreal Expos and sold the Yankees to Washington. Asked to comment, Nationals Manager Frank Robinson said: "I wondered why we were doing so well."
* Social scientists, relying on a new cache of previously secret documents, announced that they had made progress on a series of enigmatic, seemingly unrelated questions: "How many roads must a man walk down?", "How many seas must a white dove sail?" and "How many ears must one man have?" The documents, from the files of a Robert Zimmerman of Hibbing, Minn., and Greenwich Village, N.Y., reveal that the answer is "blowin' in the wind." Zimmerman's work did not specify, however, where all the flowers had gone.
* Watergate wonks had given up hope of solving the scandal's last remaining mystery: What was on the 181/2 minute gap on the White House tape of conversations between President Richard Nixon and top aide Bob Haldeman? A newly discovered letter from Nixon secretary Rose Mary Woods to columnist Robert Novak appears to provide the answer. "I don't know what all the fuss is about," Woods wrote. "They were just talking about how the CIA thinks it's smart to use the same cover name for different agents. Something like Valerie Plame. But please don't say anything until I'm gone or someone might get in trouble."
* The world's oldest musical secret was finally revealed when lyricist Barry Mann admitted that he was not the guy who put the bomp in the bomp bah bomp bah bomp. The aging songwriter felt compelled to let the world know that the late Richard Nixon was "that man." "That cat could rock," said Mann. "Although unfortunately he couldn't roll." Still no word yet on who put the ram in the rama lama ding dong.
David Martin, an Ottawa-based writer, would gladly be a source if he had any information to reveal. His collection of satiric pieces, "My Friend W" (Arriviste Press), was published last month.