Someone volunteering to drain the swamp. (Tracie Van Auken/European Pressphoto Agency)

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about draining the swamp in Washington, and I’d like to provide some insight into this very important and relevant topic.

It’s very difficult to literally drain a swamp and nearly impossible to drain a figurative one. I should know. If there were such a thing, I could be in charge of coordinating swamp-draining activities for literal swamps and figurative swamps.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t unequivocally state upfront that the District was never built on a literal swamp. It wasn’t built on a figurative swamp, either. This is a myth that has been passed down from generation to generation and deserves clarification. Also, the draining of literal and figurative swamps is an outdated activity.

That said, here are factors to consider when undertaking swamp-draining activities.

Factor No. 1 — Infectious Diseases

Literal Considerations: Literal swamps must not be drained during the rainy and/or warm seasons. Acquiring infectious diseases from mosquitoes and getting a tick-borne illness are real concerns. Stagnant water and humidity in a literal swamp can lead to a host of health issues. No one really wants to get malaria, yellow fever or cryptosporidium. If you have to drain a swamp, it’s best to wait until winter.

Figurative Considerations: Not applicable. Infectious diseases are not present in imaginary swamps.

Factor No. 2 — Displacement of Residents

Literal Considerations: Displacement of individuals residing in or near literal swamps must be considered. I would personally never choose to live in a swamp, but there are those who do. Swamp people don’t like having their land taken. My advice is to find them a new swamp that doesn’t need to be drained and ask them to move there.

Figurative Considerations: Not applicable. No one lives in imaginary swamps.

Factor No. 3 — Swamp Goo

Literal Considerations: A practical matter to consider when attempting to drain a literal swamp is where to put the gooey stuff. Non-swamp towns don’t like taking in swamp-related goo. The best suggestion is to see if Canada is willing to trade something for our goo. Maybe we could offer to take Drake off of their hands in return for swamp materials. It would be an even trade.

Figurative Considerations: Not applicable. There’s no goo in imaginary swamps.

Factor No. 4 — Swamp Thing

Literal Considerations: Not applicable. Swamp Thing is make-believe.

Figurative Considerations: Totally Applicable. Caution must be maintained always if evidence of the creature’s existence is recognized in said swamp to be drained. Evidence includes horror-movie music, monster dung and weird bubbles emanating from the middle of the swamp.

This is not a comprehensive guide, but it’s a good starting point when endeavoring to drain swamps.

As stated above, literal swamp-draining, while challenging, is a completely doable activity.

Figurative swamp-draining, on the other hand, is a very arduous task. It’s hard enough to even locate the figurative swamp to be drained. In my years of experience on the job, most figurative swamps aren’t figurative swamps at all. In many cases, they are just a silly slogan.