One day my mom bought a statue of George Washington from the home and garden store. She thought it would be a nice addition to our house. The only problem was, the house was a mess, so we had to keep the statue in my room. And it’s not that I hold anything short of reverence for the father of our nation, but there was something unsettling about those stony eyes staring at me … all night long. In my most vulnerable moment, I may or may not have taken a hammer to it.
What was my surprise when the stone crumbled away, revealing the secret within. The reason it looked so life-like was because it was sculpted around the real George Washington, who was staring right back at me!
I asked, “How are you still alive?”
“My constituents wanted to preserve me for a future time when I would be needed again,” he said, “so they dipped me in carbonite.”
“Oh,” I said, “I think that happened to Han Solo too.”
“Tell me, what national crisis calls for my generalship? Have the British returned?”
“Are we at war with France?”
“Surely there must be a dire reason to awake me from centuries of slumber.”
“Sorry, it was an accident. Would you like a Twinkie?”
“What’s it made out of?”
I didn’t know, so I read the ingredients on the box. “Enriched wheat flour, sugar, corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, sodium acid pyrophosphate …”
George barred his wooden teeth. “Americans eat this garbage?”
“All the time.”
“What have we become, a nation of fatties?”
I didn’t know how to answer that, so we did some research and learned that two-thirds of Americans are overweight and one-third are obese. Diet-induced maladies, including heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and osteoporosis are at all-time highs.
“I see why I’ve returned,” said George. “I must lead the war against bad eating habits. Are you with me?”
The war was really fun. First we went to the music store and bought a portable snare drum and bell. Then we walked through the neighborhood. I played the drum while George rang the bell and shouted, “Eat your vegetables!” We handed out fliers listing the harmful ingredients in junk food, though not many people were interested.
As George became more determined, we picked up some carrots and cucumbers at the grocery store and stuffed them into mailboxes. Some people got mad, so we had to run from house to house. But the most exciting part was when George procured some explosives. (I never asked how he got them. I mean … he’s George Washington!) We waited until midnight, and then we put on some ski masks and blew up the Hostess factory.
That was when things got ugly. A police officer saw us running away from the scene (because neither of us knew how to drive a car), and we were put in jail. Still, George kept his head high. All night long, he told me stories about harder times at Valley Forge and crossing the Delaware. He said he was proud of me for serving my country, and I felt really good.
The next day, we met with a judge. He didn’t know what to do, because I was a minor, and George was … George Washington! So he decided to let us off the hook if George renounced his terrorist allegiances by eating a Twinkie.
“Don’t do it, George!” I cried.
George fought an inner battle, but in the end, he took a bite of the Twinkie, saying, “A Twinkie is a sometimes food.”
After all that adventure, we decided that America wasn’t ready for the return of George Washington, so we went to a carbonite specialist, who preserved the father of our nation for another two-hundred years. But before the great man sank into the lonely, steamy pit, he looked up at me and said, “Labor to keep alive in your breast that little spark of celestial fire called conscience.”
“I will,” I promised.
Eventually my mom returned him to the home and garden store. It was hard to say goodbye. There are some who might call our war a failure, but as for this American, before I indulge in high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated soybean oil, I think of George and listen to my conscience … because I really don’t want to end up with wooden teeth.