“Bring me my tan suit,” he told his body man.
“The tan suit, Mr. President?”
“Something wrong with it, body man? Is it moth eaten? Does it have unsightly ketchup stains? Are the lapels too wide?”
“No, sir. It’s just that you’ve never worn tan before. You always do news conferences in a dark suit or a gray suit.”
“Well, it’s a warm August day, which is perfect for a tan suit. I remember reading that in GQ when I was organizing communities.”
“Yes, Mr. President.”
When the President appeared before the reporters and cameramen, they let out a gasp. For they had never seen him in such exotic raiment.
“Is that ecru?” said the correspondent of the Washington Post.
“Or could it be burnt ochre?” said the correspondent of the Istanbul Daily Taffy Pull.
“Tan,” said the reporter from FuzzBead. “It’s definitely tan. Unless it’s beige. Or café au lait.”
At home, the citizens watching on television could not hear the President’s words, which were about the strife in the Middle East. All they could take in was his tan suit. They reached for their phones and tablets, and they began tweeting.
“The President is all in tan!” they tweeted. “OMG, it’s true. The jacket is tan and so are the pants.”
#TANSUIT became a hashtag, and it trended.
Even before the news conference ended, a man of Congress went before the cameras to denounce the President’s suit.
“That suit is not presidential,” he thundered. “Washington never wore a tan suit. Lincoln abjured all hues but black. The fair-skinned Jefferson wouldn’t even venture outside for fear he might get a tan.”
Unaware of the effect his suit was having, the President went on talking about the Middle East. When it came time for questions, they were all about his apparel.
“What is the Constitutional backing for that suit?”
“Do you think your suit will hurt your party’s chances in the midterm elections?”
“Are you sure that tie really goes with the suit?”
Disappointed by the direction the questions were taking, the President said he had time for just one more.
“Would you describe your suit as buff or taupe?”
The President rushed out of the auditorium and back to his private quarters. There, he stripped off the tan suit and threw it on the floor.
“Destroy this tan suit,” he told his body man. “Obviously, some wicked sorcerer has put a curse upon it. As long as I am wearing it, the people cannot concentrate on matters of consequence.”
“Yes, Mr. President,” said the body man.
But three days later, the President’s pollster came to him with surprising news.
“The country has turned around on the suit,” he said. “Seventy-three percent of those polled approve of the way the suit did its job. They think you should wear it again. Though perhaps after having a few minor alterations done by Marvin the tailor, for in truth, the jacket doesn’t really drape well across your neck and shoulders.”
“What are the social media saying?” the President asked his social- media adviser. The adviser, a very bright sixteen-year-old boy, shot him a thumbs up. “The suit has forty-million friends on Facebook and twenty-nine million Twitter followers,” he exulted.
“Darn,” said the President. “Now I’m sorry we burned it.”
“But we didn’t,” said the President’s body man. “I had a hunch, so I hid it way in the back of your closet.” He went to the closet and pulled out the suit with a flourish. “Ta-dah,” he said. It was still as tan as ever.
And so at his next news conference, the President again wore what he now called his lucky ensemble, and it was said by all the media analysts that he rocked the suit.
But still no one paid any attention to his words, because just before the news conference, a major film star had died in a freak elevator accident, and that was all anyone could tweet about for the entire day.
What the President was saying this time was that hostile aliens from outer space were about to attack the country and the citizens should flee for their lives.
The citizens all died.