Vice President Pence paid Sanibel a surprise visit recently and publicly expressed his admiration for the balance between commercial and environmental interests. He visited one of the Sanibel churches where he took part in a Sunday prayer service.
Following the prayer service, he made his way to confession to bare his soul to a Sanibel priest.
Pence: Forgive me father for I have sinned.
Priest: What is the nature of your sin, my son?
Pence: I have been authorized to build a wall between Sanibel and Captiva. Sand smuggling is at an all-time high and extreme measures are called for.
Priest: Is sand so valuable that the problem requires such an extreme solution?
Pence: The cabinet feels that a precedent must be established in Sanibel that sends a message to beach communities throughout the United States. If sand is smuggled between Sanibel and Captiva eroded beaches will be the result. We all know that eroded beaches lead to crime, bigotry, contraband and acid rock music. My election campaign was predicated on the premise that all men are created equal and are entitled to blackened fish. We cannot allow beaches to erode.
Priest: Then what sin are you confessing to, my son?
Pence: I hate walls, your holiness. Ever since I was accidentally plastered into a wall when I was a child I've avoided walls at all costs. While a wall between Sanibel and Captiva makes perfect sense, I confess rebelling against the wishes of my leader and the administration. I know in my heart that I would sabotage all efforts to build a proper wall here and would leave gaping holes in it creating a safe haven for sand smugglers. I would then be impeached and forced to return to my former life as a mole for Putin.
Priest: You are very brave to confess to this sin, my son. When you return to your rented palace this evening you must say ten Hail Marys and 200 Hail Hillarys. Do you have any other sins to confess to?
Pence: Yes. There's the matter of an oil pipeline between Sanibel and Fort Myers. I support this policy.
Priest: Sounds like a reasonable plan, my son. But since you're here in the confession box with twenty secret service agents at your side what is the sin part of it?
Pence: I also hate pipes, your holiness. Walls and pipes caused me great personal anguish when I was a boy. I once crawled into an open pipe and went so far that I didn't have the strength to find my way back. I had to be rescued by the local police department, the school principal, the movie theater usher and the candy store owner. I was so embarrassed and ashamed that I couldn't go near a pipe for years. I avoided any issues that had to do with pipes when I became an elected official. So now I'm being asked to supervise the installation of a massive pipe.
Priest: And what is the sin you're confessing to, my son?
Pence: That I would sabotage the pipe along with the wall.
Priest: There's only one solution, my son. You must support the Democratic Party's proposed "Wall and Pipe bill." This bill would ban the enactment of any future legislation that would create walls and pipes anywhere in the U.S.
Pence: But if I support this bill I would be banished from my party forever. How could I function as vice president if I'm excommunicated from my party?
Priest: My son, are you here today to confess to sins or to solve the problems of the country?
Pence: Well, father, if you put it that way, I must stand up to my principles. A world without walls or pipes would make for a more civilized world. Thank you, father. You have both enlightened and absolved me. I welcome my stay in Sanibel and will return to Washington, D.C. a changed and humbled servant. I will begin my preordained journey into a world without walls and pipes. Thank you, Sanibel. I am a changed man.
-Art Stevens is a long-time columnist for The Islander. His tongue-in-cheek humor is always offered with a smile.