Cockburn understands there's no accounting for choice of swimming hole, but he also knows there are limits. For Kiwi singer-songwriter Lorde, her announcement during a performance in Washington, DC that she had spent the day soaking in the Potomac River was met with a murmurs of disgust and horror from concertgoers in fear for her health.

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The Potomac is a fitting body of water for the capital city, slick with grime and corruption, rivaling the best that Congress has to offer. So toxic is the alleged river that it regularly spews up the decomposing bodies of...

Cockburn understands there’s no accounting for choice of swimming hole, but he also knows there are limits. For Kiwi singer-songwriter Lorde, her announcement during a performance in Washington, DC that she had spent the day soaking in the Potomac River was met with a murmurs of disgust and horror from concertgoers in fear for her health.

The Potomac is a fitting body of water for the capital city, slick with grime and corruption, rivaling the best that Congress has to offer. So toxic is the alleged river that it regularly spews up the decomposing bodies of residents someone else in the city found inconvenient and discarded with all the ceremony of Commanders tickets.

The Potomac has been cursed at least since 1854, when Pope Pius IX donated a block of marble from Rome’s Temple of Concord to aid in the construction of the Washington Monument’s obelisk. As recounted in Christopher Buckley’s 2003 walking tour of the city, “Washington Schlepped Here,” “A posse of masked men belonging to the Know Nothing Party attacked the guard and made off with the fiendish ‘Pope Stone,’ smashing it and dumping it into the Potomac, where it still lies amidst the silt, waiting until the Antichrist shall rise.”

Upon being informed by fans who feared for her safety, Cockburn can only hope Lorde headed straight for medical evaluation.

Thankfully, unlike Covid, radioactivity and flesh-eating disease are not known to be transmissible at distances of six feet. So Lorde is still eligible to visit those parts of the district even better known for scum and corruption — the DC public schools.