With apologies to Groucho Marx.

At a future Jan. 6 committee hearing:

Panel: "The panel calls Rufus T. Firefly, a former presidential advisor, to the stand. Mr. Firefly, do you promise to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you God?"

Firefly: "Absolutely. I find the secret of life is honesty and fair dealing, and if you can fake that, you've got it made.”

Panel: "Where were you on the Sixth?"

Firefly: "I'm never on the Sixth. My family always sits on the Fifty, that way we can see both sides of the game, offense and defense."

Panel: "No, that's not what I meant ..."

Firefly: "I find your meaning very offensive which makes me sound very defensive. Next question."

Panel: "No, where were you on Jan. 6?"

Firefly: "Oh, where was I on that Sixth? In that case, I take the Fifth."

Panel: "You were with the former president that day, correct?"

Firefly: "Knock, knock ..."

Panel: "Who's there?"

Firefly: "Orange."

Panel: "Orange who?"

Firefly: "Did you know some people call him the Orange Man."

Panel: "So you were with the former president?"

Firefly: "Yes. I was with the former president formerly known as the president."

Panel: "And ..."

Firefly: "Orange you glad I didn't say Orange Man again."

Panel: "What did he do?"

Firefly: "Not much. Except run for reelection then lose his reelection then refuse to admit he lost reelection by claiming the other guy lost the election then tried getting everyone from his highest officials to his mother's brother's cousin's aunt by marriage's grandson to claim the guy who won the election didn't have a right to be elected."

Panel: "Go on. Tell us what you know."

Firefly: “Well, art is art, isn't it? Still, on the other hand, water is water! And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, uh ... now you tell me what you know.”

Panel: "We know the former president roused a group of supporters to march on the Capitol to stop the certification of the election."

Firefly: "Well, if you know that already, you don't need any more from me. I'll be on my way. Who do I talk to about validating my parking?"

Panel: "What did the former president say?"

Firefly: "Oh, he says lots of things. You ever see him on TV?"

Panel: "What did he say to the crowd on the Sixth?"

Firefly: "Oh, we're back to the Sixth. Surely it's the Seventh by now."

Panel: "Mr. Firefly ..."

Firefly: "The next time I see you, remind me not to talk to you."

Panel: "The former president's remarks ..."

Firefly: "He said something like, Follow me to the Capitol ..."

Panel: "And ..."

Firefly: "They went to the Capitol and he went home to watch them on TV."

Panel: "As events developed and the former president watched them on TV, what advice did you offer?"

Firefly: "I told him he watches too much TV."

Panel: "No ..."

Firefly: “I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. ... Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read.”

Panel: "Did you offer any advice to the former president about what was happening at the Capitol?"

Firefly: "I tried but it's hard to get a word in edgewise with him. Or sidewise, or lengthwise, or ... As a matter of fact, let's forget wise all together."

Panel: "What was the former president saying?"

Firefly: "Oh, the usual stuff, like, last night I shot an elephant in my pajamas ..."

Panel: "How the elephant got into his pajamas he never knew?"

Firefly: "No, he knew how the elephant got into his pajamas. The Republicans got into bed with him a long time ago. ... No, actually, he said something more like, I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot an elephant in my pajamas and I wouldn't lose any voters."

Panel: "How did that make you feel?"

Firefly: "Awful. I really like elephants."

Panel: "Did you tell the former president he needed to stop what was happening at the Capitol?"

Firefly: "Yes. I told him it needed to stop immediately. He looked at me like he didn't understand. I said, Mr. President, a child of 5 could understand this, then to the other advisers I said, send someone to fetch a child of 5." 

Panel: "Any final words?"

Firefly: "I intend to live forever or die trying."

Panel: "No, do you have any closing thoughts?"

Firefly (lighting up a cigar, waggling his eyebrows and mustache): "No, like most Americans, my thoughts are already closed."

Rufus T. Firefly is the name of the Groucho Marx character in "Duck Soup." Several of the Firefly comments in this column are direct Groucho quotations or based on them. Dean Poling is an editor with The Valdosta Daily Times and editor of The Tifton Gazette.

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