Blazing stars seared holes in the black fabric of a Biblical night sky. Good friends had gathered seaside at the end of a long day to relax and rejuvenate. A traditional trestle groaned under the weight of exotic edibles and wineskins passed from hand to hand in an endless parade.
Some from the tribe of merrymakers indulged their passions and palates holding long and hard to each new wineskin in the procession. And some of those deigned to celebrate the occasion with a romp in the sea. Some waded in fully clothed. Some had wading togs while others desported in their undergarments, fashionable or mundane.
One of the celebrants eschewed customary public bathing raiment and launched au naturel. All of the requisite elements were in place. A warm breeze from the desert. Hearty companions. Plenty of good spirits and lots of alcohol. An ideal combination for a red blooded American male to go skinny dipping.
In usage that just became current this week, Congressman Kevin Yoder, Republican from Kansas performed a “legitimate” skinny dip in the sacred (for some) waters of the Sea of Galilee. (No matter that he did it a year ago and we never heard about it till now. That is neither here nor there.)
Had he been sober and/or alone or just with his wife, say, it wouldn’t have been a legitimate skinny dip. No one else would ever have known about it, or been concerned about it or outraged over it. To be legitimate, a skinny dip has to be witnessed by a number of onlookers. Some of the onlookers may also participate which makes it an even more legitimate skinny dip. It’s what some folks do when they’re fueled by good times, congenial accomplices and plenty of liquor.
Now there are those who are calling for Mr. Yoder to resign his congressional seat and jump quietly, clad or unclad, into the dust bin of history. And to that, I have to cry, “No harm, no foul.” If there had been harm, there would surely be a foul. But, after a year with no complaints, no accusations, no charges or claims for damages, one must conclude that Mr. Yoder’s skinny dip was nothing more than that. No one had to look if they felt they might be offended.
No taxpayer’s money was involved from what we hear, which wouldn’t necessarily make a huge difference anyway given what little we know about the event at this time. He was on his own time, a guest of an Israeli PAC of some kind, the workday was over as far as can be determined.
As of Wednesday, it’s reported that the FBI investigated to see if any expense account shenanigans had occurred from the junket. Evidently not. Yoder has apologized to all and sundry for exhibiting poor judgement and is ashamed of his behavior.
Describing the event, Yoder said, “After dinner I followed some Members of Congress in a spontaneous and very brief dive into the sea and regrettably I jumped into the water without a swimsuit.”
Detective Colombo or a clever trial attorney could work that statement till the Second Coming, as it were.
“Now, I’m confused. Mr. Yoder, you say you made a ‘very brief dive into the sea.’ Yet a moment later, you say ‘regrettably,’ you ‘jumped into the water without a swimsuit.’ Well, sir, which was it? Did you regret diving into the sea without a swimsuit or did you only regret jumping into the water without a swimsuit?”
Fortunately for Yoder, however, the Todd Akin “legitimate rape” scandal has eclipsed anything as silly as a late-night skinny dip in the Sea of Galilee a year or more ago. And we will probably be spared the trauma of seeing Yoder, wife standing loyally by her man, tearfully announce that he has entered a well-known Beverly Hills Skinny Dipper Rehab program. And he will absolutely come out a better congressman, a better husband and father and maybe even start a foundation to help other skinny dippers reclaim their lives.
What a great story.
Chris Daley is a staff writer and columnist for the Mountain Democrat. His column appears each Friday.