WASHINGTON, D.C.—In an impressive act of imagination, President Clinton used the power of make-believe Sunday to turn an ordinary bar of soap into a fun, speedy tugboat. The soap-to-tugboat transformation, which occurred Sunday at 8:30 p.m. EST, or “bathtime,” is believed to be the first such metamorphosis by the President since October 11, 1995, when Clinton turned a shampoo bottle into a big whale.
“My fellow Americans,” said Clinton, holding up a half-used bar of Ivory soap at a press conference yesterday afternoon, “this may indeed look like a simple bar of facial soap. But last night, as I bathed in the White House bathtub, I successfully transformed it into a large tugboat and hauled its heavy cargo down the great Mississippi River.”
According to Clinton, the tugboat met many dangers en route to its destination. In addition to getting lost, and stopping at several incorrect ports, the boat encountered a serious storm and was violently tossed about by what the President described as “heavy splashing.”
Clinton credited the cool head of the tugboat’s captain with keeping the vessel afloat in the storm.
“Without Captain Jim, that boat would have been lost,” Clinton said. “The crew expressed a desire to abandon ship, including the Captain’s ordinarily reliable first mate, Sailin’ Pete. But even during the worst moments of the storm, when all the crew members were shouting, ‘Oh, no! Look out!’ and ‘Let’s get out of here!’ Captain Jim steadfastly maintained, ‘We’ve got to go on.’ He is to be commended and admired for his great courage.”
When asked what Captain Jim looks like, Clinton responded, “I believe he has red hair and a big hat. In addition, he has a big, bushy beard and speaks in a gruff, seafaring voice.”
Shortly before 9 p.m., after nearly 30 minutes in the tub, Clinton transformed the tugboat back into a bar of soap, putting it back along the tub’s ledge and toweling himself off.
“It simply was time to get out of the tub,” Clinton said. “At that juncture, I had completed all my washing goals, and was satisfied with the amount of playtime I had had. With no bathing or bathing-related objectives remaining, I made the decision that the best thing to do would be to drain the tub and begin the drying process.”
Leading U.S. policy experts are not surprised Clinton chose to turn the soap into a tugboat.
“A tugboat is a natural choice for this type of pretend play,” said Brent Scowcroft, former National Security Advisor under President Reagan. “A boat is shaped somewhat like a piece of soap. And, like soap, a boat possesses the ability to float. And, finally, in a bathtub-type environment, there is naturally going to be water. So, to maximize both realism and imaginary possibilities, it’s best to turn the soap into something that would be in water.”
While White House officials would neither confirm nor deny them, rumors have circulated that Clinton initially turned the soap into a submarine but quickly decided that was “impractical” and “ill-advised,” as the submarine would not stay submerged.
“All we can say at this point is that when the President entered the bathtub, he considered several different play scenarios,” White House secretary Helen Reynolds said. “Whether at any time he pretended the soap was a top-secret Russian spy sub patrolling the North Atlantic, we can not say.”
Added Clinton: “Regardless of what I did or did not do in that tub, I am confident that my experience has proven one thing—that bathtime can be extremely fun and that the power of the imagination is indeed great.”