Sen. Mitt Romney forgot his table manners Tuesday. In preparation for the day’s impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, he brought a forbidden beverage into the Senate chamber.
The rules are no beverages in the Senate other than water or milk — in a glass made of glass. I suppose there’s a reason for the restrictions.
Given the monotony of the proceedings, it’s understandable that some sort of pick-me-up might be needed. The logical choice for government work would be coffee, tea, vodka or a cannabis-infused cola.
But being a Latter-day Saint, Romney brought in milk. Chocolate milk, to be exact. Still in its BYU Creamery container.
Shocking, I know, but you have to remember that Romney (and I) hail from a culture where a little surreptitious snacking during “official” meetings is not only condoned but sometimes even necessary.
Latter-day Saints conduct our most important Sunday worship meeting together with our children. Depending on the collective age of the ward, a sacrament meeting can sound like pigs being electrocuted in a grain silo.
Note: I am not complaining. While the crying or screaming in the pews can be annoying, there are moments when it’s infinitely preferable to what’s coming from the podium.
The preferred Mormon method of keeping kids quiet in church is dry cereal. A little plastic bag of Cheerios (Froot Loops, for the less orthodox) has long been the go-to item for restless tots.
Cheerios were the staple because (I’m guessing) they were easier to clean up, fit handily into small hands, and the lower sugar content didn’t make the youngsters even louder.
In the ’50s — when church lasted much of the day — my mom used bread. She also sometimes slipped us a piece of Dentyne.
This was risky. The Old Man hated gum and would have happily killed us had he ever found it stuck to the underside of a pew. Short of being naked in church, it was impossible to be more sacrilegious.
Today, church snacks can be just about anything, provided that they’re not distracting to nearby congregants, and by this I mean anything that requires extensive preparation, including a can opener, electric mixer, microwave, open flame, etc.
All the kids in the Herriman Rose Summit Ward know that Brother Kirby has candy. They mob the library between meetings to score some good ol’ church crack.
Occasionally, toddlers will wander over in the middle of sacrament meeting and stare at me until they achieve a Vulcan mind meld — “Give me candy.” They take it and scramble back to where their families are looking around for them.
Lately, I’ve been entertaining myself by not only giving them candy but also stuff like cans of cat food, Tums, clothespins, mascara and anything else I spy on the clearance shelf at the grocery store.
It can backfire. A couple of weeks ago, some upset child was wailing in the foyer, where a parent had dragged him. Every few seconds, the cries were silenced as the frustrated parent clamped a hand over the mouth.
Didn’t work. I knew it wouldn’t. The kid finally became fully demonic. “I want Brothuh Kirby!”
What can I say? We serve where we’re called.
Robert Kirby is The Salt Lake Tribune’s humor columnist. Follow Kirby on Facebook.