Dear Dr. Boli. Hypothetically, if you were Secretary of State, how would you handle the crisis in the Middle East? —Sincerely, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Dear Madam: As a matter of longstanding policy, Dr. Boli ignores crises located more than twenty-five miles from his house. There are enough crises among the domestics, gardeners, chauffeurs, and so on to occupy him whenever he tires of the crises in his celebrated publishing empire. He might recommend that you adopt the same policy. Within the borders of the District of Columbia you may certainly find enough crises to entertain you for the duration of this administration, and through the next as well, should you be so unfortunate as to be called to serve again. The problems raised by diplomats’ spoiled children double-parking their Alfa-Romeos in rush hour are enough to give a Secretary of State sleepless nights, not to mention the fact that she lives surrounded by 646,449 people who are seething with resentment over “taxation without representation”—admittedly a foolish and thoroughly un-American gripe, but people can be unreasonable.

Now, to speak candidly and without pretense, Dr. Boli, in spite of his policy, has heard whispered gossip of presidential ambitions. If you were subtly auditioning him for a role in your future administration, he will tell you frankly that he would refuse the position of Secretary of State. But he does believe he could do a great deal of good as Secretary of Education. Perhaps you could boost your chances of election by promising to leave the minds of young America in the hands of the author of the Encyclopedia of Misinformation.