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    Monday
    Aug092010

    The Members

    "My life should be unique; it should be an alms, a battle, a conquest, a medicine." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

    I recently attended an event for a member of congress that featured a Special! Appearance! by the Majority Leader, Steny Hoyer. Sometimes members do this to get a good crowd. And it tickles me a bit that I live in a world where Dick Durbin is a total draw. So I'm milling about at the smallish event and chatting with the one other person I knew who used to be my boss when all of a sudden Steny! Hoyer! walks in. I turn to my colleague and say "Oh my God, what do I do? What do I say? What if he hates me?" You know because Steny Hoyer and I were going to have a 45 minute personal conversation where he would tell me his legislative priorities and I would give him my suggestions and then we'd high five to being progressive. Hoyer walks in and shakes hands and I mumble something about it being so nice to meet him and he smiles back and beelines for some freshly grilled lamb chops and I'm like OMFG the MAJORITY LEADER.

    Here is a nice point for a short digression where I tell you that I've been watching C-SPAN since the tender age of 11 and subsequently spent a large part of my life thinking that Members of Congress were total rockstars. And while we're at it; I can recite the names of the members of the Senate in alphabetical order by last name. Moving on.

    So Hoyer speaks for about 20 minutes about how wonderful the member of congress is and how hard he works and then launches into how damn good those lamb chops are and he looks directly at me and says, "Did you try one of these lamb chops?" I had not. "Ooooh whee You should. Have one!" And of course when the Majority Leader tells you to have a lamb chop, you get yourself a fucking lamb chop and announce that it's the best damn lamb chop you've ever had.

    Later a staffer needed me for something but I had a tank full of guts and a new pair of balls, so I was confident enough to hold up a hand to the staffer and say, "Wait, I just want to speak to the Majority Leader". So there I am in some stranger's dining room with said stranger and like six other people and I walk straight up to Leader Hoyer and say, "I just want to know that I am so happy to meet you" (again) and I pause and say, "...Also! I follow you on Twitter".

    You know those moments where it feels like everything freezes like in a movie or a television show when a character breaks the fourth wall and speaks to the audience and then things go on? It was kind of like that but with no freezing just what felt like a silence so large and epic that I prepared for a glacial shit. It was a moment of silence where you realize that announcing to the Majority Leader that you follow him on Twitter - while it seems almost normal to so many people - you all? That shit's not normal. Especially not in a room full of real adults who paid 5K to see the Majority Leader and there I am all bouncing around and "Hey! Twitter! Tweet! Tweet!" Anyway the Majority Leader then looks at me, smiles broadly and gives me a one arm, shoulder hug. "TWITTER!" He says. "Gosh, you're fun".

    And then I died because Steny Hoyer called ME fun. The end.

    ******

    I mentioned this to someone who knows me well that sometimes I get a little nervous around the Members of Congress. Not in a weird stalkerish, staring, cannot speak or say my name, kind of way. No no, that was years ago. I'm over that. I don't feel insecure and it isn't all of them but just a rare few where I'm like what if I say something ridiculous and they're like, "Oh my God, you're allowed to vote?" That's my fear. Or something like that. Even better when they know my name and I get this brief moment of I must be in trouble when your Member of Congress calls you by your first and last name. It's just...weird. Especially now when the masses find the behavior of most politicians to be abhorrent and here I am figuratively dying because Steny Hoyer said four words to me.

    ******

    In DC last week, part of my job was to hang out with Members of Congress. I managed to keep all dorkiness and nerves to myself. I also managed to have calm, cool, collected conversations about work related things and when it was all said and done I got cheers and handshakes and general kudos. This is one of those full circle moments for me where I realize that which made me a giant ass loser from 1994 - 2000 totally turned into a positive. Like yeah, I did rush home to watch C-SPAN and then I made myself a nice little career because of that obsession. Who's the dork now? That's a rhetorical question. It's still me.


    Senator Chuck Schumer

    Senator Kirsten Gillibrand

    Congressman Bill Owens
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