Dear Mrs. Vera,
I was hoping to take my family grocery shopping during the first quarter of 2013, but my husband wants to wait to see what Congress does first. He thinks if we wait until after June, it can be a sort-of early Christmas gift and teaching lesson for any of our remaining children, who are all convinced that Santa will surely step in and save them at some point, hopefully by running for the next available Senate seat in Alaska. Do you think I’m right that delaying the fight over the budget impasse for 3 months will either solve everything, yield some benefits or, at least, learn someone in this house to put down the toilet seat?
Penelope Pinchont (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Dear Penny Pincher,
You should not be basing your shopping options upon the activities of Congress, unless you are in an adult-only emporium of some sort.
But bear in mind that even there, the behavior of many members of the House of Representatives and the Senate would still require that they show proper ID as proof of age. Simply attempting to “stimulate” their “economy” by making a purchase shows their commitment to financial restraint — even if the cashier doesn’t know who their father is — or however loudly they brag to each other about how they would not pay for any transactions they have approved for themselves until such a time that said cashier forks over an equal (or greater!) amount of out-of-pocket money to them first, as a thank you for not raising their taxes commensurate to the tax breaks they insisted upon for the very wealthy.
Since you and your family don’t sound very wealthy based on your question, you can feel safe in knowing that nothing Congress does either way will have any effect on your situation. For at least three and up to possibly a thousand months from now, unless, of course, the re-animated, fused corpses of Norman Rockwell and Ronald Reagan, wearing the skin of Aslan the Lion, manages to destroy what they refer to as “The Dread Pelosi” on a field of battle encompassing half of the Eastern Seaboard. Try to think of our dysfunctional, overcompensated Congress as an expensive and very lousy, very boring cable channel, where terribly bad actors go to die or become lobbyists. Only you, in this scenario, are forced to subscribe to it if you hope to get that channel you actually want in order to be saddened by the awful, weird grub they show from pricey hipster food carts that you could never afford to serve to your listless, disheartened family.
The great thing about a definite 3-month delay in responsible legislative practices is the certainty it provides to our nervous, jittery marketplace and its frail, long-neglected corporate sector, typified by the average weary, bonus-burdened, worker-hating opportunity makers struggling valiantly to eke out an existence in 7 homes spread out over 11 time zones, over the whining beseechments of a crabby populace. Our Corporate Leaders and Wall Street Banklords agree that they hear America speak, and that it sounds to them like we are trying to get on American Idol with a crummy impersonation of the hum of blinky overhead fluorescent lights, or that mosquito that comes through the ormolu keyhole on the French Windows from the Petit Palais all those government officials had to be paid off for just to get something the Mrs. wanted, not that you’d ever know it now.
While the titans of industry take a moment to sort-out their hurt feelings and roll their nickels and dimes, it offers you the chance to take stock and plan for your long-term future in far off May. Thanks to global warming, there are now plenty of things you can grow as soon as the frost has hopefully left. Radishes can mature in as little as 5 weeks, and spinach, like the dirt that gets trapped between the leaves, is a dependable winter crop just bursting with important vitamins, minerals, sands and protein-rich bugs. Teach your kids about gardening and how their lives now depend on their defense of it and they will learn the importance of discipline, perseverance, intolerance of neighbors coming anywhere near your property and a hatred for birds they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.
Pittsburgh resident Andy Warhol cannily understood that 15 minutes of work was more than enough for fame and success, so just imagine what other useful things could happen with three whole months! Why, you could turn your finances entirely around in the time Important Washingtonians spend in opting for a 3-month spa treatment while in session, especially if they were wise enough to plant a cucumber and can slice one very thinly to lay soothingly on their crinkly eyefolds. You could take a class about emigrating to Canada, or one about forming a new, off-grid society. Perhaps you could invent a peanut butter-based computer, or come up with a new, life-sustaining kind of pie made out of re-purposed job application rejection forms. If there was ever a time to innovate in the face of inaction we are living in it now!
Even if you choose to wait, or simply can no longer do anything but sit staring at each other in a malnourished stupor while our government tries to figure out what it wants to fight about not doing next, that three-month window brings us three months closer to the season of Downton Abbey that will air after the one on the air now, so there’s that. What a shame that our lack of class struggles here in America prevents us from learning anything from all that fancy period-accurate stuff and junk that happened in Pre-Trump England.
Mrs. Vera Newman is a San Francisco absurdist character, humorist, artist, writer, community organizer, clothes horse and co-founder, with Mister Tina, of The Verasphere. She has been answering the unasked questions she receives from the lonely, empty rooms of America’s heart-shaped circulatory pump room ever since it began beating. Nestled in the politically bent bowels of the Nation since she was a young girl babysitting the very same newborn Nation, her ability to self-reflect about anyone else’s embarrassing shortcomings, inept fumblings or lousy recipes has enabled her invisible rise as a modern day Cassandra, whatever that means. Feel free to dispose of all your worries by leaving them on her doorstep!