In a matter of days, unemployment lines could be filled with millions of furloughed federal employees out of work due to Congress’ inability to agree on a spending package to keep the United States government open. Entitled to benefits while out of a job, these workers are already lining up at state unemployment offices.
Clerk: Number 223! Who has number 223?
Number 223: That would be me. Hi, I’m Harry Reid.
Clerk: Okay Mr. Reid. Have a seat while I go over your paperwork. It says here you work for the people of Nevada. Could you be a bit more specific?
Reid: I’m their United States Senator.
Clerk: That would explain the low number of hours worked. Do you have a written contract with the people?
Reid: Yes. Here it is. (hands over several large pieces of parchment paper).
Clerk: This is the freakin’ United States Constitution.
Reid: Yeah, I know. But during the shutdown, the National Archives is closed to the public. The guards were all furloughed so I just went over and borrowed it. I’m kind of a big deal. I know all the codes.
Clerk: Alright then, Mr. Reid…
Reid: Senator Reid. I think I’ve earned it.
Clerk: You’re unemployed, remember?
Reid: Oh, yeah. I forgot. Sorry about that.
Clerk: Anyway – Senator Reid – You realize that in order to collect unemployment while the government is shut down you have to be seeking gainful employment.
Reid: Well, that’s just stupid. Says who?
Clerk: You, sir. It’s in the law you passed.
Reid: Huh? I knew I should have read that damn thing first.
Clerk: Right. So as we try to figure out where to send you for a job interview, I first need to determine what employable skills you might have. Okay?
Reid: Sure. Fire away. Oops, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t make any politically incorrect statements like “fire away.” I’ll make sure to refer myself to anger management counseling.
Clerk: So I assume this Constitution requires you to be really smart or something in order to have the fate of the country in your hands. (He reads the Constitution) Let’s see, it says here you have to be 30 years old, a citizen of the US for at least nine years and reside in the state you represent. That’s it? Are you kidding me? That’s all it takes?
Ried: Yup and being 74 years old, I guess I’m overqualified.
Clerk: Let’s try to focus on skills, shall we? What exactly are your job duties as a Senator? I suppose you’re responsible for this whole budget mess?
Reid: Oh no. I bear no responsibility whatsoever. All spending has to originate in the House of Representatives. (He points to the Origination Clause)
Clerk: Of course. Here it is right here in the Constitution. And when you get these bills from the House, does the Constitution require you to call them up for a vote?
Reid: Gracious no. In fact, I do just the opposite. I make sure they die in committee so we don’t have to vote on them.
Clerk: Why? If you passed all the spending bills, we wouldn’t have this silly government shutdown.
(there is a pause as they both stare at each other)
Clerk: Let me change tracks. What did you do before government?
Reid: Nope. Every check I’ve ever collected is from the government.
Clerk: But your resume says you’re worth as much as $6 million dollars. How could that be?
Reid: (leans forward and whispers) Plastic.
Clerk: (puts his head in his hands) How about an open-ended question? Do you have any people skills?
Reid: I’m very good with people.
Clerk: Great. Now we’re getting somewhere. How so?
Reid: (proudly) I once made a racial insult about the President and got everyone in my party and the press to totally ignore it.
Clerk: There is a supervisor trainee job open at Denny’s, but you’re a little short on the management side. Let me try it this way – what employable skills do you think you have?
Reid: Each year I take all the House spending bills, ignore them and lump them together in something called a “Continuing Resolution.” In the middle of that bill I hide spending projects for Nevada.
Clerk: Everybody hates that process. How is that a skill?
Reid: I successfully blame it on the Republicans.
Clerk: Oh I get it, now. Whatever you do wrong, you find a way to twist it around in order to blame it on someone else.
Reid: I’m a master at it.
Clerk: Gotcha. In fact, I do have a notice about an opening for someone just entering the work force without any interpersonal skills or private sector experience.
Reid: Great. What is it?
Clerk: Help Desk tech support for a major computer software company. Call this 800 number and ask for Bob.
(Reid gets up and leaves)
Clerk: Next? Who has number 224?
Number 224: Hi. I’m Nancy Pelosi.
Clerk: I quit.
Rick Robinson is an award winning novelist. His books (like Writ of Mandamus and Alligator Alley) can be found on Amazon, Nook and at bookstores everywhere. Like him on Facebook, and follow him on Twitter @authorRick.