Miscellany

BELTWAY BARBIE In a year when all politicians fear for their jobs, Washington, D.C., has become a very uptight place.These [...]

November 1 1992 by Chief Executive


BELTWAY BARBIE

In a year when all politicians fear for their jobs, Washington, D.C., has become a very uptight place.

These days even a novelty doll called “Pet Congressman” can set off alarm bells among the politically correct. The harmless doll has been pulled from the shelves of the city’s largest department store.

John T. Walsh, a Bethesda, MD, entrepreneur, came up with the idea for Pet Congressman while observing some talking dolls at Disney World. It occurred to him that Members of Congress are like pets: “They make messes, they misbehave, they won’t obey, yet their voters are attached to them and keep re-electing them.”

What may have raised congressional hackles is the 15-page owner’s manual that accompanies Pet Congressman. Its motto is “Take this job and junket!,” and its behavioral traits include requiring “others to follow stringent procedures but then exempting itself from those same standards.” Favorite foods include “pork from a barrel.” The Pet Congressman has been paper trained, and actually produces much more paper than is needed and then does nothing. It also has had its shots, but “any other drugs not provided through ordinary channels can be obtained at the Post Office.”

-The Wall Street Journal


BORN TO BE MILD

In the past, rebels were often individuals of both defiance and accomplishment. Examples might include the rakish Lord Byron, the pioneering Galileo, or, for instance, Jesus Christ. Only in modern America has the rebel been exalted regardless of personal achievement.

Today’s rebel sports a tepid, three-inch ponytail as his shocking protest against (and apology for) his VP status at Saatchi & Saatchi. The words “I’m a rebel,” can also be an all-purpose face-saver for any number of itchy and potentially embarrassing scenarios. You got canned? It must be because you’re the office rebel, certainly not because profits plummeted in your division.

But true rebellion entails risk and little hope of personal remuneration. The students who marched and died at Tiananmen Square recall the true American rebels of the Revolutionary War who did not demand a share of T-shirt sales.

So perhaps we now possess a more appropriate response to the question: What are you rebelling against? The only defensible answer may well be “Rebels.”

 -Paul Rudnick, Spy,


GOLDEN RULES

Rule #2: Take care of yourself so you may help take care of others.

Exit according to rule, first leg and then head. Remove high heels and synthetic stockings before evacuation: Open the door, take out the recovery line and throw it away. This escape route is courtesy of the Rumanian National Airlines Emergency Instructions.

Rule #3: Use everything for your upliftment, learning, and growth.

A sign in a Tokyo hotel reads: Is forbidden to steal towels, please. If you are not person to do such is please not to read notice.

-John-Roger and Peter McWilliams “The Portable Life 101″


COMIC RELIEF

In his hook, “Son of a Meech,” Canadian author Mark Breslin writes, “Some Canadians claim Mulroney (Canada’s Prime Minister) is a pain in the neck-others have a much lower opinion of him.”

Peter Worthington, a columnist for The Toronto Sun and The Financial Post, observes, “Mulroney’s public approval rating is lower than Ceausescu’s in Rumania just before he was assassinated.”


NOBODY IS ABSOLUTELY REAL

Absolutely Nobody, age 35, is a candidate for lieutenant governor in the State of Washington. If elected, he promises to work to abolish the office, which he calls a do-nothing and a largely ceremonial drag on the taxpayers.

Before he became Nobody, this candidate was David M. Powers, a one-time manager of a Winchell’s doughnut shop who is now a customer service representative at the U-Rent outlet, an all-purpose rental shop in North Seattle.

Last December, Mr. Powers went into King County District Court in Seattle and had his name changed, legally, to Absolutely Nobody. It’s on his driver’s license, his checks, and in the Yellow Pages under political candidates.

Of course, campaigning with such a name presents some unique problems.

“If I tell people that Nobody wants their support and Nobody needs their campaign contribution, it’s hard to get them to commit,” he said.

-Timothy Egan, The New York Times