The diagnosis: Health care on the brain
There are signs, you know. Signals. Little clues scattered here and there that you, Mr. and Mrs. United States Senator, have been at it just a little bit too long lately.
You’ve escaped—finally—for your Christmas recess, but have you really put enough distance between your recent labors and your sudden rest?
Don’t count on it. Even—especially?—for powerful government officials who’ve been toiling over major legislation for days on end, for days and nights on end, there’s no instant “Off” switch. No way to turn off the juice.
So be vigilant, Mr. or Mrs. United States Senator and all who care about you. Watch for these helpful warning signs of hyper-Senatitis:
You’ve been at it too long, for instance, if you find yourself putting on a suit and a tie at 1 in the morning. Or, for that matter, a bright red dress. (If you find yourself trying to decide between a suit and a tie or a bright red dress at 1 in the morning, you’ve definitely been at it too long.)
When the waitress asks if you’d like her to freshen your cup of coffee, and you stand up straight and say “Aye,” you’ve been at it too long.
And you’ve been at it too long if you insist that, before the family chooses its evening TV viewing, the entire week’s program listings have to be read aloud. Three times.
If you find yourself referring to your spouse as “my distinguished colleague,” you’ve been at it too long. Even if your spouse is, in fact, truly distinguished, not to mention a true colleague, you’ve still been at it too long. You should consider getting a life.
If you start calling the twins “Filibuster” and “Cloture,” you’ve been at it too long.
Likewise if you break into raucous cheers, or heartfelt hisses, every time a thermometer somewhere makes it to 60 degrees. For most of the planet, “60” is just another number. If “60” is now your Holy Bible, your Holy Grail and your winning Powerball ticket all rolled into one, you may need to rethink your outlook.
When you wake up in the middle of the night with that sudden urge to go—vote, you’ve been at it too long.
When the word “public” makes you break out in hives, whether or not it’s combined with the word “option,” you’ve been at it too long. There is nothing even vaguely un-American about “public schools.” Or “public toilets.” Get over it—you’ve been at it too long.
When you can’t make the simplest of decisions at home—scrambled eggs, or hard-boiled? French dressing, or Italian?—without asking yourself, “What does Lieberman think?”…
When you can’t stop worrying about whether your brand-new Yankees hat is an “annual cap” or a “lifetime cap”…
When you spend half a day on the Netflix help line trying to order “The Mitch Who Stole Christmas”…
When you pass the “Exchange” desk in the department store and wonder why so many people are trying to pay for their health insurance with reindeer sweaters and Santa scarves…
And when you’re still having dreams about Harry Reid…
You’ve been at it much too long.
This has been a Public Service Announcement.
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.