Thursday, April 17, 2008
#13 Robert Byrd
In the beginning, most Hill People are insecure, lost, and generally confused on account of the fast-paced DC life. They've packed all of their stuff into a U-Haul, moved to a misleadingly named "English Basement", and furnished it with IKEA's fall 2006, which of course far exceeded their means anyway. There's little in this cold and heartless city for a young, impressionable soul to hold on to, so Hill People tend to search for someone they can turn to in a time of need, a person they can count on to be a constant in these scary times. Who is this person you ask?
Senator Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia).
Senator Byrd is an old mofo. Born in 1917 and in the Senate since 1959, Big Bob is the oldest and longest serving member of the Senate. Not only is he good at staying alive (he should go pro), he's good at making lowly Hill People, as well as all of America, laugh their asses off. A Hill Person may be having a crappy day-- one that consists of a grumpy chief of staff, even grumpier constituents, and a Member who keeps randomly disappearing for "lunch dates" just to make their scheduler's life hell. Said Hill Person knows that they can get that little reminder of why they're here, of why they do what they do, and at the same time forget about their pointless and utterly useless lives, just by watching Robert Byrd do what he does best: talk in an an incessantly loud voice.
When Michael Vick accidentally drowned/electrocuted those pets of his who kept losing their dogfights (I mean really, what else are you supposed to do with losers), Robert Byrd was especially pissed. He could be seen on the floor of the Senate, yelling "BARBARIC!" over and over again for an awkwardly long period of time. It went on so long with such lengthy pauses and such sustained volume and fist-pumping, one had to wonder if this was man or robot? If it was man, was he actually aware of his actions, or was he sort of kind of on human auto-pilot?
Hill People often get scared whenever Robert Byrd closes his eyes, because they half expect him not to open them again. In fact, every blink is a glorious surprise and cause for celebration. Sometimes, his eyes stay closed for a few seconds, and the Hill Person starts to wonder, is this the end? Have I lost the meaning of my life? Who will take over Appropriations???
And then, like a college student waking up with his pants on backwards in front of the library at noon on a Tuesday.... his eyes open, he seems slightly confused about his whereabouts, wonders how he got there and what exactly he is currently doing... and he continues to preside over the federal budget markup.
And who can forget the memorable time Harry Reid delivered his emotional speech about 9/11. However, attention was taken away from that wily Nevadan by the image of our hero Robert Byrd sleeping, wait, not just sleeping, full out drooling in the background. Hill People everywhere IMed their co-workers (it was pre-gchat, aka the Dark Age) telling them to turn on channel 8 and wondering whether it was too soon to laugh out loud during a speech on 9/11. Hopefully, for the salvation of the average Hill Person, it wasn't, because otherwise we'll see you all in hell.
But the Hill Person's favorite part about Robert Byrd is the chance encounter with him in the hallway. While trudging through the Capitol to drop off another doomed amendment they spent the last month working on, feeling sad about their lack of impact on the world, they see a flash of white hair, a small man, surrounded by 65 aides but allowing none to help him. Robert Byrd shuffles slowly towards the Senate floor, yelled at the top of his lungs, or at a whisper for all he knows, "MAKE WAY FOR LIBERTY!!!"
Hill People frequently ask themselves questions after an encounter with Big Byrd:
1. Why is he screaming?
2. Why is he referring to himself as liberty?
3. How is he still alive?
4. Does he even know he's alive?
5. OMG Maybe he actually thinks his name IS Liberty!
Suddenly, the Hill Person remembers, this is what it's all about. Despite the obvious senility displayed by the statement, it sheds light on the most fundamental truth of the Hill Person's life. Every day they come into work, slave away for little pay and even less recognition, and endure the wrath of the constituents they spend all day working for, all because they truly do care about "making way" for "liberty."
For the typical Hill Person, Robert Byrd is one of the rare highlights of everyday life. As long as he's alive and kickin', it behooves all Hill People to do what he asks.... and make way for f-ing liberty.