- - Tuesday, December 27, 2011



Last week’s dramatic, down-to-the wire legislative hokum to “rescue” millions of Americans from a $1,000 tax increase on the stroke of the New Year reminds us once again how Congress really is that whining, self-absorbed nightmare of a relative that every family must endure.

And it is here, around the holidays, that they are always at their basket-case worst.

That’s because it is a season when most Americans take a little time off from work, gather with family, watch a little football and exchange gifts with the ones they love.

For the psychologically unfit, such as those who populate Congress, this is pure torture. Not only are they incapable of sharing joy with others, the thought of other people’s happiness exhausts and pains them.

Most offensive of all, it is simply a season that threatens to be about someone or something other than themselves.

So, the doorbell rings. And in she walks, mascara smeared down her cheeks, launching right away into another harangue about all the slights of the past year. At first, everyone tries to listen. But eventually, little unintended glances and innocent comments cause her to spaz out and wildly feign anxiety attacks at the dinner table.

And so it is with Congress. All year long, they have been useless and unemployable mooches. Then comes Christmas and they are seized by the reality that nobody likes them and that everything really isn’t all about them.

So, sure as Christmas itself, this time of year brings another crisis in Congress that they themselves have manufactured and that only they themselves can fix. And when it’s all over they look around wondering why everyone hasn’t gathered around to pay their grateful respects.

It’s long been observed that the halls of Congress are ridiculously wide. And it has been speculated for just as long that they were purposely built wide enough to accommodate the outsized egos of two members of Congress passing one another in the hallway.

What is so sad about this is that when two congressmen pass one another in the hall, the vast majority of Americans would have never heard of either one of them. And those who could name them both almost certainly would have a low opinion of them.

It is just the kind of disconnect between what they think of themselves and what the rest of us think of them that suggests just how deep their psychological problems really are. And our lack of appreciation for their Christmastime antics only further traumatizes their troubled souls.

The only cure, it seems, is to have a little more eggnog. It is the only way we innocent taxpayers get by these days.

Charles Hurt’s column appears Wednesdays. He may be reached at [email protected]

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