A Door Unopened

A Door Unopened
Knock, knock...

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Did I Mention I'm Planning to Run for Congress?

I met my future campaign manager at the Salt Lake City airport in June—a lobbyist for the Human Rights campaign representing the GLBT alliance. I'll call him Bob. Bob and I were introduced when I went scouting for the Huzby who’d been MIA much longer than the normal time it takes to have a beer at the bar. Fearing a random bathroom mugging, or possible rufie ambush (I know--overly dramatic but never say never...) and unable to reach him by cell, I decided to posse up. After 60 seconds of not-so-arduous carpet-cantering, I found him knocking back a few with Bob.

Bob was big. Bob was friendly. Bob was loquacious and highly animated. This had everything to do with the fact that Bob was just shy of being blithering-drunk on a combination of beer and cocktails. He introduced himself immediately and gave me a very hearty handshake which I returned with what I hoped was a strong enough grip to convey the fact that I don’t wither under pressure from overzealous greeters.

The first thing Bob asked was my profession. When I told him I am a biologist, he decided I'd be the perfect person to help get a national health care bill passed. It's true that I'm in favor of health care for all, however it's also true that I'm not the least bit politically savvy. And although I can, from time to time, be somewhat charming, I do not possess the charisma needed to win the mass appeal required to hold a seat in office. So before he got carried away, I mentioned to him my lack of statesmanship and dearth widespread appeal—I consider myself an acquired taste— but he shrugged me off.

I averred, "You know, Bob, I really haven't gotten out of the lab much. I'd be horrible at holding a public office. Besides that, I don't really know enough about the broader issues at stake. Plus, I don't have a platform and if I did, in addition to health care, it would be something to do with energy alternatives. I know nothing about how to create jobs or fix the economy." At this point I demonstrated my utter ignorance of all things economic when I tried to explain why having a high national debt is a bad thing. “It’s…well…it’s not good. You shouldn’t owe more than you can possibly pay back. And there’s something about the GDP in there too… I mean…I’d need some very smart advisors…”

He countered, "Listen. You’re a biologist, a scientist, someone who knows why it’s important that everyone is afforded health care.  And here’s the thing— you have the look."

The look?”

"Yeah. That generic, somebody’s-nice-looking-wife-and-mother, believes-in-the-traditional-values, wants-what’s-good-for-America look. You’ve got the look that’ll get votes.”

Bob meant this as a compliment—I assumed. I smiled but shuddered. This is only one of many things that are wrong with the American political system and only goes to show what we’ve always known: We are shallow, often mindless voters and the proof is that we vote based on the look.

“Well, just because I look a certain way doesn’t mean I actually know anything about anything. What would you do, just dress me up, tell me what to say and prop me up on stage?”

Visions of Sarah Palin’s interview with Katie Couric as she waffled and dissembled about which publications she read, jammed my brain. I started to sweat. I’d be journalist meat faster than you could say “Slice me off a hunk of that dewy-eyed, dim-witted political hopeful. I like mine rare and bloody and splattered all over the news.”

I felt reassured that this was all a joke when the Huzby stated that Bob had originally suggested that he run for congress. Bob's hopes were dashed however, when the Huzby informed him he is not a US citizen. I’ve got news for Bob, not only is the Huzby not a US citizen, he suffers from an extremely virulent and resistant strain of influenza which causes him to say exactly what he means with little or no filtering. The end result is not what the masses would appreciate nor tolerate. I’m still getting used to it myself and I’ve known him for nearly a decade.

Bob’s plane was getting ready for take-off and one of the bar workers came to hustle him off in time to catch it. We said our good-byes and he left us his card. “Let me know if you decide you want to run. I’ve got connections. I can get you hooked up. Really, you’d be great.”

I waved goodbye wondering how many drinks he’d be able to suck down between SLC and Sea-Tac and if he’d still be able to ambulate by the time he landed. I also wondered who paid his salary and if they thought they were getting their money’s worth. Which begs the question: Is anyone getting their money’s worth from anyone “working” in D.C. these days?

Anyway, I hadn’t given any more thought to running for congress until this Labor Day weekend when it occurred to me—not for the first time—that we should change the week length to eight days. What I propose is that with eight days a week, we could still work our five days but then we take three days to recover and get stuff done and actually have a day to relax. Think of how much more humane and civilized this would be for everyone. We’d be more efficient at work and less stressed in general. It’s a win-win. I mentioned my idea to the Huzby who immediately dismissed it as more of my ridiculous blathering.

Undeterred, I did a bit of online research and found that the eight day week has been done. The Etruscans had an eight day week and for a significant period of time, the Romans adopted it too. However, eventually the seven day week won out over the long haul.

But these are modern times. Certainly the Romans and Etruscans weren’t dealing with weekend scenarios of home maintenance, gardening, doing laundry, getting the pets vetted and shampooed, attending kid’s sporting events, getting the oil changed, cleaning house, having dinner parties, going to concerts or wine tasting and trying to actually enjoy themselves for a freaking, fleeting moment in their jam-packed week, all in addition to their full-time, long-commute “regular” jobs. Right. I think the Romans and Etruscans were probably polishing their swords and armour on the weekend. Or maybe taking the family donkey out for a joy ride around the Circus Maximus?

The more I think about it, the more I like it. And because I’m a scientist,  I've decided it would be a good idea to run the experiment of the eight day week (5 days on/3 days off) in North Korea. I mean, you know those poor North Koreans are stressed to the max. We get a baseline sample the population by checking for behavioral signs of stress (depression, anxiety, eating disorders, disruptive behavior etc..) and measure stress-related hormones present in the blood. Then we institute the 8 day week for three months and compare the measurements.

No doubt, they'll still be stressed but significantly less stressed than with seven day week. They'll have time for more Korean BBQ, kimchi and soju. Yahoo! 야호 Let's get this party started!
파티를 시작합시다

So there you have it, I'm proposing the eight day week. It can only help. Along with a national health care system and alternative energy ramp-up, I'm thinking I can win. Oh, and don't forget that very smart team of advisers I'm going to need. VERY, VERY smart.

Oh and one more thing--I'm looking for an expert speech writer/ventriloquist. I need to find someone to tell me exactly what to say because now that I've come up with my three-pronged running platform, all I really need to do is keep working on the look. The rest is up to everyone else on the team and of course, the visually-overinvested voters.

Can't wait to talk to Bob about all this. After all, he was the one who had the idea in the first place. And you know, something tells me he's definitely a 8 day week kind of guy.


  1. Hi Honey,
    Would love you to run for office--however, I think you have been scooped on the 8 day week--by the Beatles!

  2. Dearest Sarah~
    You are SO right. I did not forget. As a matter of fact I thought it should be my theme song.
    Except, instead of "love" I would substitute the word "vote".

  3. Those darned Etrvscans! They obviously lacked the intestinal fortitude to make the eight day week concept stick. But I believe you, contrarily, have the conviction, not to mention the crowd pleasing comeliness, to kick start a revival. I would cast a vote for you based on that prong of your platform alone. I think perhaps bibulous Bob was on to something. Scientist, mother, wife, writer, and now potential politician......you might want to consider a 25 hour day as well.

    As always, your work is equally brilliant and entertaining. Keep doing what you do. You rock!

  4. Debbie! Thanks for your supportive comments and for your offer of a vote. I think I've heard from a grand total of 5 people now, all promising a vote. I haven't put my call in to Bob yet. I think I'd need at least a few more positive responders before I jump that shark.

    As for the 25 hour day--I have to think about it. The math on a 24 hour day (earth's rotation etc...) is working out pretty well. I don't think I'd retool the day, but I think the week is crying out for reform.