Partial Pandas & Sorority Shrimp

(Hi, I’m non-essential. You?)


It’s here.

It actually happened. It began Friday at midnight: the dreaded, end-of-all-life-on-Earth “government shutdown.” Gnash. Wail. Rend garments. It’s here.

I thought I’d better let you know, so you don’t run out for Chinese food and miss that whole “end of mankind” thing.

Yes, exactly one year after President Donald Hashtag took office and singlehandedly infected the mainstream media with projectile hatred, the nearly entire federal government almost partially didn’t completely suspend some or more activities. Or so they tell us. I haven’t seen this much posturing since Sean Penn hosted karaoke night.

To hear Congress describe it, a partial government shutdown would practically destroy the country…and then they did it anyway. And it was utterly un-awful, partly because they scheduled it to happen on a weekend. In truth, here’s how the entire nation was affected: a retired couple in Kansas might get their passports a week late. This rampant Kansan madness must end. I say we chain Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer to a pole in a cage match, and the first one to combover his eyebrows loses.

Friday, in the dark, pre-doom hours before the partial shutdown, the President and Congress lobbed several volleys at each other, in-between press conferences and photo ops. One of those volleys — and I am not good enough to make this stuff up — one proposition was a temporary budget…that would last for five days. This playground tactic is what Congress calls a “continuing resolution,” and what the medical community refers to as a “psychotic episode.”

Partial government shutdowns happen more often than you’d think…and they never actually happen. See, shutting down the US government would mean they’d have to stop spending money. Ha. Good one. End of discussion. There’s a four-letter word that describes anyone silly enough to think Washington could ever stop spending money. That word rhymes with tool … in fact, tool would work, too.

The last official government shutdown was in 2013, and the last time I checked, I’m still alive, although I haven’t identified with a different gender this year, so I may be missing some perks. The 2013 shutdown was practically invisible, although one side-effect was House Speaker John Boehner leaving Congress and moving to a retirement community that caters to people with very odd tans.

Throughout our history there’ve been dozens of such shutdowns, all championed by various political Agenda Jackals. During Jimmy Carter’s time in office, shutdowns happened nearly every year, but then you can’t expect much from an administration in which the Chief Executive is constantly running up and down the halls of the White House, lusting abstractly.

In the face of this year’s non-existing disaster, I think the important thing to share is some reasoned analysis of what you can expect to happen to you during a government shutdown, unless you’re here illegally, or in prison, or in Congress. (No. No, I won’t. Some jokes are too easy.)

Members of Congress, of course, will still get paid, because the Universe is insane. Conversely, paychecks earned by members of the US military could be delayed, although unlike members of Congress, the military will still show up for work.

Also, military death benefits may be delayed, although we have to admit we’re struggling to come up with a benefit list for that. “Death benefits” may be the world’s dumbest name for the world’s shortest list.

Even during a government shutdown, the Post Office will continue to more or less function, so you’ll suffer no interruption in the daily delivery of gaudy leaflets luring you to buy lake-front lots at last year’s prices.

Maybe the worst effect of a partial government shutdown is this: for a few days, you won’t be able to take selfies with Ling-Ling, the giant panda at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, and then plaster photoshopped pandas all over facebook with “CUTEST THING U EVER SAW” spelled nine different ways. (Pandas are primates that have at least as much common sense as most members of Congress, and way better hair.)

By the way…speaking of wildlife, I learned this past week that all shrimp are born male, and then, when they reach a certain age (or amount of beer), some of them will decide to start identifying as females. And if that doesn’t make you swear off swimming, nothing will.

Believe it or not, I learned this insider shrimp info from a local car dealer’s promotional email. Honestly. And it may qualify as the most absurd marketing tie-in in the already bizarre history of marketing tie-ins. Imagine the TV ad…

“Tired of checking shrimp genders? Then come on down to Tyrell’s Auto World for the deal of a lifetime! Because here at Tyrell’s, we’re generous, not…shellfish. [rim shot]”

So, as we head into what may be mankind’s last weekend, let’s wrap up with a quick review.

Things You Can’t Do During A Government Shutdown

  • You can’t get a straight answer from a politician. Oh, wait…
  • You can’t visit the Smithsonian, where they keep all the really nice smithsons.
  • You can still visit the Grand Canyon, but nobody will be cleaning the bathrooms, so don’t stand too close to the edge of the Grand Canyon
  • You can’t feed Ling-Ling, an activity which is not nearly as lewd as it sounds
  • You can’t get death benefits, if you think of any
  • You can’t get a passport, which you’ll need if you want to move to a country that doesn’t have fake government shutdowns
  • You can’t use the ObamaCare website. Oh, wait…

Things You Can Still Do During A Government Shutdown

  • You can still pay your taxes
  • You will still receive Social Security payments, so the IRS can tax them a second time
  • You can suddenly discover that Human Resources at your government job thinks you are “non-essential.” Isn’t that a warm feeling!
  • You will still receive mail, including loud, oversized envelopes containing a huge fake car key, inviting you to win a blender just for test-driving the new Ford Polyp
  • You can still be mauled by overweight security agents at the airport
  • You can ponder the puberty of cross-dressing shrimp
  • You can still expect honest news coverage from the mainstream media. And believe in the Easter Bunny.

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