Ask a Hill Staffer: Mind On His Money, Money On His Mind

And now, a brief respite from the Massacrette to say hello to our friend the Anonymous Hill Staffer. AHS went a little long answering your questions this week, but he had a good reason: Congress is on Spring Break and he's bored. He also wanted us to let you know that despite the sarcasm and the funny-ha-ha bits, his answers -- especially this week's batch -- are based in cold, hard fact. So deal with it. As usual, your questions will be duly filed, forwarded, and answered.


Presenting, after the jump, seemy Congressional substance abuse, narcissism, and cash money.

I frequently find myself extremely hungover at work. Any tips on how to get through the day, including the possibility of sleeping at my desk? What if I have beer in my hair?

Why nap at your desk and risk all the unpleasantness that comes with getting caught when you can just go to the House nurse? I know I've already mentioned the House nurse as an excellent place to nap a hangover away, but I can't recommend it highly enough. Possible excuses to lie down for an hour: "my allergies kept me up all night!" "My upstairs neighbors were having a little domestic violence last night, followed by a little domestic reconciliation if you know what I mean!" "I was at the hospital all night with possible internal bleeding after falling into the giraffe exhibit while trying to get a better look at the panda at the zoo!" There are literally a million excuses! But don't abuse it, because so help me god if you ruin naptime with the nurse for me I'll kick your ass. As far as the beer in the hair goes, there actually are showers that you can use in the Ford building. You might have to use hand soap, because they supply neither shampoo nor conditioner...otherwise, just go with it. Beer makes an excellent styling product! Just tell your office that it's the hot new product in hair care, and they won't know any better because they're probably style-retarded like most people on the Hill.

You should do a female staffer version of Ask a Hill Staffer.

While this is more of a suggestion, I'll still respond to it. I completely agree. If I could do a female version of myself, that would be totally awesome. You wouldn't believe how narcissistic I am...I mean I'm sure I come across that away in this column, but it's pretty toned down from real life. If I could find an opinionated prick with tits and a vagina, I would never need to get out of bed again. I mean, that's half the reason I get out of bed every morning (trying to get laid that is). Another quarter of the reason being acquisition of money for drugs and alcohol (and the use of drugs and alcohol), and one quarter being the avoidance of bed sores. You'd think it would be easier to get laid around here, but I've been spending all my time either writing this fucking column or climbing out of k-holes lately. I guess I might want to rethink how I manage my time. Maybe I should spend a quarter of my time making money, half of my time actually using drugs and alcohol, and a quarter of my time avoiding bed sores. Hopefully I just stumble upon getting laid accidentally that way. It is summer after all--take advantage of that extra hour of daylight! Seriously though, if you know a female version of me, steer her my way.

What sort of "pet names" do folks on the Hill use to refer to the President?

One of the more popular ways to refer to the President is not by any particular name, but rather by Bush quotes spoken in your best fake-faux Texas accent. Example (read this to yourself in your best impression of Bush's faux-Texan): "The ol' terra fighter is gon' talk about free-dom in 'Merica today. We should inform the Congressman as to the details of his speech this afternoon." Or, "I 'preciate y'all coming down here t'day t'talk 'bout the future of 'Merica. The Administration has just announced a new homeland security initiative, we should do a press release." However, if not referring to the President via some kind of incoherent babble that is his everyday speech, I sometimes refer to him as Captain Dipfuck. Donald Rumsfeld is usually the Man of Wonder (the former Boy Wonder). So in this case, you would say "Captain Dipfuck is up there talking about the Man of Wonder again. Do you think it's true that the Cap'n is going to ask him to resign?"

How much more do Senate staffers make than a House staffer in a comparable position. Say, in an SA or LA position? Please regale us with your usual snarky diatribe, but then actually answer the question as well. Unless my writing that destroyed any chance of getting a for real answer.

Since you were so sincere about it, I'll give you the most (relatively) serious answer I've ever given anyone in these pages. Not serious like a heart attack or anything, but stay with me here. It might surprise most people, but House staffers make a shit load more than Senate staffers. A Senate Staff Assistant makes between 18k and 25k a year, which a House Staff Ass usually makes from 25k to 32k or so. Which makes you think...what young professional is getting by on $18,000 a year in Washington D.C.? Do you realize that's only fifteen hundred bucks a month? And now if you are like me, you're asking yourself "who the fuck can live in Washington D.C. on $1,500 a month?" And you're in luck, because I can answer that question. The only people who can live on $1,500 a month in Washington D.C. are either on food stamps or recent college graduates with huge allowances from their parents. I'll let you figure out which one is working on the Hill (Hint! They don't shop places where food stamps are accepted). Those staffers who don't have a healthy allowance usually turn to drugs (think of the guy selling pot and listening to Dave Matthews down the hall from you in college) or prostitution of some kind or another (butt sex for money and so on). Same concept applies with Legislative Assistants...an LA in the Senate--who has to have some kind of advanced degree, keep in mind--makes somewhere in the neighborhood of 30k to 40k a year. In the House, that salary is anywhere from 40k to 55k WITHOUT GRAD SCHOOL. So, again, ask yourself "what kind of Harvard Law grad is going into a job where they only make $40k a year?" Well, either the kind that sucks too much to get a real lawyering job or one that doesn't have any obvious need for income. And, if you want to extrapolate a real-life civics lesson here, you can probably figure out a big part of the reason why Congress (both D's and R's) is so out of touch with regular old Americans. Thousands of Senate staffers are playing government (and oddly enough making major policy decisions) while their parents subsidize their living. So while constituents grapple with the realities of the new economy, these staffers can continue driving their Audis and shopping at Whole Foods. Look at me, I'm in public service! I'll refrain from pointing out the obvious irony of my current employment situation. Wait, I think I just did.

A couple of weeks ago you mentioned staying away from MCCXXIII (1223) on Sunday nights because it's gay. It's usually only really gay on the Sunday of a three-day weekend, like this past weekend perhaps

Whoa, good to know.

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