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A Farewell to Alms

by Arthur Carey

"Good evening.

"First, I want to thank the staff of Channel 32, our local cable channel, for affording me the opportunity to address you, my friends, neighbors, and constituents, for the last time.

"After considerable thought--and with great regret--I have decided to resign as your representative in our proud state's 17th Congressional District. I am leaving to spend more time with my family. The decision was a difficult one since I have always believed citizens have a responsibility to participate in government.

"Let me say at the outset that sensational media reports that a grand jury is about to indict me for receiving illegal contributions from a foreign power had nothing to do with the decision. That is fake news!

"Yes, during my 19 years of public service, mistakes were made. In retrospect, I shouldn't have accepted treatment for back spasms from a masked, leather-clad masseuse while attending a conference in the Bahamas about global warming. I thought the masseuse had come from a costume party. I must admit I was surprised when she insisted on handcuffing me to the bed. It was unfortunate that a video I did not authorize was made and appeared on YouTube.

"I have been gratified but not surprised that my family has rallied around me during these difficult times.

"My son Robbie, 16, saw the video and said, "You rock, Dad!"

"Janie, my daughter, 11, removed her cell phone ear buds and commented, "Whatever..." She says that a lot.

"And my wife Glenda greeted the news of my being home permanently without comment, displaying the same brave front she has presented to the TV news crews camped outside our front door. Now there will be more time for us to resolve our communication issues.

"I have shared my decision to leave office with close friends and aides. Ahmad Habid, who services my Cadillac Escalade, observed, "Politics is like changing oil. Sometimes you wind up with lots of gunk you didn't anticipate."

"My chief of staff, Joe Marcette, also expressed regret at the news. "So what do I do with all the campaign signs and buttons?" he asked. I told him where he could put them.

"Looking back, I take pride in some accomplishments. Certainly, they would include obtaining federal funds for the $14 million Underwater Hockey Hall of Fame. Yes, the complex was finished two years late and over budget. But there is good news, too. Repair of the leak in the "living" grass roof is almost finished. Weeds remain a problem.

"I am equally pleased with my role in securing inclusion of the Elkhorn Swamp Sewage Treatment Plant in the Homeland Security database of potential terrorist targets. To date, the district has received $42,000 in federal anti-terror funds. Our wastewater storage is secure.

"I have always made myself available to voters when Congress recessed. Yes, for security reasons I flew first class and used a limousine service. At times, I saved the taxpayers money by accepting rides in corporate jets whose owners were eager to discuss pending legislation.

"I shall miss spirited discussions with residents outside church, in the supermarket, or at my son's basketball games. These interactions gave me a better idea of your wishes. Other concerned citizens have contacted me by mail, often anonymously; by email in a volume that shut down my mail server, and late at night by telephone from places with loud conversation and music. I congratulate those persistent callers who obtained my unlisted number.

"And so, my fellow citizens, I thank you and say goodbye. Serving as your representative in Congress has been an experience I shall never forget. Nor, I expect, shall you."

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