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So What if Congress is Missing a Screw? Or Two?

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

It’s Christmas time and ‘tis the season to be jolly. 

Yet, it’s also the season that tries men’s souls. 

Many Christmases ago, my young daughter requested a doll and a baby carriage. 


Making sure that Santa Claus found the correct toys was crucial because this just happened to be a last-minute request. 

I called around and found that of all the stores that carried these items, only one store still had them in stock. 

Apparently, these were very popular toys. 

With minutes ticking by until closing, I flew to the store like the down of a thistle (with respects to Clement Moore). 

Fortunately, they had one doll remaining along with two carriages.

I was in luck, or so I thought. 

The last clerk in the store, who was within five minutes of closing the door, rang me up after having given me the doll. 

But the carriage was in the back room. 

When he brought it out, my jaw dropped. 

“Can’t you assemble it?” I begged. 

“Closing up, heading home, it’s Christmas Eve, you know,” he replied. 

“Sure,” I answered, “Merry Christmas.” 

And that’s when the all the fun began. 

I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that looking at instructions for the assembly of toys is, for me, like reading some foreign language. 

Thus, I always buy pre-assembled, but unfortunately on this night, it wasn’t meant to be.  Some people are auditory learners, some are visual, but when it comes to the so-called simple instructions, I draw a blank. 

Insert rod A(1) into form B(2), secure with screw C(1) and washer D(4).  Sure, it sounds simple enough, except for me. 


Needless to say, I’m convinced that factory workers took great pleasure in putting more parts than necessary into the box, just to drive me crazy

Yet, somehow, after several hours and numerous eggnogs my little girl’s carriage and doll made its way under the Christmas tree. 

I relate this story because yesterday I had a flashback to the aforementioned Christmas while I was reading the proposed law being voted on in Congress. 

One section said “the sum of the amounts on which a tax is determined under subparagraph (a)(b) and (3) in subparagraph (d) as re-designated by paragraph (1).” 

And that was the so-called easily understood section. 

I can imagine a few congressmen understanding this professed “some assembly required,” but the reality is that if any of these legislators actually read the bill their eyes probably glazed over like mine did on that Christmas Eve so long ago.

But I heard congressmen exclaim as they took their recess and drove out of sight

A few more or less nuts and bolts in the bill is not right

Oh well, at least it’s done

So, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night .

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