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A poll-ish joke... and the last laugh is on Gene Weingarten
Me: You're a lobbyist?
Eugene: Yes. For Middle East policy. And my son won the Pulitzer Prize for "American Prometheus," a book about J. Robert Oppenheimer.
Call 3: Springer, Rebecca
Me: Please prioritize the seven most pressing issues facing the United States in terms of immediacy of need, while weighing moral imperatives against the limitations of current financial realities.
Rebecca: First, repairing the economy, with emphasis on job creation; second, health-care reform; third, protecting individuals' civil rights and giving voice to minority opinions; fourth, national security; fifth, the environment; sixth, rebuilding the transportation infrastructure; seventh, a plan to bring people out of poverty.
Me: (Sigh.) What do you do?
Rebecca: Excuse me?
Me: You're a lawyer, right?
Rebecca: Oh. Yes. I thought you asked when I was due. I'm pregnant, but I haven't told my firm yet.
Call 4: Wolkoff, Daniel
Me: Hi. You're a lawyer or a lobbyist, right?
Daniel: I don't even have a degree. I do historic restoration of stained glass.
Me: Hooray! Can you prioritize your political concerns about ...
Daniel: Sure can. I listen to NPR 20 hours a day! For years, I've been fighting against unjustified American intervention in Central America and the domestic proliferation of nuclear power plants. Now, I'm opposing development plans for a half-acre grove of trees in my Brookland neighborhood. Meanwhile, we've just had the Supreme Court undermine any possibility for the electoral process to be remotely fair by giving an overpowering voice to corporations. I think the justices should be impeached. Also, to ...
Mr. Wolkoff went on for 45 minutes, which gave me time to contemplate what had gone wrong with my plan: Of all the phone books in the country, I chose that of Washington, D.C., world capital of wonkdom.
Still, I might have continued, except for what happened with my fifth call.
I used the same process as I had with all the others: Flip through book, open to random page, take knife, blindly stab name. My fifth pick for Joe or Jolene Lunchbucket turned out to be: Weymouth, Katharine. The publisher of The Washington Post. No, I never even dialed.