The entire congressional budget war started over a very small thing. A woman reporter tried to get into the Senate locker room. This enraged many senators who were taking showers after arm-wrestling with lobbyists in the hall.

"What are you doing?" a red-faced senator yelled at her.

"I'm writing a piece on the fact that the Senate has no clothes on," the reporter replied.

Another senator came up with a towel around him. "You have no right to come in here after we voted on the budget. We still have goose pimples all over us."

"I'm a reporter and I can go anywhere I want to. Besides, the Senate has two women members, so it's not as if I was the first female in the locker room."

"We're used to them," the third senator said. "We're not used to you."

The fourth senator who joined the group said, "After what you see here, you're probably going to write something bad about our voting record."

"Not necessarily," the reporter said. "All I want to do is ask some questions, such as why did you people screw up so badly on the Columbus Day weekend?"

"I'll bet that's all you want to ask. You're just anxious to see your legislators in the buff so you can tell your girlfriends what beautiful physiques we have."

The reporter was enraged. "That's not true. I didn't ask you to stand around in your birthday suits."

One of the senators said, "We're trying to make a point. We came naked to the Senate and we will depart naked from it."

"Is that your budget message to the American people?"

"It's one of many we intend to give when the voters ask us what we were doing."

A voice in the back yelled, "Hey, keep it down. I can't hear myself sing my party's praises."

The first senator said, "Young lady, I think you should know that you don't belong here, and many of us feel very uncomfortable with your standing on our medicine ball."

The reporter said, "Does anyone in this room care about the people?"

The second senator said, "Now what the hell does that mean?"

"Rumor has it that the special interests bought your vote."

A senator said, "If I hadn't voted for the Equal Employment Opportunities Act, I would verbally harass you right now."

Another senator said, "You have entered a male sanctuary, except for Senators Nancy Kassebaum and Barbara Mikulski, to embarrass and question our loyalty to the electorate. You would do us all a favor by getting out of here so the older members can change clothes to go back on the floor for their evening session."

The reporter said, "Are you refusing to answer my questions because I am a reporter or because I am a woman or because I am in your locker room?"

The first senator replied, "We have a saying here, 'If you can't stand the heat, get out of Strom Thurmond's shower.' "