Let's just call this the last sweet rung on the congressional seniority ladder: having a piece of federal concrete named for you back home.
So out in Pittsburg, Kan., that building at the corner of Adams and Breadway would become the Joe Skubitz Social Administration Center.
Down in Shreveport, La., the federal office building would henceforth be known for Joe D. Waggonner Jr.
Or consider Griffin, Ga. The plain old post office there would become the John J. Flynt Jr. Federal Building.
At Abilene, Tex., the courthouse post office would take on the name of Omar Burleson. A similar building at Midland, Tex., would be named for George H. Mahon. The veterans hospital at Temple, Tex., would carry the name of Olin E. Teague.
Skubitz, Waggonner, Flynt, Burleson, Teague and Mahon happen to be long-term members of the House of Representatives, each of whom intends to call it quits when this session ends.
One of the ways a thoughtful Congress makes certain that its beloved lame-ducks are not forgotten, even through they're gone, is to attach their names to federal buildings in their income districts.
It happens toward the close of every Congress. As the veterans announce they're dropping out, their brethen think up ways to perpetuate their names. Putting names on buildings is is the easiesty way.
Sometimes, of course, that isn't all it's cracked up to be. For example, the Navy hospital in New Orleans, named after former Rep. F. Edward Hebert, who got it built, recently was deemed unnecessary and was shut down.
It's not really different from times past, but Congress these days is on another of its sprees, with one bill after another proposing a new name for a federal facility.
Not all this fond remembrance is reserved for this year's lame-ducks. Legislators who left before are being memorialized as well.
A new lock on the St. Marys River at Sault Sainte Marie, Mich., would become the John A. Blatnick Lock. He used to be chairman of the House Public Works Committee.
A veteran hospital at Tampa, Fla., would carry the name of James A. Haley, retired chairman of the House Interior Committee. A building in Laguna Niguel, Calif., regarded by many as a white elephant, will become the Chet Holifield building, after the for.
The name of the late Sen. John McClellan (D-Ark.) will go into a veterans hospital in his home state. The McClellan and Holified remembrances recently were signed into law by President Carter.
E. C. (Took) Gathings, William L. Springer, C. Bascom Slemp and the late Frederick G. Payne, all former legislators, would be memorialized on buildings in Jonesboro, Ark., Champaign, Ill., Big Stone Gap, Va., and Portland, Maine, respectively.
A statue for the late Sen. Ernest Gruening (D-Alaska), a bee research center in Arizona for the late Sen. Carl Hayden (D-Ariz), and a federal Aviation Administration facility in Oklahoma for former representative A. S. (Mike) Monroney (D-Okla.) are among the other commemorations proposed during this Congress.
But there is a wistful element to this story. Some lame-ducks don't make it to name-on-a-building status, so they have to think up their own memorials.
One might be Rep. John B. Breckinridge (D-Ky.) who recently introduced a bill that would authorize the printing in book form of a compilation of his statements assessing the strategic arms balance (he thinks it is an imbalance) between the Soviet Union and the United States.
Another might be Rep. B. F. Sisk (D-Calif.), who cast his last vote on Aug 3 - two weeks before the House went into recess - and took off on a cross-country automobile trip to his home district.
Sisk missed 71 rollcall votes during his absence. "He's not dogging it," an aide assured a caller. "This is the first time in 24 years he's taken any early time."
Reps. Flynt and Robert L.F. Sikes (D-Fla.), anothe retiring member, spent part of their recess on a trip to the Middle East and Europe, representing their defense appropriations subcommittee. Obviously, they won't be around long to share the knowledge they gained.
Even the usually sober-sided Senate Majority Leader Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) joined in the manic atmosphere of late summer on Capitol Hill.
Just before the Senate recessed last week, he invited his colleagues to West Virginia to hear him play fiddle tunes from his forthcoming album.
In case you missed it, Byrd announced that his record will be available next month.