This way! (Linda Davidson / Washington Post)

Yes, it’s true. If the government shuts down at midnight, the panda cam will go.

How do we deal with this brutal fact? Try what I do: constant, myopic fits of mind-bending denial! We have to take comfort in the little things. Sure, Ted Cruz talked for hours and hours and ran out the clock with no tangible result. But on the upside, he didn’t talk for hours and hours and then kill a panda with his bare hands. Sure, the government might shut down on Tuesday, but at least Congress will still get paid.

You can face the uncomfortable facts, or you can wrap yourself snugly in a cocoon of spin. Spin far enough and almost anything can sound like a good idea.

Here are some examples.

Fact: Ted Cruz talks for hours and hours, accomplishes nothing, runs out clock.
Spin: Ted Cruz believes that government does not work. He is just putting his beliefs into practice.

Fact: Congress is at the precise level of dysfunction where you can’t say for certain that there will be a government tomorrow, which is a notch above “O’Neill Play” as dysfunction levels go.
Spin: But a notch below “August: Osage County.”

Fact: The government might actually shut down, which hasn’t happened in 17 years.
Spin: Seventeen years ago was the ’90s! Everyone loves the ’90s! If something happened in the ’90s, how bad could it have been?

Fact: If the government shuts down, Obamacare will still be implemented on schedule. So this isn’t a case of cutting off your nose to spite your face, because cutting off your nose does actually damage your face, whereas this is like cutting off the other parts of your face to spite your nose but not touching your nose.
Spin: Under Obamacare, you might be covered for this kind of hideous facial disfigurement.

Fact: In general, Congress has been acting like I used to act in college, where I would totally ignore all long-term projects until the day before they were due, then I would make a big fuss about what a martyr I was, and then I would do a mediocre job on the project just in time for the deadline, even though I had plenty of time to actually come up with something decent, but I would feel really proud and vindicated for having managed to avoid work for most of the semester.
Spin: Congress is composed entirely of grown adults, so clearly they have a better reason for what they are doing.

Fact: A number of economists suggest that this kind of brinkmanship could seriously damage our long-term economic prospects and injure our fragile recovery, especially if it continues into the debt-ceiling debate in two weeks!
Spin: Who would have thought the word “brinksmanship” would come up in conversation so often? Brinksmanship is a hilarious word!

Fact: Congress lately has been doing a really good impression of a drunk goat tossing your baby over a pit of flames, where the baby in this case is the “still-not-entirely-recovered economy.”
Spin: What a vivid image that is! Also, adversity builds character! People are always complaining that millennials are shiftless good-for-nothings! With this caliber of adversity, imagine what a generation we’ll become!

Fact: Under a shutdown, up to 97 percent of NASA employees will be furloughed!
Spin: That’s one less chance to run into alien life, which everyone knows would probably be better technologically equipped than we are and not have our best interests at heart!

Fact: The panda cam goes if the government shuts down.

Uh, the universe is vast and indifferent! The sun will burn out in 5 million years and all human works will be destroyed. So really, does anything matter?

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