The Washington Post

Line-sitting legend seeks ninja sidekick

Professional linestanders go through security while entering the Hart Senate office Building. (Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

In a town full of movers and shakers, some people prefer to remain still. Quiet. Ninja-like.

An ad on Craigslist is seeking (make that “DS,” for “desperately seeking”) a “professionally dressed individual” willing to remain serenely occupied for hours on end. The purpose?

Waiting in line for congressional hearings. The gig pays $10 an hour to someone willing to hold a place in a line for coveted seats at various hearings, meetings, and other sessions on Capitol Hill.

But this is no run-of-the-mill line-standing position. The ad was posted by Robert Herzog, something of a legend in the annals of Washington line-standing. Just about any story about line-sitters includes a quote from him, and in a 2005 Washington Post story, he’s referred to as “the ninja...because of his mystical immobility.”

Herzog, it seems, is looking for someone willing to emulate his own stoic motionlessness. “I am looking for individuals who will remain quiet and still as myself,” he writes in the Craigslist ad. He suggests that the applicant spend the time “quietly studying.”

Herzog, a 14-year line-standing veteran, tells the Loop that it’s hard to find reliable people to work with him — the hours are unpredictable, and there’s little job security, he says. He recently had a guy with two masters’ degrees show up for a few shifts. “It’s maybe not the best job in the world,” he admits.

Dream applicants surely include those street performers who pose as statues, or, perhaps, an out-of-work, actual ninja.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


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