David Kessler gets choked up as volunteers (mostly with Friends of the National Zoo, or FONZ) say goodbye after giving him a memento(a framed quote he often ends his talks with) in thanks for his service at the Small Mammal House in the National Zoo in Washington DC. (Photo by Logan Mock-Bunting/For the Washington Post)

I followed David Kessler, the National Zoo’s longest-serving keeper, on his last day and wrote about it for the Post Magazine. He’d worked at the Zoo for almost 40 years, and the relationships he’d made with William the gibbon and Molly the lemur demonstrated a kind of unconditional love that’s pretty rare in humans. It also showed him to be tremendously dedicated and passionate about his job. Which, I am assuming, prompted this reader to comment on the story, comparing Kessler’s work to Congress’s and general anti-fed rhetoric that gets bandied about when it’s time to cut budgets:

What a nice tribute. By the way, Congress, THIS is a federal employee.

That comment was posted March 7. On March 12, the story, as part of a tribute to Kessler by Senator Pat Leahy, was entered into the Congressional Record. (I can’t tell if this means Senator Leahy actually read the phrase “flaccid penis with buck teeth” on the Senate floor, but it is officially in fancy old-newspaper font available now in pdf.)

But on to important matters: can this be PROOF that, as I’ve long suspected, Senators read all the messages addressed to them in the reader comments to Washington Post stories? Let’s say yes. “Least productive” “least popular” and “do-nothing” Congress, my foot. Commenters, THIS is a Senator.

After 39 years of service David S. Kessler, the longest-serving keeper at the National Zoo in Washington, is leaving. (Gabe Silverman/The Washington Post)