Observing US:
A column about America,
by Marylaine Block
originally published by
Fox News Online, 1998-2000

#19, October 30, 1998


by Marylaine Block

Dick Armey doesn't know what a muppet is, George Bush didn't know how grocery stores work, and everybody in Congress thinks you can control the internet by passing a law.

Does this suggest our politicians aren't living in the same world we are? Maybe the time has come to ask those who want to represent us to pass a little quiz to see if they understand the way most of us live.

  1. If in your job, you had only one duty, and one year to perform it in, and two weeks after the end of that year it was only half done and you were packing to go on vacation, what would your boss do?

    Score 20 points if you said "fire my ass."
    Deduct 20 if you said "re-elect me."

  2. A. Who in your household knows how to program the VCR?
    B. Who will program the V-chip to protect kids from violent TV programs?

    Score 10 if you said "a parent" in part A.
    Score 10 if you said "a parent" in part B.
    Deduct 20 points if the only ones who know how the machine works are the kids.

  3. A family of three spends how much per month on groceries? (Please add $50 if whiny children shop with you.)

    Score 10 if you said $400 or more. Deduct 10 if you figured $321 or less (the amount the US Department of Agriculture considers "thrifty").

  4. If that family lives on one minimum wage income, how much does it have left after grocery shopping for all other expenses?

    That lowball $321 a month comes to $3,852 a year. Subtract that from $10,712.00. Score 20 if you figured that'd leave about $581 a month for rent, clothes, electricity, etc.

  5. Who is Barney?

    Score 20 points if you said a big purple dinosaur.
    Deduct 20 if you said Barney Frank. You have been in Washington too long.

  6. Have you ever filled out your own income tax forms using the helpful instructions supplied by the IRS?

    Score 50 points if you've ever done it. We want YOU rewriting the tax code.
    Score zero if you always use an accountant.

  7. How much time do you spend each day listening to voice mail options and waiting on hold?

    Score 20 points if you said 5 minutes or longer.
    If you don't understand the question, deduct 20.

  8. Suppose, like Cary Grant in North by Northwest, you had to flee New York with only the cash in your wallet (no credit cards allowed). How far would you get?

    Score 20 points if your money gave out in Trenton.
    Score 10 for Philadelphia.
    If you made it to the Black Hills, deduct 20 - you are not one of us.

  9. When you need a doctor,
    A. How long before you can get an appointment?
    B. How long are you in the waiting room before you're taken to the examining room and asked to take off your clothes?
    C. How long do you shiver in a paper gown before the doctor appears?

    Score 10 for two or more weeks to get the appointment.
    Score 10 for half an hour in the waiting room.
    Score 10 for 15 minutes or more in the examining room.
    If you are unclear on the concept "wait," deduct 30.

  10. How many Happy Meals do you have to buy to get your child a complete set of beanie babies?

    Score 10 if you said 22, which is correct.
    Score 5 if you said 40 or more - you're objectively wrong, but it will have seemed like 40.
    If you said "What's a beanie baby?", (or a Happy Meal) deduct 15.

  11. Test of logical reasoning:

    Congress says pornography on the internet is depraved and illegal.
    Congress put the transcripts of Monica Lewinsky's testimony on the internet.

    If you said congress published pornography, give yourself 20 points.
    If you said "Thank God the Supreme Court ruled that law unconstitutional," give yourself 5 - at least you've learned something.
    If you didn't understand the question, deduct 10.

  12. If you cut our taxes, what services will you cut?

    If you said you wouldn't cut anything but waste and fraud, deduct 50 points.
    If you're willing to ask us which services we want, and how much we want to spend on each, and try to make those services work better, collect 50 points.


    If you deducted more than 100 points, do us a favor and retire on the lavish pension you voted yourself. It's still cheaper for us than letting you write any more laws.

    But if you scored over 250 points, where have you been all our lives? May we take you for our lawfully elected representative?

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