Debate has a vaunted place in American history. There were the Lincoln-Douglas debates, and the Kennedy-Nixon debates. I’m told there are almost daily debates between George W. Bush’s advisors about whether the President has sufficiently mastered the use of the letter “B” to move on to learning the use of the letter “C.”

And it’s not only politics; people debate whether OJ Simpson is really looking hard enough for the real killer (I say yes!). And I don’t know, but I imagine that recording executives frequently debate whether Celine Dion should be allowed to make another album, or should instead be tied to a spit, fed to Grizzly bears, and have her remains sent deep into the Earth’s magma.

It was this history that haunted me as I stood up to debate my first bill on the House Floor. I was also somewhat intimidated by the new and arcane rules of protocol that govern the House. For example, I learned that the word “douchebag” is almost never appropriate. In fact, Representatives bend over backwards to refer to each other with glowing, flowery epithets. “The Honorable Representative” is often heard, as is “My Esteemed Colleague.” I just resolved to remember to always refer to any fellow-rep addressing me in similarly flattering terms. Thusly, the debate began.

Me
…and so in short, Mr. Speaker, my bill would create what I call a “Pilot Credit Card Debt Forgiveness Program,” to see if it is a good idea statewide.

Representative Puckerman
Mr. Speaker, I rise to see if I may interrogate my distinguished colleague.

Me
Mr. Speaker, I would be happy to be interrogated by the Most Amply Rotund Gentleman.

Representative Puckerman
Excuse me?

Speaker
You may commence the interrogation.

Representative Puckerman
Mr. Speaker, I was wondering if the most learned Representative’s bill only applies to a very small group of beneficiaries whose credit card debt would just be forgiven?

Me
I would say to the Senior Representative of Cambria County, whose girth and receding hairline are surely a sign of virility, that it is true that my pilot program is rather small.

Representative Puckerman
Did you say “Receding Hairline?”

The Speaker
The interrogation may continue.

Representative Puckerman
And is it also not true that when my most wise and just friend from the Southeast says that his pilot program of credit card forgiveness is small, he means that it applies only to him?

Me
I thank you for the question, oh sage-like colleague, whose wife is surely more attractive than the pictures of her would
lead one to believe…

Representative Puckerman
Hey!!

The Speaker
The gentleman from Montgomery County will answer the question.

Me
Mr. Speaker, it is not true that the bill mentions me as the only participant in the credit card debt forgiveness pilot program. It is just that I coincidentally happen to be the only person we’ve yet found who fits the criteria for the program. Namely,
being from a suburban county, having over $20,000 in credit card debt, being under 65 years of age, weighing 203 pounds, having a cat he calls “Foamster,” and a first name rhyming with “Maylin.” If the good member from Cambria County, whose corpulent face only scares children who are weak-natured, can find other people who fit that criteria, we’d be happy to include them in the program.

At this point, Representative Puckerman leapt across several desks, in what appeared to be an attempt to reach my throat. He was restrained by about a dozen large security guards, who almost seemed to be expecting the attack. I guess some people can’t handle being disagreed with. Regrettably, my “Credit Card Debt Forgiveness Pilot Program” went down to a rather lopsided defeat. However, I am far more optimistic about my “Guys-with-Ping-Pong-Tables-in-their-Basement” tax credit bill, which comes up next week. I hope Puckerman gets himself together by then.

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