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6/8/04 -- Pres Mourn.

As you might remember if you've listened to me bitch about it over the years, The Big Company prides itself on never closing. For anything.

Okay, that's not entirely true. They did eventually send us all home on 9/11, and when the Exploding Manholes of Doom knocked out the power lines that service the company's main building. They even sent people home on the day that Hurricane Isabelle blew through town last year. (That one seemed particularly unkind. I didn't bother going in that day because Metro had closed for the entire day -- a shocker, and something I really can't remember happening up to then -- and I felt very sorry for the people who came in just to be told at 10:30 to turn around and go back home, right as the rain and the wind were really starting to pick up. Sheesh.)

So of course they aren't about to close because of some dead ex-president. But thanks to some arcane and rarely-invoked union rules, if the federal government shuts down because of a day of mourning, the Big Company has to give us an extra day of personal leave that we can use to go mourn. This whole foofaraw has caused quite the flurry of broadcast e-mails from the company brass. Today we learned that they're adding a whole new category to our electronic timecards to accommodate this: Presidential Mourning, shortened to Pres Mourn. There is something so quintessentially Washington Wonk about this solution that I can't help but laugh. You'd think that at some point it'd just be easier to give everyone the day off.

Am I going to go mourn the Pres? I doubt it, but I've been entertaining the idea of going to see the funeral procession to the Capitol building tomorrow night. And I'm not even sure why. There's a voice in my head saying "Y'know, this is history happening in your backyard, lazy-ass." And another voice saying "What are you, nuts? It's going to be super-hot and ultra-crowded, and you didn't even really like the guy." I don't know. It's complicated. Reagan was inaugurated when I was 12 and left office when I was 20; he was an everpresent figure during my teenage years. There's something there calling to me that has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the passing of another icon from my youth.

(As for the politics, I don't plan to get into politics too much here. It's not that I don't care -- I've come to care rather a lot over the last year, actually -- but that I don't feel as if I've got much to add to all the voices already out there. If you're into political rant sites I've no doubt that you've already got dozens of those sites bookmarked, all of which are much better at political ranting than I am.)