Closing Time

What to Expect During the Government Shutdown: Answers from The U.S. Department of Self-Infliction’s information portal


In the event of a government shutdown, the public is asked to return all paper money and coins to the U.S. Treasury Department or to your nearest Federal Reserve Bank, *before closing time at 4:30 P.M.*  Please have all currency counted, sorted and in  unsoiled and recycled paper bags or canvas sacks with a big “$” on the outside.  (“$$” in the case of $1,000 or more.) In return,  representatives of the Treasury Department will distribute equivalent value in the form of the following goods and services: livestock, pewter ingots, $25 gift certificates to Chilis, Army surplus herbicide (5-gallon containers), backrubs, and MySpace accounts.  Please make sure to get a receipt. You won’t need it, but we don’t want them piling up.

Airline and International Travel

 Government passport offices will close for the duration of the shutdown; travelers with emergency needs should staple  photographs of themselves to their “Miley Cyrus” outfits–see below–and be prepared to do convincing imitations of their congressmen filibustering.  Officers of the U.S. Customs and Immigration and Naturalization Services will remain on duty, but will probably be extra surly about that so, you know, watch it, and put on a good show. These officers  will grade the quality of performances on a 1-5 scale, with 1 allowing you to travel to Mexico, 2 to include Central America, 3 for the Azores and the Azores only, 4 to the rest of the world, and 5 to Utah. 

TSA employees will remain on duty in most U.S. airports, but the expensive scanners and metal detectors will be shut off to save on electricity, and a reduced staff of agents will perform a “manual/visual scan” for dangerous items. Please arrive at the airport in a “Miley Cyrus” (flip-flops are OK), with a maximum of 4 oz. worth of innocuous reading material,  in a clear plastic bag.  Grade-school librarians from across the nation have offered to be on hand to judge innocuousness and confiscate all Judy Blume publications. 

National Parks and Monuments

U.S. National Parks and Monuments will be closed until further notice.  If you are in the vicinity of a national monument, please refrain from unauthorized visual enjoyment of its historic beauty for the duration of the shutdown or total anarchy–whichever comes first.  Motorists in the vicinity of South Dakota Highway 244 near Mt. Rushmore are asked to just keep your eyes on the road until we can get Christo to drape the carvings. All DVDs of “North by Northwest” will be confiscated; the Corn Palace, also in South Dakota, will be super-heated with flame-throwers until it pops into unrecognizability; and members of the National Network of Nonagenarian Nudists will be in volunteer attendance at many points near Niagara Falls, to help visitors resist sightseeing.  

Department of Transportation

Travelers should be advised that interstate highway traffic will be adversely affected by thousands of furloughed federal employees with a sudden surfeit of time on their hands and a mistaken belief that “apple-picking” and/or “leaf-peeping” is going to wind up being good way to get out of town for the duration.  After blowing the last of their savings on predatorily priced mugs of cider and hideously expensive Bed-and-Breakfast packages in towns that turn out to be surrounded by nothing but evergreens and shuttered national parks, these frustrated souls in their automotive wanderings will likely take it out on fellow drivers – tailgating, changing lanes without signaling, the whole bit.    

Center for Disease Control

 CDC labs are going to close a couple hours ahead of the official shutdown, because traffic is going to be murder (see “Department of Transportation” above).  We’ve got a LOT of test cultures in the lab that we need somebody to look after while we’re gone –Can we get some volunteers?  Most important is the Ebola – ideal case is somebody who’s got an extra fridge in the garage – but we also have a very cute (that is, lethal) strain of bird flu and some rhinoviruses that need a lot of TLC.  We’ve also got some of your SARS, your MRSA, your Weaponized Strep, all looking for a home.   Perfect for the patriotic single person with some time on her hands and maybe her own respirator.  Call Jerry at x6782.  THANKS!!!

Medicare and Social Security

Please be assured that Needful and Urgent medical services will remain uninterrupted.  To find out what “Needful and Urgent” means please file a Medicare Services Inquiry form with the Central Inquiry Services Bureau office in Tempe, AZ *before closing time at 4:30 P.M.*  Once government offices re-open, a Medicare Services Inquiry Bureau Representative will respond to your query within 10 business days.

Social Security checks will be issued on schedule.  Federal printing presses will be inoperative for the duration; please bring a blank piece of paper to your local Social Security Office, and somebody will write a note on it for your bank.  Wendy and Carlos P. here both really enjoy calligraphy, so if you want something sort of “old-timey” looking, ask for one of them.

Your Congressional Representatives

The 27th Amendment assures that members of Congress continued to be paid throughout any shutdown of the government.  But with everybody else out of the office, well, there’s really not much to do until this whole crazy thing blows over!  If you need to find any of us, your best bet is to come on down to “The 27th Amendment” on J Street – Tuesday night is karaoke!

Bill Tipper is probably going to be furloughed.