How a Bill Becomes a Law

The title of this post is admittedly deceptive, because it’s not really about how a bill becomes a law at all — I just wanted to create blog-intrigue with a governmental headline. But then again, it kind of is about how a bill becomes a law (in a strange, abstract way). But really it’s more about my penchant for over-analysis on all levels of dating, like every other post.

So. I went out with this guy last week. I’m going to refer to him as Mason, because that’s kind of an uncommon first name, and his real first name is a more common first name, and I’m thinking that maybe giving him an uncommon first name will ensure anonymity, which I MUST do this time, because Mason is kind of a political figure and I don’t want to get assassinated. (So many commas in my life.)

With that in mind, here are some random details about Mason that may or may not be totally false, but that I would like to include anyways purely to create confusion:

  • He is from Indonesia.
  • Our date took place in Missouri.
  • His favorite musical artist is Susan Boyle.
  • He was once a contestant on the classic nineties Nickelodeon game show Legends of the Hidden Temple, where he played for the Blue Barracudas and made it all the way to the final round but was dramatically captured by a Temple Guard in the Shrine of the Silver Monkey and was forced to relinquish his Pendant of Life moments before the clock ran out. He regards this as the worst day of his life.
  • He has purplish-beige hair.

So now that I’ve muddied the identifying-characteristic waters, let’s discuss.

I had a great time on our date. The conversation was natural, witty, and fun — unsurprising given that Mason is good-looking, smart, funny, and generally husband-able with a great career that makes me want to emulate Michelle Obama.

The next day, while taking a break for lunch, I discussed our date with my work-wife Jenny and ex-work-wife Kaci (“ex” in that she now works elsewhere, but was still available via instant message). I shared with them that, while I see serious potential with Mason, I’m worried that my lack of political knowledge may lead him to believe that I’m an idiot.

I’m used to always feeling adequately intelligent when it comes to most conversational topics, but political discussions tend to make me feel like a total dumbass who shouldn’t be allowed to vote — so I usually avoid them altogether, knowing that I can’t back up any of my arbitrary opinions with anything more substantial than Mariah Carey lyrics or the fluctuation of ice cream prices.

However, I am obsessed with sounding like a smart person, so I have always intended to eventually wrap my head around politics. I figured Mason was the perfect excuse to finally take action. I did some Internet research and then had this (abridged, composite) conversation with Jenny and Kaci:

  • Nic: So I just read the entire Wikipedia entry of “Politics of the United States.” Should I text Mason and let him know that I’m now prepared to have a legitimate conversation of sorts?
  • Kaci: Yes. Perhaps you can talk about how a bill becomes a law.
  • Nic: Crap, I don’t know how a bill becomes a law! I must have skipped that part in Wikipedia when I got distracted re: the etymology of “suffrage.” That word is so misleading.
  • Jenny: Click here!

The link that Jenny provided was to a YouTube video of a classic Schoolhouse Rock episode about a singing bill that dreams of someday becoming a law. I construed this as a genius move and proceeded to watch the video in its entirety while making a mental note to send Jenny a “can I have your babies?” e-mail later in the afternoon.

I then of course browsed other politically-themed Schoolhouse Rock videos and started bombarding both Kaci and Jenny with links to them via IM like a five year old type-screaming, “I’m gonna be SO GOOD AT POLITICS!” until I realized that Schoolhouse Rock could only teach me the basics of government policy, and that I’d need to read something vaguely current to be able to contribute meaningfully to a discussion about Obama’s approval ratings or the civil implications of Chick-fil-A’s stance on gay rights.

Then I remembered that one of my favorite authors, Helena Andrews, used to work for, so I Googled everything she ever wrote for them.

Somewhere in the midst of brilliant articles about which Senators make for the meanest bosses and the relevance of politically-themed feature films, I developed a genuine interest in politics that now has me compulsively checking Politico on an hourly basis. I even tweeted about the Texas Senate Runoffs last night.

Whether or not things work out with Mason, I think this is awesome — especially since this new interest has developed just in time for a presidential election. I totally plan on forming opinions and learning names of important people and using words like caucus, straw poll, and paleoconservative. Because after all — according to both Wikipedia and Schoolhouse Rock — it is my civic responsibility.



  1. Love your post. I ended up marrying a politician. If it works out I’ll teach you how to paste the Spouses Smile on your face during long boring dinners.

  2. Another reason I married my husband – because my Schoolhouse Rock knowledge of politics is just enough to make him think I’m smart.

  3. UGH I went through the same thing when I started dating my boyfriend. True story, he once asked me a question about some politician I never heard of, so I spilled my wine on purpose to create a distraction. Worked like a charm.

  4. I remember watching that School House Rocks video on the bill when I was a kid. That is absolutely classic.
    Anyway, I can see you definitely like this guy and all I can say is that I hope someday I meet a girl who would go through all that trouble for me. That was like OCD Romantic. Loved it.

  5. Good for you. I personally prefer to stuff my fingers in my ears whenever my boyfriend turns on election coverage and yell at him to make the unpleasant noises stop.

    • Haha. That was EXACTLY my first instinct, but for some reason I got sucked into genuinely caring — beware of this if you ever start perusing political blogs!

  6. Excellent post, and I’m glad to have found your blog. In my line of work, I need to understand politics albeit laws and strategy within the UK. At first it was a nightmare but the key is “pick a starting point” and let it take you to places. Much like you, I too refrained from making a political-opinion only not because what I was saying was totally rubbish, at times it may have been, but because the fear of having to back-up my opinion. After plenty of trial and error, I have settled in and like the Political-area which in the past wasn’t for everyone – but now is.

    On that note, I realised you “liked” my post, and I was wondering if you could give some insight into my dilemma and why I get so much attraction. A comment over at my blog from you would be a great pleasure. For now, Your on my favourites list.

    • Thanks for the comment! Picking a starting point is definitely a solid strategy.

      Heading your way now to give my two cents!

  7. I still remember the damn words to I’m Just A Bill

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