Gettin' Crunk With Congress

By Marc Dion

January 2, 2012 5 min read

You can just say, "I met her in the club," and your friends will probably know you mean the club nearest to your apartment.

For those of you camped out in a lawn suburb, an urban club is a bar with dance facilities, multicolored lights and a fellow choosing the music who is known as "DJ Maxx Force." The club is invariably located in a disused industrial building where workers once manufactured something now made in China. Cover charge is $4, $3 domestic bottled beer on Tuesday, ladies get in for free on Wednesdays, Ultimate Fighting on six big screens. The club is always huge because if the owners want to have a $2,000 night, they need to get 200 people in the joint. The female bartenders are young and shellacked into sexiness. Male bartenders work at the old man bars on the smaller streets.

Congress, like the club, requires entry money, sometimes millions, but the drinks are free. If you got DJ Newty Newt workin' the turntable, it's gonna be a money night. Bankers and other rich people admire politicians for the same reason poor guys in the club admire the DJ. He may not have a real job, but he can make people listen, he's catnip to the girls, and his choice of music defines how you dance. Best of all, he'll play anything for money.

The guys at the club swing from throwback jersey gangsta to black-jeans-untucked-striped-shirt-cuffs-turned-back-once, but the girls, heavy-thighed daughters of McDonald's, sparkle in sequined slip dresses, cut low, hiked high and those $6 discount shoe store high heels that burst at the sides after the sixth wearing.

That sequin glam doesn't ride if you want to be the front-runner's wifey, but there is a uniform. Sack the low-cut for the two-piece primary-color suit, skirt an inch over the knee, black stockings, blunt-cut hair and big jewelry.

The young girls at the club fade so fast, like roses in an overheated apartment. Couple kids, couple daddies gone fast enough to leave skid marks, and they're done, faded into cat ownership and a coffee shop job.

The women on the upper end last and last and last, like collector dolls you handle gently and then put right back in the package. Still skinny at 50, still capable of an "affair" at 51 — "affair" being a term used to describe the sexual mistakes of anyone who ends up in the bed of a married politician. Find yourself in the sheets with a married auto mechanic, and you get another name.

The names roll, though. Coming out of an urban club called "Club Champagne" with a girl named "Callista" is at least as likely as emerging from the same joint with a girl named "Destiny" or "Skye," a touch of magic.

I like the poor better than the rich because the rich have only one story, which is an endless retelling of how hard work raised them, rewarded and confirmed their superiority despite the choking hand of a socialist government.

The poor tell stories about war, about the kind of job where you take your smoke breaks just outside the steel door in the back of the building, about babies born with a hole in the heart and, always, about tragedies involving abandonment and amounts of money under $1,000.

But the poor and the rich are alike in that stealing, lying, liquor, sex and drugs are everyone's narrow, boring palette of sin. It's why so many good preachers preach so often on the same vices, because there are so few vices.

And that's why I see that link between the club at the bottom of Any Urban Avenue and the club on Capitol Hill, because every kind of life has its uniform and its cliches.

One difference between Capitol Hill and the club. These days, there are more veterans at the club than there are in Congress, which mans that, if vice is universal, virtue is not.

Turn up the music.

To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit

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