I've been "serving" the great state of Montana in the U.S. Senate since 1978. You'll notice I put "serving" in quotes, because, let's face it, I suck. My wife has been pleading with me not to say this publicly, insisting that it's not true, that I'm a capable and dedicated public servant, blah, blah, blah. Bless her dear heart, but she's just being nice. Because, folks, I am telling you, I am hands-down the shittiest senator in the history of the Senate. The worst.

The other day, I was in my office, thumbing through some old pieces of legislation I'd either authored or co-sponsored. The whole time, I was thinking, "Christ, what a hack I am." Take my 1993 masterwork, S.915, the Semiconductor Investment Act. Section 2a of the bill states, "IN GENERAL–Section 168(e)(3)(A) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (relating to three-year property) is amended by striking 'and' at the end of clause (i), by striking the period at the end of clause (ii), and by inserting at the end the following: '(iii) any semiconductor manufacturing equipment.'"

What the hell is that shit? As I recall, it had something to do with semiconductor manufacturing equipment. But you'd never know, what with the way I buried its meaning under a tidal wave of I-know-all-the-fancy-schmancy-bill-writing lingo. I was trying to look like Mr. Big Shot, but little did I know what a conceited ass I came off as. When the bill was pitched, Sen. Bob Packwood (R-OR) was nice enough to say some introductory words of support on the floor. But now I think he was just embarrassed for me and wanted to help a fellow senator save face, however little I deserved it. I forget what happened to that bill. Hopefully, it died without ever coming to a vote.

There's a huge stack of old bills in my office, each containing tons of that sort of hackwork. I'm tempted to burn down the entire Hart Office Building and cleanse the planet of every physical trace of my senatorial presence. But, no, that wouldn't do any good, because every facet, every aspect of my incredible suckiness is piledriven into the memories of those I so ineptly represent.

God. God. I am so, so, so sorry, folks.

Here's another stupid-ass thing I did. Every Wednesday, when the Senate is in session, I invite Montanans who happen to be in Washington to stop by my office to enjoy an informal breakfast with my staff and myself. It's a way for me to keep abreast of the needs of my constituents. A neat idea, right? Well, it would be, if I weren't actually there, fucking things up.

Anyway, one morning, this very nice woman named Shirley Besser, who is from my hometown of Helena, stopped by while vacationing in D.C. She wanted to know why I supported permanent normal trade relations with China, given its oppressive government and history of human-rights violations. I thought this was a good question, and I started to say, "Well, Sheila..." But, before I could say another word, she interrupted to point out that her name was Shirley. Stupid, son-of-a-bitch, no-listening-skills senator. She had just told me her name a second ago, and here I was, already forgetting it! I apologized profusely, but she just smiled politely and said it was okay. It wasn't.

Whether ladling too much stew onto the tray of a homeless person at a Missoula soup kitchen or making repeated mixed metaphors during a speech praising the efforts of those who fought Western wildfires last summer, I can't imagine why the people of Montana continue to put up with my crap.

I should just quit. Actually, I should have quit a long time ago. But I never did, because the people kept insisting I run for another term. I've been re-elected three times, and every time I am, I get the notion that maybe, if I made a real conscious effort, I could stop being such a lousy legislator.

I sometimes make an effort, but every time I do, before I know it, I've made another inexcusable flub like mentioning, during an appearance on Montana Politics Today, that the Gallatin Land Consolidation Act Of 1998 was introduced during the 104th Congress instead of the 105th. Christ on a crutch!

No, don't try to talk me out of it. I'm definitely quitting this time. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with myself once I leave the Senate, though. I can't go back to Montana, that's for sure. Facing all those constituents I failed so badly day after day, year after year? I don't think so. Maybe I'll go to Maine instead. No one knows me there. Set up a small law practice, hang my shingle, buy a quaint little saltbox on the outskirts of Bangor. Of course, I'm sure I'd somehow manage to fuck up everything there, too. What the hell was I thinking? God, I'm such a bonehead. I should go live in a cave somewhere, someplace far away from all humanity where I can't poison everything I touch.

So, people from the great state of Montana, forget you ever even heard the name Max Baucus. Max Baucus... more like Trash... Ruckus.

I can't even pun well.