WASHINGTON—Following Tuesday’s government shutdown, which furloughed the jobs of all federal employees not considered to perform essential government functions, National Gallery of Art facilities manager Don Henning confirmed to reporters that the last thing he needed at this point in his life was to be called a nonessential employee. “Well, this is just great. I’m already working 60 hours per week in a low-paying job with horrible hours and zero perks, and now I’m officially being told that I could straight up stop going to work at all and it would not ‘essentially’ change anything,” the 49-year-old husband and father told reporters, noting that after more than two decades living basically paycheck to paycheck with no real chance of upward mobility, the one thing missing from his life was a furlough notice from the government informing him that what he does for a living is essential to absolutely nothing. “Listen, I get that my job could disappear at any minute and it wouldn’t matter to anyone. I can read between the lines. But there’s no need to tell me in a personally addressed letter that it’s actually better for the government’s survival if I’m not working than if I am. I mean, Christ, my self-esteem is low enough as it is.” At press time, Henning confirmed to reporters that, given the circumstances, 3 p.m. on a Tuesday was definitely not too early to start drinking.
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