Barney Frank Leaves Congress, Won't 'Pretend Everything is Wonderful'

The Boston Globe has interviewed Barney Frank, along with some of his friends and fellow representatives, as he prepares to leave office and take up private life, where he will hopefully find a way to capitalize on his increasing resemblance to the late Buddy Hackett. There are a lot of wonderful takeaways in this article, assuming you choose not to focus on the recent redistricting or the current state of the House of Representatives but instead on the fun stuff.

Barney Frank is couch-surfing:

The lease on his Capitol Hill apartment has expired, forcing him to crash at a fellow lawmaker's.

The image of a 32-year House veteran ("known for his barbs as much as his intellect," the Globe helpfully reminds us) tucked into a friend's couch for the night is very nearly too delightful to bear. It's right up there with the thought of permanent houseguest Orson Welles tearing through Peter Bogdanovich's office back in the 1970s to catch the "Dick Van Dyke Show" (Welles, apparently, adored "The Dick Van Dyke Show." Who knew!).

He has a mechanized stenographer:

He's making the rounds on political talk shows and penning - actually, speaking into a Dictaphone - op-ed columns on the need to slash military spending as the fiscal cliff looms.

I was ready to jump on this one as a needlessly archaic affectation, but it turns out that Dictaphones are still being produced and are apparently quite useful when it comes to transcribing medical notes. Point Frank.

He, along with other retiring or defeated Representatives, have banded together to form a makeshift society:

The team has since been dispersed, some shunted to a makeshift work space in a basement cafeteria now dubbed "Cube City," where retiring members, or those who lost, bide time until the new Congress is sworn in next month.

The Mayor of Cube City must defeat all challengers in single combat. Any wanderer who accidentally stumbles upon Cube City must agree to remain there forever and join their ersatz civilization or else face the judgment of the Tribunal.

He will be appearing on Broadway:

A producer friend had asked Pingree to secure Frank for a walk-on part in "Fiorello!", a Broadway musical about former mayor Fiorello LaGuardia of New York.

She asked Frank on the House floor between votes. He accepted; the show, he said, was one of his favorites.

Something about Listserv:

Frank says he is hiring a part-time secretary and signing up for his first e-mail address.

Still Barney after all these years:

But Frank's departure from Washington is not all backslaps and champagne. Frank has accused Edward Markey, the dean of the delegation, of having been unwilling to exert influence on state lawmakers when they redrew district boundaries last year. Markey has said his role was to assure that the state's congressional seats remain in Democratic hands rather than to protect individual members.

So as of now, there are no plans to fete the second-longest serving member of the notoriously clubby Massachusetts delegation whose members refer to each other as Jimmy (McGovern), Richie (Neal) and Eddie (Markey).

"I'm sure something's in the works," McGovern said. "Ask Eddie."

"We'll figure it out. We'll figure it out," Markey said.

"I do not want anything," Frank said. "I do not want to pretend everything is wonderful."

[Image via Getty Images]