Dear Congressman Cravaack,
As you can probably tell from the more serious emails I’ve sent you, we disagree on a lot of stuff politically. Even so, I’m pretty sure that these kinds of demanding letters from constituents get old, so I wanted to send you a less serious note.
As my wife and I didn’t support you in the 2010 campaign, it may come as surprise that your name is mentioned quite often in our household, and in a very positive sense. You see, we have a dachshund named Bullwinkle, and he’s got a lot of toys. His favorite, far and away, is a chipmunk that was known as “Squirrel” until the 2010 Midterm Elections. This name was problematic for so many reasons, not only was it scientifically inaccurate, but it was also pretty uninspired.
Chip Cravaack, meet Chip Cravaack.
A few days after the 2010 election was over, my wife and I were playing with the dog, when he came up to us and dropped the chipmunk toy at our feet. My wife immediately yelled out “It’s Chip Cravaack!” The name stuck, and now anytime we say, “Go get Chip Cravaack” he runs around frantically looking for your plush doppelganger—on the couch, under the bed, etc. Inevitably, he finds his favorite chipmunk and a ten hour long stretch of fetch begins.
But please don’t think that our name choice is an insult; it’s not. “Chip” is actually his favorite toy, and the only one he hasn’t utterly destroyed. (Congressman, I think this means he would vote for you.) Usually when he gets a new toy, there is fluff everywhere in about eight seconds, and then our living room floor is covered in all these little clouds, as if we were trying to use the polyester as a really primitive weather forecasting tool, like augury or reading tea leaves.
And not only is your namesake not destroyed, but your name brings about a great deal of joy to an adorable dachshund. Nonetheless, just to show that I’m impartial, I’ve renamed another dog toy “Jim Oberstar.” It was previously known as “the faceless dog.”
Clearly, you’re getting the better deal here, but after the lackluster campaign Oberstar ran, this seems fair. I mean, he sort of assumed he’d just win another term and didn’t see to take the race seriously until you started rising in the polls. By then, it was a bit late—and even his ads were pretty haphazard. The one attack ad I remember was about Singapore(?!) and really didn’t make any sense.
Anyway, enough about dog toys. So I noticed that in your official portrait, you look really, really surprised. Were you really nervous before the big photo—I would have been—and did the official portrait photographer make you laugh by suddenly producing a pair of stuffed animals resembling Nancy Pelosi and John Boehner and pushing their plush faces together so it looked like they were kissing? If so, yuck.
The Official House of Representatives Portrait of Chip Cravaack
While I know you get an official portrait, do house members get an official painting, like governors and presidents do? If so, do you get to decide the artistic style of the artist assigned to create it? I mean, what if they are cubist and you end up having a tetrahedron for a head? Abstract expressionist house portraits might be problematic too, as you could end up being a bunch of paint swirls on a canvas, or a half dozen overlapping rectangles in muted colors.
If I were a Congressman and were having my official portrait done, I’d have a comic book artist draw me—that way I could look all heroic and daring and they could depict me fighting against my nemeses—the Chicago White Sox, giraffes, and onions. In your case, maybe you could go with an Adam Smith reference and call yourself The Invisible Hand; you could have a big cape emblazoned with dollar signs. (You could also call yourself the Free Marketeer.) Your nemesis could be a large pile of anthropomorphized money simply referred to as “Red Ink.”
Anyway, let me know what you think, and our political differences aside, thanks for serving in the House.
P.S. This is a writing project of sorts. I’d love a response.
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Photo courtesy of: http://cravaack.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=86§iontree=2,86