Recent events have led some Texas state senators to conclude that their filibuster rules — which forbid eating, drinking, sitting, leaning, going off-topic, or leaving the senate floor for any reason — are too lax. The following are some new restrictions they’re considering:
1. If you’re a senator engaged in a filibuster, you must speak only in sentences that can be spelled out using a standard set of Scrabble tiles. For example, “the muzzled dog ran through the maze” is permissible, because it can be constructed using one Z tile and two blank tiles, while “the muzzled dog zigzagged through the maze” is not.
2. Vulgar language will not be permitted. Don’t say “pregnant” when you mean “expecting”. Don’t say “trans-vaginal” when you mean “through a lady’s special passageway”. Don’t say “rape kit“, ever.
3. During each sixty-minute period, you must say at least one sentence that uses every letter of the alphabet exactly once. Remember to stay on-topic.
4. The dress code will be strictly enforced. All senators must wear appropriate footwear. Appropriate footwear is defined as brown or black men’s dress shoes for normal senators and shoes of any color with at least a 3” heel for lady senators.
5. The president of the senate may, at any time, interrupt you and demand a numeric accounting of your speech. You will then have thirty seconds to respond with the total number of Scrabble points for all the words you’ve spoken while you’ve had the floor. The calculation should be performed as follows: use the face value of each Scrabble tile. Assume that blanks are used only when absolutely necessary. Assume no double- or triple- letter or word squares. Don’t forget to add the 50-point bonus for each 7-letter word.
6. In the past, senators have said “I yield for a question, but I do not yield the floor” in order to ensure they kept their right to speak after answering a question. This is no longer sufficient; in order to hold the floor, you must say “I yield for a question. Simon says I do not yield the floor.”
7. The president of the senate may, at any time, interrupt you to ask a question from a basic literacy test. You have twenty seconds to answer correctly.
8. Scrabble tiles are not permitted on the Senate floor.
9. The clock says whatever the governor says it says.