With less than 30 hours left before federal funding runs out, it’s time to start really worrying that we’re going to experience the first partial government shutdown since 1995.

Budget negotiations will continue tonight during a White House meeting between President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and I hope they agree on a funding bill that both political parties can accept. I don’t know what to expect, though; I’m not sure whether they actually will reach an agreement in time to avoid a partial government shutdown.

This is serious stuff, but I think an injection of humor is needed right now. Fortunately, TBS broadcast a 2007 episode of “The Office” today wherein Darryl asks Michael for a pay raise. During the negotiation meeting, Michael loses the upper hand (if he ever had it) when Darryl notices he is wearing a woman’s suit. That prompts the following reflection from Michael:

“Negotiations are all about controlling things, about being in the driver’s seat, and you make one tiny mistake, you’re dead. I made one tiny mistake: I wore a woman’s clothes.”

Keep that advice in mind tonight, guys. Don’t wear women’s clothing to the negotiation meeting. Not only would you lose control of the negotiations, but it might make Boehner cry, too.

Actor Steve Carell’s 7-year run as Michael Scott comes to an end on Thursday, April 28, and “The Office” will miss him. Will Ferrell’s four-episode arc as Michael’s temporary replacement, Deangelo Vickers, begins next week. Michael’s permanent replacement will be revealed during the season finale on Thursday, May 19.

Let’s hope that if a government shutdown takes place, it’s over before then.

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