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Published February 26, 2014

Michigan Democrat John Dingell is retiring after 59 years in the House of Representatives. How long is 59 years? Here's Dingell's career by the numbers

  • Birthdays Since Arriving in Congress: 59.
  • Filibusters initiated: 32. Dingell is a quiet lawmaker but he has stood to "talk-kill" legislation on more than two dozen occasions. 
  • Filibusters lost due to being tricked into thinking there was free pizza outside: 32. Dingell is famous for his love of 'za, and no matter how many times political opponents used the "Pizza in the Foyer" ruse, it never stopped working. Insiders know: if a lawmaker enters the Congressional chamber chewing a slice and remarking loudly about how juicy the pepperoni is, you could bet they were trying to derail John Dingell.
  • On-record committee discussions of "fisting":  13. When you're in the House for 59 years, your hearings end up covering a LOT of ground, and on more than a dozen occasions, Dingell-led policy debates have ventured into discussions of the infamous hand-based sex act. (Most of those occurred in the short-lived House Select Committee on Miscellaneous.)  
  • New Years Eve Celebrations Since Arriving in Congress: 59.
  • Elections lost: 4. Most people don't realize voters have removed Dingell from office four times, only to have the crusty old salt refuse to acknowledge the election results. After the fourth attempt, voters stopped trying to unseat him and he has been securely in office ever since.  
  • Pages of legislation authored: ca. 106,500. Numerous influential laws, including the Clean Air Act. 
  • Pages of legislation about Lucille Ball: 23,393. Dingell is extremely proud to hail from the same state as the Queen of Comedy, and seized every opportunity to make sure others knew. What began as harmless proclamations eventually became lengthy "Whereas Lucille Ball was born in Michigan…" subsections in otherwise unrelated legislation. 
  • Congressional Summers: 59.
  • Pairs of giant scissors: 35. Smart politicians hang on to the novelty scissors they are given to cut the ribbon at new developments and infrastructure projects, and Dingell is nothing if not savvy: his closet now contains nearly three dozen oversized choppers. There's no end to the list of things he can use those for, so he's looking pretty good as far as a fun retirement goes. 
  • Congressmen served with: 2,448. From Watkins Abbitt to Clement Zablocki.
  • Congressmen served with who are dumber than Rick Santorum: 3. Five-plus decades is a long time so it's no surprise the House has welcomed many dimwits in that time. But it might surprise you to learn Dingell has served long enough to see three lawmakers who were even dumber pieces of shit than Rick Santorum. (Although it's worth nothing they all served in the 1950s, so if you adjust their stupidity for year, Santorum's dumber.) 
  • Dollars spent at the Congressional grocery store: $43,175. Fifty-nine years means a lot of grocery bills racked up at the Congressional supermarket -- located directly underneath House chambers -- even for a notorious coupon-clipper like Dingell. Employees, from the cashiers to the guys unloading the trucks in the back of the Capitol, say they simply can't imagine the place without Dingell's besuited frame ambling the aisles, placing the weekly sales items into his Congressional shopping cart. 
  • Rolling Stones Albums Released During His Tenure: 25. With more than two dozen studio albums, the Stones' longevity continues to impress. Any other band would have long since gone their separate ways but somehow the Stones have not only stayed together but also continued to rock. Experts say their persistence is a testament to Mick Jagger's charisma, Keith Richards' craftsmanship, and the entire band's professionalism. Whatever your view of their tunes, you have admit releasing that much music is an amazing achievement, and John Dingell was in Congress when they did it.
  • Congressional Desk Calendars Ordered: 59.
  • Jowls served with: 1,713. House members are known for their fat, sweaty jowls and in 59 years Dingell has certainly seen his share. If that number seems high, remember that a single congressman or congresswoman can have as many as three fleshy cheek-droopings. 
  • Retirements: 7. Dingell has actually retired seven times before but, as with the losing elections, simply refused to leave his office when the new term began. Congressional observers say there's virtually no chance this week's "retirement" announcement will end in Dingell actually vacating his seat, unless election officials can lure him out of the building with a fresh pepperoni pizza. 
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