By Pete Kasperowicz - 12/14/11 11:16 PM EST
Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election in 2012, appeared on the House floor Wednesday in a t-shirt, jacket and with his left arm in a sling, but explained to members of the House that his injuries were minor.
"I deeply appreciate the solicitude of my colleagues on my appearance," he said. "I want to first assure them that there is much less here than meets the eye."
Frank said he wanted to explain it once to all members of the House so he would not have to repeat it, since "responding to it 400 times would seem a bit excessive."
"This had nothing to do with my retirement," he said. "At no point during my 31 years here was this ligament ever essential to the performance of my duties."
This isn't the first time Frank has shown up in a sling or discussed his health with his colleagues. He has also shown he gets tired when people show concern about an injury.
The longtime congressman memorably sent a memo to his colleagues in 2007 that told them he was wearing a sling after surgery to repair a tendon.
"I appreciate the concern expressed by many about why my arm is in a sling," Frank wrote. "In order to avoid having to repeal the same conversation, I am sending out this Dear Colleague."
He concluded with the message: "thanks for not asking, Barney Frank."