Once upon a time, we turned to Weird Al for spoofs of our favorite songs. Those days are long gone. Now, I turn to Lummox. My devotion to his creations have led to a few of his creations being devoted to me, but this time he let me make a request! It was a hard choice given how awesome the Elton John one was, or the respectful hilarity he wielded for one of my all-time favorite songs, "Like a Stone", but I knew Pearl Jam had to be done. Lummox gave me Pearl Jam!
For me! For ME! FOR MEEEEEEEEEEEE!
Lummox, it's not "Better Man", but it's much better, man. I don't know if the meds you're on helped or if this was all natural, but my hat is off to you. May you long rock the misheard lyrics universe!
Our catalog at work is notorious for picking up highly unusual hits when searching for something specific. We all know the drill. You search for material on the "ozone layer" and your number five hit in the results is the movie Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, or you search for Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and first up you see a biography on Theodore Roosevelt. You wonder where the hits are coming from, who made these bizarre connections and why the one thing you’re looking for is buried five pages deep in your search results, after 75 things that have no conceivable connection.
It’s not exclusive to our library. Not by any means. Do a Google image search any day of the week for something innocuous and see what insane things pop up on the first page. If you’re really brave, turn off the moderate safe search filter and then give it a shot.
For instance, we had a balloon artist at the library recently, which sparked our interest in balloon art. We looked up “balloon dresses” and “balloon gowns” and were wowed. But then we did a Google image search of “balloon bikini.” Wowed was I, but for another reason.
Photo number three on my results was this one, which really does not look like a bikini, but some sort of X-rated toy in use.
It made my mind race. Do people use balloons as sex toys? What if…it…popped?! AHHH!
Part of me was half-prepared for racy pictures doing the “balloon bikini” search, but there was no part of me prepared for the results I got on Amazon when I went searching for a very specific baking utensil.
Martha Stewart might be a pariah in some circles, but I still love the woman. She is far more of a domestic goddess than that disgusting Roseanne Barr ever was, and Martha teaches me a great deal, so my love for her extends beyond the felonies and jail time. She rocks my kitchen.
Anyway, on an episode of Martha’s show a few months back, she turned me on to a delightful and brilliant invention of a brownie pan that gives all your brownies crusts, which are my favorite parts! All crusts!
I’d forgotten about it until recently, and then did an Amazon search for this special pan, only I couldn’t remember what it was called. All crusts? All edges?
Anyway, back at the “edge brownie pan” search results, there are a few other items of note. Hit #6 is a scary item called a Guardian Angel for $150. Given the inexplicable male genitalia booster that hit at #3, I was kind of frightened of what this Guardian Angel would be for. Just look at that thing!
But the claims are that it’s for acupuncture. Uh-huh. Is that what they call it on wholesome sites like Amazon? What this has to do with a brownie pan, I don’t know.
What kind of screwed up people are looking for my brownie pan, dammit? And why are their psychotic hits effecting my own search results?
Is it because the world is full of perverts that I cannot search for anything without the Internet giving me porn results? Thanks to Leelu, I understand Rule #34, and that there is porn of every conceivable thing in the world found somewhere on the Internet, but brownie pans??? C’mon!
It’s really awful when I search for a brownie pan and I have to remember to also type “-underwear –thong –balls –acupuncture –UFOs –pubic –hair –strangulation”. I dare not ask what else I have to limit my searches to anymore. It seems everything is now connected, no matter how completely unconnected it might seem.
Thanksgiving is only one day, one meal, and a few hours of my life that I have to spend with family members I’d really rather not be around. Thanks, Mom, for making me hate Thanksgiving!
Stores like Kohl’s use up extra electricity to illuminate not just their enormous sign, their TWO entryways, and the parking lot, but they all seem to focus much needed attention on the trees that landscape the areas away from their doors. What would the world be like if not for the knee-high evergreen bushes and the leafless twiggy trees with spotlights shining upon them in front of the Kohl’s department stores? I shudder to think. Thank you, Kohl’s!
Christmas music started playing in the malls right after Halloween, and I could not be happier because there are more and more people like me who were hypnotized as children to go completely homicidal sometime around Thanksgiving, when the Christmas music hits critical mass. What I’m thankful for is that I can’t shop much due to an empty bank account, but I count on my homicidal brethren to do their duty to even out the ratio of Christmas-music-lovers to Christmas-music-haters. Perhaps one day Christmas won’t be a three-month circus of insanity, and it will have to start with the damn music only being played in the same fucking month as the holiday itself! Thanks so much, fellow psychos!
Dogs. They just rock. Even when you just took him out and he refused to do poo-poos, though you told him over and over that this was his last chance to do poo-poos for the night, and 15 minutes after you brought him in, he did poo-poos on the front room floor. Yeah, even then dogs are great because no one else could shit on your floor and look at you with those big, sad, apologetic brown eyes and you’d still love them. Thanks for being you, River.
Pergo. Because I have a dog who doesn’t like to do poo-poos outside when there’s snow on the ground, or when it’s raining, or when there’s wet weather of any kind. He’s a big wuss. Pergo is so much less frightening than drizzle to a big, 100-pound dog made of fangs and muscles. Oh man, thank you bunches, Pergo flooring!
Shows like this, that remind me how very uninteresting humans are, and how freakin’ awesome eagles are. Thanks, Nature.
The price of gas keeps going down for no apparent reason, not unlike how the price of gas kept going up so dramatically for no apparent reason all year. I’m waiting for the big drops in shipping (including a cheaper postage stamp), plane/bus/train/cab fares, and all the other things that went up in price because of gas. Now that the gas is so much lower, it stands to reason that inflation will stop and deflation will occur, right? I’m thankful for that. Thanks for the deflation!
Sometimes you have friends who treat you like shit, even though you’ve been as close as sisters for decades, and just when you can’t take it anymore and are ready to give the ultimatum that they need to stop being horrible, nasty bitches or you’re out of their lives, they share the worst tragedy imaginable with you, laying bare their messed up lives, dashed hopes and dreams, and the emotional train wreck they have become because of it. So, thank you so much to the people who are so fucked up that you can’t help but feel sorry for them, even though there’s a teeny-tiny part of you that is enjoying their suffering. Yay karma!
Self-control is a wonderful thing. Recently I was shopping at a bookstore with Ann and we passed by the book Hot Chicks With Douchebags. Ann asked me what a “douchebag” was, and I drew upon my inner strength, resisting the urge to tell her the literal and figurative definition of the term. Instead, I sought an answer worthy of a librarian, and when I squinted and hmmm’d for long enough, she asked me if it meant “jerk”, which I decided it did indeed, and the matter was settled. So, thanks to me, I did not mar poor Ann’s brain with thoughts in my own, and if you think that’s no big deal, then you just do not know me at all.
With a salt shortage weighing heavily on the minds of many in the Midwest this winter, I was quite surprised to see that the quarter-inch of snow that fell yesterday was plowed with such vigor that busy streets actually had tiny little piles of snow built up along the sides of the roads, which could possibly trip an ant, if there are any ants running around in this weather. I had to wonder if the dusting of snow was actually removed with a gigantic feather duster attached to the front of a moped because there was such a trivial amount to remove. Good job, plowers! I don’t know what you’re paid for your services, but we are all very grateful for your enthusiastic devotion!
Today is Marina’s birthday, and I’m thankful that Marina was born. No sarcasm there. Don’t everyone bring her coffee today because if we all do, her eyes will bug right the hell out of her head and she won’t sleep for a week. Which would be funny. But not nice. Though she’ll need it on Friday. Happy Birthday, Marina!
Mostly, I’m thankful that My Schwee will be here in 4 weeks, and with him will come some hideous Christmas gift that will be immortalized and laughed at on my blog. If I have nothing else to write about next month, I know he will not fail to deliver something worth sharing with the world. He’s hinting at underwear with lighthouses on them, but I have little faith that he will find such a monstrosity. We shall see. But I’m thankful for My Schwee, who makes my lame gifts to others look really awesome. Thanks, Schwee!
All these years I thought the Statue of Liberty was just another statue, perhaps significant to some, but likely more of a gigantic symbol of our hypocrisy lately, given how our attitude toward immigration has changed so much. Once upon a time she was a precious and beloved lady, but I have come to realize the wench’s true agenda.
You see, that bitch is no ordinary woman. She is an old-school librarian.
How do I know? Let me tell you.
Do you see the spikey crown she wears upon her big, green head? It is the exploded remains of a librarian’s bun. Look closely. She holds tight a book in one hand and a torch in the other. Hmmm, coincidence? I THINK NOT! Long, unflattering dress down to her ankles? Comfortable shoes? Stiff features? Vacant stare? That’s a librarian! Not just any librarian, but an old-school librarian! BLUGH! Look at her! She was made for another era, the Wild West years, when women couldn’t vote, children worked in factories, we only had 38 states, if you were lucky you had a horse to get you around, the railroads were just getting powerful, and the telegraph had become the preferred method of communication, ridding the need of the “snail mail” Pony Express. Seriously, folks, she could not possibly understand our times.
You may THINK you know the Lady Liberty, but you’d be wrong.
The quote she silently utters, which we are all so giddy about, is a façade, not unlike her own appearance! There is a second inscription, visible only if you are inebriated, chemically altered, have had a lobotomy, cannot read, refuse to read, or other such disability that alters your perception from the norm. Here is what it reads to those people.
Statue of Library:
Give me your technophobes, your uneducable, Your undisciplined teens yearning to be punks, The severe social misfits and mentally unstable. Send these, the illiterate, and bar-tossed drunks. I live to serve the completely unable.
That ho-bag has a subliminal message, which she has been doling out for over 100 years!
So, you tell me, is the Statue of Liberty cursing us, or did she come from a much more generous time? Or was this a ploy by the French to quietly do us in? Because, correct me if I’m wrong, but that quote seems to be a message received loud and clear by those it is addressing, and they have been obeying for a long, long time. Explains much, doesn’t it? Finally, it has all become clear. When we wonder where the weirdoes are coming from, we can now sigh and nod knowingly. Lady Liberty invited them.
Why isn’t there a bully nation declaring war against pirates? Not against pirating software, music and movies, but real, live pirates on the sea, kidnapping other seafarers and holding their loot for ransom. Since we’ve lost more US troops in the Iraq War than we lost citizens on 9/11, and the wounded number well into the tens of thousands, with no sign of letting up, I think it’s time to fight another war; one with a little more credibility and hope of accomplishing something good.
A War on Pirates would be something I could get behind, because if there are people out there making it unsafe to drive boats on open water, then I want them taken care of. And if they’re hijacking tankers and making people afraid to pass through the Suez Canal and through Pirate Alley, someone should do something about that. They shouldn’t have their own alley! An alley of pirating! Shouldn’t we be invading this Pirate Alley and taking it over! A War on Pirates needs to be fought. It sounds way more interesting than a War on Terror or a War on Drugs. If we’re going to declare war on things instead of countries, we might as well declare a War on Pirates.
We could have Department of Waterland Security Pirate Threat Level, which, of course, would be high, so we’d call it Purple Alert, and that would be announced every three seconds at every conceivable and inconceivable port we own – and some we don’t. Every marina, every waterway, and every puddle of water bigger than a blow-up swimming pool would be crawling with Waterland Security, harassing every single boater and swimmer who happens to get wet. We’d have to get special identification to travel by water, and passports for every place we fish, and holding indefinitely in our Grenada Bay Prison anyone wearing medallions, having dreadlocks, multiple ear-piercings, peg legs, hand hooks, eye patches, rum breath, or wearing pantaloons with a puffy shirt. We could sell pirate preparedness kits and limit how much oil, gold doubloons, and other cargo you could put on your boat/ship. We could name Johnny Depp as the FBI’s most wanted list because he IS the most wanted by the most people! He’d make YouTube videos decrying his innocence and declaring war back on us, saying we deserve it for whatever reason he chose, looking sickly and pathetic, mocking us further because we can’t catch this pathetic-looking guy in the middle of an ocean. The war itself would be fought by our military, but we’d privatize as much of the security and reconstruction as possible, giving all the contracts to the companies owned by people who run our country, making them richer and making the war unfavorable for them to end. We’d turn a blind eye to the conflict of interest because fighting pirates would be paramount to greedy fucking bastards, and anyone who criticized the way the war was fought would be considered a pirate, too. Of course, we’d tap phones and make up un-Constitutional laws allowing the government to track its own citizens to aid in capturing pirates among us. Pirates among us would create derision within the country and lead, somehow, to us demanding stricter laws about immigration and turning Canadians into our domestic enemies. This would lead to the deportation of many Canadians and rampant anti-Canadian sentiment in the US, even though there are no Canadian pirates. It would be discussed hotly by politicians during election years, trying to deflect the attention off an unwinable War on Pirates, which, seven years later, would still be fought on multiple fronts, with countless casualties, no end in sight, and their own profits from the war going so far beyond obscene that it becomes inconceivable.
Whew. Okay, maybe we shouldn’t go about it this way. Maybe we would be smarter. Because pirates are wily and clever! Disney would not stand for us to vilify one of their biggest breadwinners anyway. (Don’t get me started about the parallels there.) No, we’d have to do it right this time.
But a War on Pirates would be good. I think. Because wars are good, right? They fix things? They make bad things stop and bad people go away, right?
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you probably have the impression that I am a hard-assed, super aggressive, hyper judgmental, argumentative person who is pretty much a pitbull to deal with anytime someone does something to irritate or disagree with me, and that really isn’t true. In fact, there aren’t all that many circumstances where I get ballistic. Most of the arguments I have with other people are had in my head after the true confrontation occurs, because there are so few situations where arguing actually benefits me. This blog (and others) has long been an outlet for me to let loose about all the things I hold inside when I stand there and take it from someone I wish I didn’t have to take it from. Being that I’m a nobody at work, and a nobody in my family, and a nobody in society, I take a lot from a lot of people who I’d really rather go off on, and that is why I have written blogs for so long. It keeps me from getting fired, kicked out of other people’s homes, arrested, or beat up by people stronger or too smelly for me to fight back.
You don’t believe me, I’m guessing. You’re thinking that my sarcastic and scathing words here cannot stay in my head without being unleashed occasionally, and it’s true, occasionally I do go off in a way that is more brutal than some of the meanest people I know can handle. That’s just because I save it up for so long and have fights with people in my head so many times before I actually speak up for myself.
It’s not just about confrontations. I’m pretty spineless in most situations. Ann likens this to having brave days and not-so brave days. That sounds much better than the spinelessness I attribute to myself on so many occasions.
For instance, I can relate some recent examples as proof.
Ann and I planned this big shopping trip to the Milwaukee Public Market a couple months ago. It was a big trip and we planned it weeks in advance, researching, saving money, etc. I pictured a true farmers market event in an indoor building, which thrilled me to no end because I’m a lover of farmers markets, but pushing through crowds in the blinding sun of a summer afternoon is something I despise. This indoor market sounded awesome.
We drove all the way up to Milwaukee, only to find that the free parking lot was full, so we had to drive around, getting a little bit turned-around and lost on the one-way streets, until we found street parking with parking meters. Ann and I fed the meter all our quarters, giving us 2 hours inside the market, and we actually thought we’d run out of time and have to return to feed the meter more. Unfortunately, this was not to be true. Instead, we found the market to be an upscale, yuppified collection of frou-frou food vendors, with only one solitary produce stand that had the exact same food that I can get at the local grocery store, complete with the same brand names on the packages. However, it was all very nearly twice the grocery store cost. Still, I bought a bundle of asparagus, some green beans, a bunch of bananas and a quart of strawberries for over $20. Then I bought a small, 8-inch coffee cake for another $9. On the way out, we bought lunch. I had a very small vegan sandwich with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and a pesto sauce, and a root beer for another $10. Ann got a baked potato and a bottled water for $8. We left and felt a bit ripped off, particularly when we realized we’d only used up 20 minutes inside.
Here we were, in Milwaukee, a half-tank of gas gone, $40 out of my pocket for a ridiculously small amount of food, and an hour and forty minutes left on the meter for us to play. We went back to the car to drop off our bag (bag, singular: $40 for one bag of stuff I could’ve gotten at Jewel for under $25), and while we were sitting in the car, we looked up and down the streets to see if there were stores nearby in which we could at least window shop. While we were gazing in all directions, looking for somewhere else to go, I noticed someone in a truck had pulled up next to and behind my car, clearly waiting for our spot, assuming we were leaving.
I said disappointedly to Ann, “Uh-oh, someone’s waiting for our spot.”
She responded, reading my mind, “I guess we have to go.”
I concurred, “I guess so,” and without a second thought, I pulled the car out and left, allowing some stranger to take my spot, though I wasn’t done with it, and use up the hour and forty minutes of free parking we left behind. For some reason, it didn’t occur to us that we were entitled to stay.
Later we laughed about it, particularly because we had no idea what to do in Milwaukee after that and simply drove home. How pathetic is that?! All the way to Milwaukee to blow way too much money, vacate our parking spot before we were ready to leave, all in 20 minutes, and go straight home. We might as well have gone to the riverboat and gambled most of our money away, only to hand our winnings off to the next person waiting to gamble because we thought we had to.
A couple weeks later, Ann and I were dining at a Culver’s, and, as usual, we sat in the restaurant for three hours after eating, talking and shooting the bull. Eventually we got hungry again and discussed placing another order, getting some ice cream before they closed, but Ann suggested we go to Coldstone Creamery, which she preferred. We hopped in the car and drove a few blocks to Coldstone. By then it was 9:30 at night and the folks inside Coldstone looked like they were cleaning up and ready to go home. The sign on the door said they were open until 10, but Ann and I were hesitant to go inside.
She said, “Look at them. They’re all cleaned up and it looks like they are just waiting to go home. We can come back another time. I don’t want to bother them.”
I very nearly agreed with her because I was thinking the exact same thing, and then I remembered the Milwaukee experience.
I sternly said, “Wait a minute! We gave up our parking spot before we were ready to leave just because someone else wanted to use it!”
She started to giggle. She knew where I was going.
I continued, “Coldstone is open until 10:00, and we still have a half-hour to get ice cream, whether they want to go home or not! We’re getting ice cream!”
And we did. And it was good. And the boys inside were not angry with us for wanting ice cream.
This is something we were relating to Christi and Marina tonight, because often we do not have brave days. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve eaten food at a restaurant that I never ordered, forcing it down and paying for it, despite the fact that I ordered something completely different and someone got it totally wrong. I do not complain. I do not send food back. I eat what I’m given.
Then Christi told a story, and Ann and I decided we need a little Christi on our shoulders, whispering in our ears, to empower us when we’re having not-so brave days.
Christi and her boyfriend recently went to Wendy’s, and Christi, who is a recovering vegetarian, ordered a single-stack hamburger, but instead received a double-stack. This was way too much meat for a recently-vegan girl to take and she reacted. Strongly.
Barely able to form words, she began the high-pitched squealing, slamming her fists, yelling about wanting a single-stack, getting a double-stack, and the idiots who gave her way too much meat. Hair was flying, fury was growing, and our sweet Miss Christi pulled the extra hamburger patty off of her sandwich and violently wadded it up in a ball with her bare hands, all the while yelling about getting the wrong hamburger. She looked at her boyfriend and warned him not to laugh or she would lose it, and I contested that she already had lost it. But what she did next was the best part. She took the wadded up patty of greasy meat and flung it out the window of the car on her boyfriend’s side. Only, his window wasn’t open as she thought, and the burger slapped against the window and dripped down the glass in a large smear of grease.
Christi’s boyfriend said, “Wow. All that for a hamburger?” and then the humor of her extreme reaction became realized.
I think I need to start flinging hamburgers at windows, too. Maybe I wouldn’t need to blog, then.
Were you in the women’s public washroom minutes before me last night, leaving behind the odor of burnt matter?
Do you have an STD?
Do you have a raging STD that causes burning when you urinate?
Do you have an STD that is so advanced that it is the equivalent of having a flamethrower between your legs?
If you answered “yes” to the above questions, please seek medical help. There is no reason you should suffer with a urethra that shoots flames whenever you use it. While I do appreciate that the economy might be tough and money might be tight, there are clinics and places you can turn when you cannot afford the treatment you need. Please contact your local hospital for a referral or your county government for more information about free and reduced-cost medical care. No one should have to extinguish her hoo-hoo after peeing. And unless you have a penis or some sort of directional tool to control and project your flame, it cannot, in my mind, serve much purpose.
Please, folks, don’t let your friends shoot flames from their hoo-hoos. Not only is this painful, but it leaves an unpleasant odor behind in every washroom they use, and it’s possible that they could set off the fire alarm and sprinkler system, which would effectively douse their crotch and ruin their hairdo in a very short period of time.
Flaming hoo-hoos: you don’t have to suffer with them anymore.
Okay, now that the near nervous breakdown threat has passed, there are a few things I have to point out here, peripherally related to the election.
* * * * *
Despite my promise to myself to watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert cover the results, I got sucked into the technology of CNN’s coverage. (But they reran it, and it was hilarious.) I had been joking earlier about the fact that blogging through the event was obsolete and that if you didn’t tweet your thoughts, they weren’t worth sharing. Yet, there we were, watching these massive touch screens, with gigantic graphs and graphics popping up in midair, holographic interviews taking place, and perhaps only one or two on-sight interviews with bad audio, which clearly was from all that outdated crap that every other news network uses. Dude, color me impressed! Even if they chose to waste the holographic interview on a celebrity who was less than eloquent, it was still a cool feature, and my mind raced with the possibilities.
Here’s my theory. CNN’s tech people rock. Their tech people don’t run that kind of software and hardware using Windows. Their tech people don’t make the kind of money that the tech people I’ve worked with at my job make, and therefore they are either leagues better, or leagues more inspired, or leagues better funded. My money is on the latter. Essentially, my library will never get touch screen technology with expanding graphics the size of a linebacker, nor will we have the privilege of interviewing the great unwashed from the privacy of their own homes via a holographic and scentless beam. This awesome technology gave me a look on my face that probably would’ve passed for catatonic, but that was largely due to the open mouth and dripping drool. If I want to play with touch screens and talk to holograms, I’m going to have to apply for a job at CNN. That was so cool! I just might.
* * * * *
If CNN can have a holographic interview, why can’t Minnesota count their senate votes quicker? Will someone please help them?
This morning I asked my brother how the hell long it takes to count the damn votes.
He said, with all seriousness, and in the very best impersonation of The Count from Sesame Street, “One! Ah, ah, ah, ah! TWO! Ah, ah, ah, ah, ah!”
I PEED MY PANTS.
* * * * *
Thanks to election night, Nancy Grace FINALLY shut her big fat mouth about the Caylee Anthony case. JEEZE, how can any one person obsess about this one case for so freakin’ long? How can Headline News allow this to continue? It’s been less than 24 hours and she’s right back at it tonight. When do we get to vote her out? Someone please, offer Headline News something to take her place and talk about something, anything, else. Please. There is a reason no one else is covering this with such depth – there is NO NEWS ON THE SUBJECT. Maybe we could get a program to air every single night to discuss passionate theories and interview insiders about the Kennedy assassination, or the whereabouts of the Jamestown settlement, or the real cause of the Chicago Fire. On second thought, perhaps there should be some kind of rule on news networks that carry the word “news” in the title, which precludes old news and reminds folks just what the word “news” means. Yeah, that would be helpful.
* * * * *
Doggie Extraordinaire is a Nader supporter. My brother and I had numerous conversations about the candidates for many weeks and months leading up to yesterday, which Doggie E. cared little about. However, whenever we mentioned Nader, he’d cock his head to the side with interest. My dog is an Independent. His tail wags both ways and he cannot be pigeonholed into any oppressive party platform, as his concerns and beliefs are not fully covered by any one party. Namely, the edibility of cats and rodents in his own yard was not discussed, nor was there any mention of the war crimes committed against canines of all genders and proclivities by countless groomers across the country. McCain and Obama didn’t debate the definition of a “dog” as it applies or does not apply to breeds like Yorkies or Chihuahuas, and neither addressed the desire of the dog to name him or herself. This would ultimately do away with embarrassing names like River, which constantly reminds a proud dog that he pees way too damn much. I can see why my dog was concerned and why Nader appealed to him. Maybe in 2016, Riv. Sorry.
I’ve been very reserved about becoming emotionally involved in this election, and I haven’t really even talked much about it to anyone. If you know me, you know my heart belongs to Obama, but I dared not follow the campaign too closely. It seemed to me that too much was on the line -- more than any election I’ve participated in before, and perhaps more than I will again in my lifetime. For my own protection, I stepped back, I avoided the election coverage in the news, I did not follow the speeches, nor did I do anything in my power to aid the campaign.
My first election experience was very emotionally charged. I registered to vote specifically to give my vote to Jerry Brown, who lost to Bill Clinton in the primary. Clinton won my vote easily, and when he was elected, I was beside myself with joy. I did a very naughty and illegal thing to celebrate, but since I didn’t get caught, none of you will ever know what that was. I was young and idealistic. My right to choose and environmental issues seemed the most important things in the world to me, and someone who would fight to preserve those was president, so I was happy. For 8 years. They were great years to me, not just for the ideals I voted for, but because of the things he delivered to us, and how our country thrived. I learned about what was important to me in a president and I cared about politics. Then, I naively thought that was some kind of guarantee that Al Gore would carry on the torch.
The 2000 election nearly killed me. If I supported Clinton in ’92, that paled in comparison to how much I wanted Gore to win, and it was devastating, not just that he lost, but HOW he lost. It was despicable.
2004 was a bitter shock to my system. How could so many people in the country I live in be so stupid to elect this idiot again? I didn’t think it was possible. It didn’t even matter to me who was running against Bush, but we should have elected that other person. Period. End of story. But we didn’t. I completely lost faith in Americans, and more so than any other time in my life, I was ashamed of my country. Who are these people? Who are these people who are so vastly different from me, who would give the car keys to blind and deaf man, with neurological ticks and spasms that should have rendered him completely ineligible to drive the big car that is our country? How many lives must he wreck before we hold him accountable for the poor decisions he made? What has this world come to?
And so, as this election approached, I withdrew. It’s not that I was afraid of being disappointed in the results, or that I’d feel even more isolated from my countrymen, or that I’d lose more faith in the entire election process (though it proved to be totally FUBAR for two previous national elections), but because I truly felt like Obama was the man. He was the one. He was my Kennedy. He was my Mandela. He was my Dr. King. He was my icon. He was the one who could change not just my life, but also the lives of many all over the world. The potential was immeasurable. And I dared not hope too hard, because a loss would be incalculable as well.
This is not to say that Senator McCain wouldn’t have been a great leader, because I do believe that he is a great man, and his life has been nothing but a long, continuous journey to serve this country, and that’s incredible. That’s devotion. I do not agree with many of his beliefs, but as a human being, he seemed more than capable of leading and helping our country out of its rut. Palin, I won’t even address. It’s not worth the effort, and if there’s no joke about her on the end, then it’s not worth hearing either. Perhaps McCain could’ve been a great president at another time, during another election, but his timing was not good, running against the man who I believed could heal our country. More than previous elections, this wasn’t so much about wanting to keep an opponent out of the White House, because this wasn’t even about McCain, but to bring into the White House someone who could rock the world.
There had been much talk about the Grant Park celebration, and many mentioned their desire to go. Now that the numbers are all in, you have to understand how much Illinois, and specifically Chicago, adores Obama. If he were to win or lose this election, we would watch him make the speech from his home turf, our own home turf. At no time was I tempted to go. At no time did I feel the desire to battle crowds, public transportation, and chaos to stand a mile away while waiting to hear who would win. I didn’t even anticipate watching the news coverage of the votes as they were tallied. I simply could not handle the thought that he might lose, and we would have four years of the unknown before he might have another opportunity to try again, putting a pause on progress I was so sure he would bring us. I would not attend the celebration at Grant Park, and I would not watch it on television.
This morning I awoke and put off going to vote. For a few moments, I considered not voting at all. The gravity of it made my soul hurt. Why couldn’t I just bury my head underground and come out in four years, when things would be different and I wouldn’t have to live through it? But I had to vote. I very nearly grabbed a red suede skirt and red blouse to wear today, but I realized that today, of all days, I should definitely wear blue. And so I did. And I left to vote. There were no lines. No stress. No waiting. It was easy, almost too easy, to give my name, be handed a ballot, and change the course of human history. I cast my ballot at 11:30 this morning, and mine was the 372nd ballot cast in my precinct. I trotted off to work with little on my mind other than what I’d do for lunch.
I spent the afternoon answering questions by patrons about where to go to vote, how to get to their polling place, and various other election questions. A few disappointed young people showed up wanting to register today, and I received more than one phone call from an elderly person voting for the first time in their lives, and wanting to know how to get to this place where they could vote. I was irritated, but it was a pleasant irritation. Good for them for trying, but dammit, why wait until 4 in the afternoon on election day to figure out where to go?!
As the evening progressed, I felt something get under my skin. I felt this wave of hope wash over me, and I sat in my office refreshing the websites as the numbers were rolling in. Marina and I instant messaged one another with stats and hopeful encouragement, but I felt myself daring to wish for a win. Let my country do the right thing this time. Let them make up for the past. Please.
I left just after 7 pm, drove home and made a lower-fat version of my spinach and artichoke dip, to graze on while I watched CNN’s coverage.
My brother joined me for a bit and we discussed how much we both felt is riding on this election. He didn’t vote. I think he succumbed to the same force I nearly gave in to, and rather than risk feeling defeated, he chose not to play the game. But the electricity was in the room. We were both talking louder than usual, laughing more, sharing stories of the things we think are going to be better soon, and it was good to have the company as they began predicting McCain’s defeat. But we are Cubs fans, and we know what it’s like to lose in the last inning, another season down the drain, so there was much reservation in our anticipation. We held our breath and were surprised with each state that went into Obama’s column. Every moment was fragile and delicate, yet full of energy.
I wished I hadn’t pulled away this entire year. I wished I’d done something, contributed to the campaign, and mostly, I wished I’d gone to Grant Park tonight. The isolation I felt could have faded away sooner if I felt like my hopes and dreams were shared by many, namely the many who also wanted an Obama win.
Eventually, I retired to my room to watch the remaining states report in, and though they were saying Obama would win, I was simply not prepared for how it would feel when that became official.
Across the television the words read that Obama was the winner.
There was no air. I gripped my chest and forced myself to breathe. My legs gave out and I collapsed on my chair. I don’t recall a time in my life when I went so quickly from cold, hard shock to sobbing uncontrollably. It was one of those snorting, catchy breathing, wheezing, humiliating, snot-running-down-your-face sobs. It took me aback. I could not stop myself from the blubbering mess I’d become. My hands and legs trembled, and I felt like laughing and throwing up all at once. I knew it meant something huge, but what exactly does it mean?
We all won.
We are one.
Because he is the one.
And I belong to a country again. Not because my candidate beat another candidate, but because things can only get better. My hope, and what brought me to tears tonight, is the belief that things won’t just get better, but it will get a lot better. And I feel myself dare to become emotionally invested in the future again.