If memory serves, there’s an election of some kind this week. I’m pretty sure it involves a lot of people who hate each other. I know this because I’ve seen their commercials and read their ads in which they beat up on each other mercilessly.
Such shenanigans always make me wonder what these folks act like when they run into each other after the election has passed. Do they still hate each other, or was that for show? Or, more accurately, for dough?
Do they exchange greetings after exchanging insults, accusations and lies? I’d like to think they shake and make up, but that seems like a lot of baggage to suddenly stow unattended in the overhead compartment.
Such things remind me of the old Woody Guthrie folk song The Sinking of the Reuben James. The Reuben James was a Navy destroyer that, on Halloween 1941, was torpedoed by a German U-boat in the Atlantic, becoming the first U.S. Navy ship sunk in World War II.
Fellow folksinger Cisco Houston later recorded a version that includes these lines: “Well many years have passed, but still I wonder why, the worst of men must fight, and the best of men must die.”
That’s elections to a T. The worst people run for office, it seems, but they become the people we trust to represent us in office.
Beyond voting, I try to avoid the political mud. One year, though, when I was between jobs, the election officials asked me to work the polls.
It was great. From 7 a.m. until 7 p.m., I greeted voters, recorded names and kept the machines in order. After the polls closed, I helped count thousands of ballots. By the time everything was done, it was well into the next morning.
I liked that job because I met all sorts of people. We weren’t allowed to talk politics, which made it even better. Voting is far more rewarding than politics.
I like to wait until Election Day to vote, just in case any candidates get arrested or into a scandal at the last minute. If you haven’t voted already, maybe I’ll see you Tuesday.
When I’m not talking to people at the polls, I’m talking with other strangers. Last week, another couple started talking to us at a hamburger joint.
John and Cheri were driving their 37-foot recreational vehicle from their home in Mesa, Ariz., to Florida for the winter.
Both were retired. John had given up his job as a crane operator after inventing a joist release that they were selling as they made business stops along their unhurried trek to Florida, visiting some of their 18 grandchildren, too. (I wasn’t sure what a joist release was, but I checked his Web site to get an inkling.)
The couple have been to most states and many other countries. They still want to see New York, or what’s left of it.
We’d like to see New York, too, but we don’t travel nearly as much as John and Cheri. Just getting to the polls Tuesday will be our big trip for the week.