I know, I know, our world has changed lately but the thrill of actually purchasing the toilet paper of choice makes us feel a little better. That has almost become as normal as wondering if your neighbor is smiling at you through their mask after you remark that their dog has once again breached the fence and made a deposit on your lawn.

As we peer out the front door, the scenery looks the same as it always has. The grass is green, the sky is blue and that damn dog just went on my lawn. Nothing new here except that we’re collectively flowing along a tranquil stream which, wait a minute, is morphing into a raging torrent! We now realize we’ve entered one of those unique parts of life when the ominous theme from John Carpenter’s slasher film Halloween starts playing in our head. What season are we careening into? A, summer, B, hurricane, C, election. Answer: all three; but which serves up a plate of heartburn? Politics!

Let’s get hunkered down for the election season. When I say hunkered down, I mean dis-connect all means of communication with the outside world, do not accept your junk mail, dis-continue the Facebook account and don’t gaze at the nascent proliferation of yard signs. Sticking your head in the sand won’t work until the beaches are open to all once again. OK, Now you’re safe from the promises, threats and general falderal (Trivial or nonsensical fuss) of the current election cycle. If you’re voting in person cover up with some 5-mil poly sheeting, cast a ballot and hope for the best.

Amber McReynolds, a former Colorado election official and now the CEO of the National Vote at Home Institute, and Charles Stewart, Director of the MIT Election Data and Science Lab report that If you vote by mail, here’s a handy statistic that National Public Radio reported. “More than 250 million ballots over the past 20 years have been cast by mail nationwide, with just 143 criminal convictions for election fraud related to mail ballots.” That averages out to about one case per state every six or seven years, or a fraud rate of 0.00006%. That’s easy for anyone to check. If vote by mail is good enough for our president, It’s good enough for me!

TV viewers will now get some much-needed exercise. The start of the political season will have them at the ready with remote in hand to ‘click away’ the second a political ad appears. You’ll develop more strength in your hands than a person with a gaming addiction. Note to the handy among us: if you convert that remote device to AC power, you can click the remote from a much further distance, like the yard next door.

When you see the worst grainy black and white image of a candidate you know the attack is imminent. You expect to see large words crawl across the screen and he kicks his dog too. Yes, there will be a ton of attack ads. They begin with a sound track more associated with the movie theme from Dawn of the Dead as a very serious announcer intones the transgressions of the opposite side. Toward the end of the spot the music turns upbeat as the TV sit-com theme from Happy Days plays with the better candidate seen embracing happy people (actors) and looking at the camera with a huge all-knowing smile.

Donate any amount to any candidate and your email box will start to fill up daily with political surveys and a plea for more money. Do they read your survey answers? Sure, just as soon as that pesky lobbyist gives them a bathroom break.

If TV were around in the 19th century how would attack ads sound? Cue some dismal music as we hear “Lincoln; he claims to be a rail-splitter, but has anyone actually seen him split a rail? He’s campaigning everywhere. Does he want to appear on our money too?”

Watching a political debate is like listening to a dysfunctional family member telling you they’re going to change and then asks for a small loan they will surely pay back.

Our election cycle is so lengthy we’ll have more promises broken than a used car salesman trying to sell a Hummer at a Sierra Club convention. If the it persists longer than 4 months, call your doctor. We’re gluttons for punishment. Beat us, whip us and promise us earmarks.

Our election cycle is a years-long toothache that can’t be fixed with any amount of Novocain and Florida is once again the epicenter. It’s a twilight Zone political marathon on every channel and you can’t turn it off.

What could offer reprise from the onrushing tide of blather that a campaign produces? I guess I’m looking forward to shopping catalogues and TV holiday ads. I never thought I could say they would be a welcome relief!



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