Could never understand it. It seemed a society of in-secrets. I’ve never been good when it comes to in-secrets. I’m always the last one to know things much of the time. I would listen to people talk politics at the workplace. They were always so sure of their arguments and analysis. In penny loafers they kicked around words and opinions in a verbal game of hacky sack (showing socks of argyle).
They leaned on the water cooler, analyzing and deducing (they wuz’ always deedoocin’) and the water cooler, miraculously, would not tip over. I tried it and it didn’t work. The water cooler tipped over and was it cold! I was drenched and sent home for a change of clothes. I tried to talk like the pundits talked, but my punditry was nothing but a pun, unintended; or perhaps it was intended but I didn’t realize it at the time. There I was, caught between punditry and puppetry, but meanwhile, the bathroom stall had run out of toilet paper. A debate about toiletry never ensued.
I have firsthand political experience. I was nominated and ran for office at an earlier stage of my life. It was in 5th or 6th grade. I was in a class that was 1/2 tough, 1/2 not. I wasn’t tough, but I wasn’t a weakling either. I was a neither. Our teacher had this brilliant idea that the class should have a president and a secretary officer position. The secretary position I figured out—it was one suited for whoever the biggest asskisser in the class was. The president would likely go to the toughest kid in class (Of course, toughness being no reflection of intelligence…).
The teacher asked the class to nominate candidates. The toughest kid in the school was nominated and his name was the first one on the board. He was known as the king of the school—able to beat all of us up as well as conceiving ingenious pranks such as spitting on banisters (to this day I don’t use banisters). I figured it would be a landslide, the king would win and we’d be bowing (or bending over…backwards, that is) thereafter.
I sat taking in the process when I heard my name called. “I want to nominate Anthony for president” a voice said from the back of the class. My face was riddled with candy colored questions, namely why and how. I wanted to run out the door but it was closed. The guy who nominated me was Tommy Mok—a kid who ate lots of candy that always stuck to his face. I looked at his little face, he snickered at me—it was a sham and he knew it. The teacher wrote my name on the board.
I glanced at the kids in the class. They seemed to know their places; they sat in their allotted spots. The teacher then asked the candidates to tell the class whey they’d be the best president. The king of the school said something about making recess longer and maybe getting the cafeteria to serve corn dogs more often. The speech as I remember, consisted of a lot of uh’s and pauses but the guy was so big that you could help but give your undivided attention. There were 2 more speeches of similar content and delivery.
Finally I was called to the front of the class. “So why would you make a good president, Anthony?” asked the teacher. I was at a loss for being tough. I saw all those faces looking up. I wanted to run to the bathroom but I had to say something—I could look like an idiot up there. SO, I took a deep breath and uttered the immortal (and immoral) words: “If I’m elected class president…I will be very kind”. I heard the snickering from the back of the class. The kid that nominated me laughed. I began to want to be elected so that my first act as president would be to kick him dead in the ass (Perhaps my campaign slogan should have been: A foot in every ass.) But it wasn’t to be. The votes were tabulated. The tough guy won, he was supposed to. His acceptance speech was filled with uh’s and he lobbied to get more corn dogs on the menu. I wondered if his presidential position would stop him from spitting on the banisters. That wasn’t one of his campaign promises. I’d have to wait and see.
I went home and my dad was watching the Watergate hearings on TV. He was transfixed. I went into the kitchen and watched the mice dart in and out of the corners–to me that was more interesting. I had no need for politics then, and I have no need for it now. But I may need a banister at some future date.
© 2010 Tony Robles