After I tried, and failed twice, to cast my vote in my new polling place in Pennsylvania’s Primary Election the other Tuesday, I can only tell you this: I am so glad to have returned to drinking heavily again.
Because when I’m sober I get to thinking I must be George W. Bush. Or his V.P. ‘Dick’. Or one of the 535 addled, mentally-arrested, stupid, ugly and all-too-rarely-present-and-even-more-rarely-accounted-for members of the U.S. Congress.
Hell, when I’m sober, I get to understanding why my irascible father insisted my mother only became a virgin AFTER they got married.
The point being that whenever I hear some gerrymandered, super-sized, beltway-bronco riding hard to rustle up political ‘fear and blame’ for even more laws than the 10 billion too many laws we already got to protect us from all those putative aliens invading our voting booths, I get to genuflecting.
I slump heavy-kneed to the floorboards, praying before the altars of Evan Williams, Elijah Craig, Jim Beam, Ezra Brooks and all duh udder bourbon distillers in the holy kingdom of Bard County, Kentucky.
We don’t need more laws to protect us from some government-overestimated imaginary aliens. We just need to enforce merely a few of the millions of already existing laws to ensure that the sociopathic, real aliens we’ve had long-running our political parties and voting booths are no longer able to propagate.
Let me tell you: I never wanted or intended to change my polling place. I’ve been ‘staying’ in different Philadelphia ‘corrupt-but-content’ city wards the past few years because it took the dim-wits in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s office almost that long to finally comprehend what everybody else had been poignantly insisting — that it was my prevaricating, canard spewing, screwy future-ex-wife who could swallow a nail and grunt out a corkscrew.
Hmm…And you wonder why I proffer that most lawyers don’t even qualify to be organ donors.
But the last time I went to vote at the same polling place near the Philadelphia Art Museum where I cast my ballots the past 25 years, the ‘poll-captain’ reluctantly bent the election procedures through a kaleidoscopic prism light to finally see her way to ‘allow’ me to do my democratic, American duty.
She was one of those peculiar, spiked-hair women who gave you insight into the riddle of: Why wives who keep their maiden names often don’t keep their husbands…
Anyway, since then, I had to renew my Pennsylvania state driver’s license. I listed the address where I have been tentatively residing. It is in another zip code and city ward 25 blocks away from the old homestead and voting asylum.
And then, eventually, for some bureaucratic illogic, I received in the snail mail a new and official voter registration card. It arrived with the speed of a glacier, during this past December’s winter rigor mortis.
I didn’t ask for a new voter’s booth location. I didn’t want to change my voter registration. I didn’t apply for it. Or request it. But, for most of us, we don’t get what we want, only what comes along. And for this we still gotta pay taxes.
But, of course!
I shrugged. And tossed it aside in my burgeoning pile of unnecessary paperwork in this computer age: What duh hell…What duh hell…What duh heck…Hang yourself up by duh neck.
Then the other day of duh Pennsylvania Primary I swooped up my paper ‘stuff’ and boldly began marching the three blocks over to the address provided on my new and official certificate of voter registration – to a place, I should note again, I never voted before.
But…directly across the street from me is a church. And outside stood a bunch of future-political-gangsta rappers. They held signs and posters that all but proclaimed: Vote dis way or we’ll see youse later for some of dis and dat.
Coincidentally, it was the precise name of the church of my polling place inscribed on my official voter’s certificate which, surprisingly, had my nick-first-name instead of my official birth appellation that I always use on official documents.
Nevertheless, the address listed on my official card for this church was three blocks away where I thought I was headed to vote.
Stick with me here, folks; the confederacy of government dunces ignominiously intensifies.
I was led down into the basement of the church where it was illustrated that for every voter, or taxpayer, or citizen, or alien there are 39 inactive people who misrepresent the government so well that they’ve never learned what it is, precisely, they’ve never done anyway.
The pleasant young woman of robust physical dimensions at the front and center sign-in table couldn’t locate my signature card or registration in her voter’s book and rolodex.
Yawl know my lack of distemper shots causes me to tread ingloriously onto the path of lucid ecstasy — loading my mental elephant gun. And dis monster of the carnival midway before me was going to take more than the usual number of atomic magnum cartridges.
She smiled weakly and kept repeating: “Sorry.” Which only added more bullets to my raging whirlwinds.
I slapped my official voter card before her. She admitted I was in the right church. Yeah, I reminded her, so were the Huns and Moors.
She studied the address on my card and suggested perhaps I should go there. That is, three blocks away to the Senior Center.
So I did. Only to be greeted by a much older version of the future body bag in the church basement. This crusty solon looked like something the sharks spit back as professional courtesy. She bellowed that I wasn’t in her registry, either. Nor her precinct or ward.
Furthermore, after studying my Driver’s License, she barked she didn’t know or recognize me.
“Perhaps you ought to change your proctologist,” I recommended. And when it didn’t register on her over-cannolli-stuffed countenance, I had to admonish myself that this is South Philly where everybody knows or is related to someone who knows or is related to everyone.
You know, like Afghanistan.
She snorted and pawed about instructing me I had to make dis call and dat call to all dese and dose election ‘wise-guys.’ And go back to that church and get them to set me up with a provisional ballot. And all dis and dat yadda-yadda-yadda…
So as I left with a somewhat disdainful glance she sneered: “You’re not going to vote, are you?”
“Not unless someone helps me carry your unhelpful body bag outta here.”
I returned to the church basement where everybody was still into the big doughy pretzels, glazed donuts and metaphysical conundrums. They gathered about the vortices of my loaded and unlocked anti-aircraft artillery.
As I proceeded to converse with my original rotund aircraft carrier, one of her male compatriots tried to infiltrate.
I firmly explained: “This conversation is between ‘A’ (me) and ‘B’ (her). So ‘C’ your way out.”
After she poured through all duh stuff duh utter battle-ax at the Senior Center poured through about a provisional ballot and making calls to all dese and dose wise-election-official-guys, I handed her my phone. And as she was calling them another poll dominatrix – who looked extremely officious – insisted that once I voted with a provisional ballot this mess-up would never happen again.
I told her to give me her ring finger – ring and all – as collateral. “It wasn’t supposed to happen this time, either, was it?” I said, leveling her with my father’s best glare of you’re gonna get yourself a lickin’, boy.
Some 15 minutes later all was said and done over the phone, and all my signatures were delivered on all the yellow documents. With my third-try to vote as uncharming as my previous two, I belatedly marched behind the blue curtained booth.
And as I studied the ballot, you could hear me screaming all the way out to Chicago where JFK once said his father had telegraphed him not to buy a single vote more than necessary.
After all this, there was not one single animal, mineral or vegetable worth red lighting my electronic vote for – not even the woman with the striking eyes for state Attorney General who Bill Clinton gave his personal endorsement, undoubtedly the same heart-felt one he provided Monica.
I voted sober. And I needed to be drunk. Especially as I was reading the back of my voter registration certificate on departing the church. It informed me in bold-faced caps:
“YOU SHOULD KEEP THIS CARD ON YOUR PERSON. AFTER DECEMBER 9, 2003, IT IS IDENTIFICATION OF YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE AT YOUR NEW ELECTION DISTRICT OR PRECINCT.”
Indeed, it did stipulate 2003 — nine years ago.
Now obviously that is some ‘right’ – one that shouldn’t need a date. And never be outdated in the first republic formed on this planet only some 230 years ago. It took me three concerted tries to rightfully vote in my abominable state primary. And, obviously, I was left in the wrong state… of mind, that is.
Sober or not.
And dats yDrewIS on DIS penal colony…