You know me. You just don't know it.
I'm the bushy-bearded guy you'll occasionally spot who wears the zipped-to-the-neck goose down parka and thermal hunting cap in 90 degree summer heat and who, every 22 steps exactly stops, slaps his forehead and howls, "Screw the poooooch!" I'm the beefy woman you've seen in the park with the permanent thousand-yard stare emanating from beneath crudely eyebrow-penciled eyebrows who sports sagging knee-high hose with above-the-knee culottes.
In plain language, I'm one of America's roving army of the mentally ill. A free-range head case. A non-institutionalized example of why institutions were invented in the first place. I am, to use the name you yourself call me, That Loon Who Hangs Around The Neighborhood Sometimes.
Still, as often as we've seen each other, you and I have never spoken. Which is understandable, I suppose. You see me -- come on, be honest -- as, best case, an unwelcome reminder of the fragility of the human psyche or, worst case, a lurking danger, like trans fats or Ike Turner. And that's OK. Because I'm judging you, too. I'm dead certain you're dating a millipede, have hired the Care Bears to assassinate me and that you will, without warning, dispense an ice-cold can of Coke out of your anus. Bottom line: We come from two different worlds.
But that no longer matters. A critical, defining moment approaches and the time to catalog our differences is past. Soon, we will choose our country's next president and, from what I read in the discarded, wind-blown newspapers I crumple up for my pillow, the electorate is evenly split. Since this is arguably the most important election in our lifetime and the lifetime of our tires, I feel it's my duty to the world -- to America and, yes, even to the unfortunate raccoon who thinks a South American nation can be made of an inert gas -- to weigh in. To speak out.
Now wait. Before you fly off the handle and tell me to get a job or fuck off or piss off before you call the cops, let me just say that I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "It's all well and good that you should ask me to vote for George W. Bush, Mr. That Loon Who Hangs Around The Neighborhood Sometimes, but your thesis disregards an essential fact: I'm certifiably sane. Lucid. Not a psycho, goofball or spaz. Even a person of your delusional tendencies and rabid barkings in your alternate reality must recognize that sanity, hell, just clinging to the raggedy edge of the friable fabric of common sense, necessitates a vote for anyone but the incumbent."
And my reply? Screw the poooooch!
Then again, I know the ineluctable logic of such a succinct argument alone could never sway you, you, the defiantly rational demographic. After all, you've already heard and rejected the arguments of my unstable co-voters: the hopelessly mad/registered Republicans, the narcissistic megalomaniacs/overtaxed rich, the paranoiacs/ security moms, the psychosexually dysfunctional/NASCAR dads, dysfunctionally psychosexual/Catholic bishops and the plain old scary-ass, in-your-face, full-blown drooling punkinheads/religious right. And I do not intend to reargue here the delusions, ravings, drivel, belligerence, twaddle or fanaticism of these respective blocs. No. Because while we non-institutionalized Bush voters might be part of the greater cock-eyed, addle-pated universe of Bush supporters, we have our own agenda, our own rationales and, in some cases, our own change of underwear. To wit:
1. Ending American Slavery. Listen, I had a job in 1990 and, I can tell you, it made me a slave. To money and stuff and the man. But I didn't know that until I was laid off. Now, I'm totally free. But until you lose your job, you won't know how good freedom feels, either. Let the Bush/Cheney economy show you that reality sooner.
2. The Benefit of Diminished Services. The bigger the economic hole this country is in, the less likely it is my freedom will be abridged. By keeping tax revenues low, spending and the deficit high, I'm confident I'll never have to submit to nonsense like "counseling" or taking "meds" or staying overnight in "the warm, dry place with the clean bed that the Mystic Gorger lives under, the beast that can read thoughts and eats one's soul like a donut dipped in coffee."
3. The Rolex Theory of Continuity. My discombobulated colleagues and I have discussed this longstanding street theory at length and believe it applies perfectly to the Iraq invasion/situation. Simply put, the man who intentionally smashes a fine Swiss watch with a blunt instrument is best qualified to fix that watch -- i.e., Four! More! Years!
You see it now, right? See that your sanity doesn't have to be an impediment to convoluted thinking? I hope so. Mostly though, I hope you'll join with me and all the incompetent, incomprehensible individuals voting for George W. Bush for President Tuesday. Remember: The voice of reason speaks French. Vote Bush.
Yours truly or your money back,
That Loon Who Hangs Around The Neighborhood Sometimes
Chairman, Not-So-Swift Cola War Veterans for Truth Amandine
BOB WOODIWISS: His column appears here the last issue of each month. His book, Keys to Uncomfortable Living, a collection of humorous and satirical essays, is in bookstores now.