In case you missed it, with the stories of Donald Trump signs being stolen from front yards and Joe Biden signs being painted with paintball guns, 2020 is an election year. It’s also the year of the Covid 19 pandemic, the year of the masks, the year of the murder Hornets, and the year that Planters Peanuts killed Mr. Peanut in a car crash. After I got off the air this morning I decided go over to Holly Hill Mall and get my early voting out of the way. While I was there I read a couple of Lewis Grizzard articles and was inspired to write down my observations on Voting in 2020.
Voting is a little strange this year. For starters, you have to wear a mask. Now if you've been paying attention you know that I have issues wearing a mask. Early on I got so frustrated with masks I took a sharpie and wrote exactly what I thought our Governor should do with himself on one of the disposable ones I had been given. It's not for any political reason, or because I care about personal freedom, or because I think wearing a mask won't work. No, I have issues wearing a mask because in just not very good at it. Last month I went to work at 6:00 am, had 3 meetings, and at about 3:30 in the afternoon put my feet up on my desk to relax for a moment. It was then that I realized I was wearing two different kinds of boots. Fortunately they were both brown otherwise somebody in one of those three meetings probably would have thought I was color blind. Instead they must have thought I was an idiot. Anyway, I can't even make it out of the house in the morning with matching boots and don't even notice that my left leg seems longer than my right until 3:30 in the afternoon. Surely I can't be trusted with the responsibility remembering to grab a mask when I leave my house.
When I do remember a mask it's generally the same disposable mask that I've worn for the last 6 months, so it's not exactly clean. It's also a bit worn out. Two more issues I have that make me not very good at wearing masks. I have a beard. A very long beard. When i wear a mask I look like a 1970s lingerie model. Second, I chew tobacco. It's a disgusting habit, one I don't recommend to anyone, but the last time I tried to quit I threw out all of my dip and after three days everyone around me took up a collection and bought me 2 rolls of Wintergreen Grizzley Long Cut and politely informed me that if I ever quit again they would confiscate all of my fire arms. Not to prevent me from harming myself or anyone else but because they were going to hold me at gunpoint until I put in a dip.
What bearing does that have on wearing a mask and voting you ask? Have you ever tried wearing a mask a dipping at the same time? For starters it takes a level of coordination that someone who can't wear matching boots is simply incapable of. First you have to either pull the mask up, which covers your eyes for a moment or you have to take it off and juggle it in your hands along with your phone and the can of dip. Then you have to take a pinch and put it in your lip without dropping anything and without dumping half the dip down your shirt. Last time I opted for the first option and walked in to a giant cardboard cutout of Rick Champion in the Mall. After you have managed to put in the dip then it really gets complicated. Every so often you have to spit. That means you have to pull the mask up, open your dip cup/water bottle, spit in your water bottle. Close the water bottle. Then put the mask down. I know what your thinking- your thinking I walked into another giant cardboard cut out. I didn’t. I learned my lesson last time after my $25 donation to Rick had to be used to replace his cardboard cutout. No, this time I stopped long enough to take care of business. Unfortunately, again, coordination is my enemy and I got things a little mixed up. I forgot to pull my mask up and ended up with spit on the inside. Eventually it dried out. I left it in my office for emergencies only.
So back to voting. I left the radio station at about 10:50, got almost out of the parking lot and realized I had forgotten my mask. I turned around to grab one and realized I didnt have one. Except my emergency one. I decided it would probably be inappropriate to wear a mask that tells Roy Cooper exactly what I would like him to do to himself while in line to vote so I was forced to turn it inside out. Of course this mask has been put in and out of my pocket repeatedly for 4 months now so when I tried to put it on i realized the ear loop had snapped.
I'm early voting in Holly Hill Mall. There are advantages to this, I have found. In particular the line goes right past Caked Up Bake Shop which has given me a chance to buy a cupcake to eat while I wait. Granted I now have banana pudding cupcake inside my mask but I consider that a good thing. It smells better than its smelled in 4 months and it gives me something to snack on later. The line appears to be about 2 hours long and it looks like every type of person has turned out. Three people in front of me is a guy that appears to be counting the floor tiles. I think he’s an accountant. Directly in front of me is a woman with her 6 year old daughter and she's trying to clean snot out of her daughter's mask after a sneeze. Directly behind me is a man that has been on his phone the entire time and from what I have gleaned from his conversation he is either in witness protection or some sort of music producer. The conversation seems to revolve around Biggie Smalls. Further back is a man in bib overalls that is more ready to vote than anyone I've ever seen. He just has that look. I hope he’s not disappointed when he realizes Strom Thurman isn't on the ticket this year. There's a group of girls here that look like they may be college students. They look prepared. One is calling her mom to ask if she's supposed to vote for old guy or the fat guy.
Then of course there me, looking like a 1970s lingerie model with a very embarrassing stain on the front of my inside out mask that has been tied back together. The other people in line around me are giving me looks that clearly say "this idiot doesn't look like could make it out the door with matching boots. I can't believe he is helping determine our next president.”
As I walk out of the voting booth this afternoon, about 12:30, it occurs to me that I have spent about an hour and a half of my day standing in a climate controlled room eating cupcakes and reading Lewis Grizzard. In the 1800's voters traveled by horseback and wagon sometimes 50 miles in the rain and snow to vote. In the 30's they did it in the midst of a depression. In the 40's they did it during a war. Just thought I'd put things in perspective a little bit. As the end of the day, it doesn't matter if you're wearing your pajamas, cleaning snot out of your kids mask, in witness protection, or wearing un-matching boots. Just got vote. Our republic reflects who we are as a nation, and as a nation we are human, which means we are flawed. We are people that get cupcake and snot in their masks and go out in our pajamas and wear un-matching boots. The point is that, at the end of the day, we're Americans who care about our country. Stay informed and remember that Democracy only exists if we are willing to fight for it on a regular basis.
“Let each Citizen remember, at the Moment he is offering his Vote, that he is not making a Present or a Compliment to please an Individual, or at least that he ought not so to do; but that he is executing one of the most solemn Trusts in human Society, for which he is accountable to God and his Country.” -Samuel Adams