The wrong time to be puny

Published 2:03 pm Wednesday, August 10, 2011

For two weeks before the recent statewide elections I was flat on my back with parts of me packed in ice. That’s as far as I’m going with an explanation: suffice it to say that I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

Howsomever, my point here is that there are times when it is decidedly inconvenient to be confined to bed: Opening Day of any hunting season, for instance. Yet I would never have suspected the inconvenience of being bedridden in the weeks before an election.

They call. Incessantly. All day every day.

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I understand that the candidates must make contact with the voters to sell themselves or their platforms, in order to be elected. They stick up signs all over, buy media advertising, and they used to have their friends, family, and campaign workers call and solicit your vote. I mean, if good ole Billy Bob’s niece married Fred Fodrod’s second cousin’s boy, and Billy Bob asks me to vote for Fred right before working on my pickup transmission, then I’m sure as heck going to consider voting for Fred for Senator, or at least tell Billy Bob that I’ll do so, because I feel an obligation, and he’s a friend, so his endorsement means a lot. It’s a personal friendship request, and of course I’ll consider it, at least until I get his bill.

But nowadays, modern technology has taken over, and Senator Fodrod hisownself is doing the calling!

Surely, somewhere in this world there is a person who has a telephone and will answer that phone, then listen patiently with great interest when the recorded voice of Fred Fodrod comes across the wires – well, no wires anymore: across the etheric, as Brother Dave Gardner used to say. These candidates are undoubtedly spending millions of bucks with the companies who make their recorded messages, then set up some kind of compooter program to automatically dial everyone’s number (how do they get those cell numbers?), wait for an answer, then send Mr. Fodrod’s happy earnest voice into your home or business asking for your vote.

I cannot imagine who would actually listen to such a recording. There are the same type calls now from many companies advertising their wares, or advising you on things you really don’t want advice on. My current favorite is the one which starts off, “This is Alice, with a word about your credit card problems… You don’t have any credit card problems, but….” I reckon not, Alice, we cut them up years ago, and I’m still not sure why you called, since I always hang up when I realize that it’s a recording that I’m listening to.

Really, does anyone anywhere actually listen to recorded calls?

I’d hate to think those folks are spending all that advertising money in vain.

Okay, I realize that the short answer is that the candidates are presenting their attributes for everyone to hear, so that we can make an intelligent choice in the voting booth. I’m all for intelligent choices when we vote; for too long we’ve been paying the price in America for the people we elect to office – the recent debt ceiling crisis being a case in point. Betcha a nickel that none of our esteemed congressmen and women are going to miss a paycheck, like they say may happen with folks on Social Security or VA benefits or Medicare, or whatever. Take care of Number One seems to be the mantra for the folks in Washington. Don’t you wish that we had no political parties, term limits on everyone, a law against raising your own pay or benefits, and a Flat Tax, doing away with countless bureaucrats?

Okay, Neill, you’re sounding like a cranky old man who had to spend two weeks in bed on ice packs answering the phones just before an election.

Maybe so. I apologize. But I’m all for going back to the way we were: voting for folks because we know and like them, or someone we know and like knows and likes them and asks us to vote for them – a real person, not a recording.

Or go back to flipping a coin in the voting booth, and look where that got us!