It was a warm and sunny day. Suddenly a bell rang out. A cruise ship appeared on the horizon, and a frog croaked somewhere in the distance. I did what anyone would do. Tossed the alarm clock through the window and went back to sleep. In retrospect, it may have been better to have opened the window first, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. A very good idea. Aspirin may have been useful as well, but don’t they always say hindsight is always 20-20, and furthermore, does that proverbial old wives tale include the eyes in the back of your mother’s head?
I ask only because this was the morning of my 18th birthday, and much like the rest of the world, I’d stayed up far too late the night before, or more accurately, the morning following the night before, celebrating the rollover from 1970 to 1971. I am certain that my impending birthday played no small part in the worldwide celebration.
I had two items on my to-to list for that Sunny first day of January, 1971. Well, three if you include repairing the window. Register for the Viet Nam draft, as required by law, and register to vote. As it happened, both had to wait until the second day of January, 1971, because the world was taking the day off to celebrate my birthday with me, or without me, as it turned out.
As I said, I went back to bed. You never can store up enough sleep.
I did accomplish the things on my task list with mixed repercussions. When I went down to register, I was given a very high number in that year’s lottery, and Mr. Nixon, for whom I cast my first ever vote in a presidential election, returned the favor by ending the Viet Nam draft just days prior to my number coming up.
The other thing was registering to vote. I cast my first vote, as I said, for the Nixon-Agnew ticket. That didn’t work out so good. Still, I did vote, as I have in every presidential election since, including the one when I was in Europe, and almost every local election. Although I am a registered Republican, I have voted for Republicans, Democrats, Independents, Write-in Candidates, Libertarians, and on at least six occasions, the last presidential election included, for myself. I have voted for men and women, White, Black, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Polish, and undetermined. I take this privilege as a responsibility. I research the candidates and the issues and vote accordingly. There are only two things I am fairly certain I have never done in any election. I have never voted Tea Party, nor have I ever voted straight ticket.
If the truth bothers you, you might want to stop here.
If, in 2008, you voted for John McCain and the only reason you know is true in your heart of hearts, is that John McCain is white, you are a disgrace to our nation, and a racist bigot. Having said that, if you voted for Barack Obama, and you know in your heart of hearts that the only reason you voted for him is because Barack Obama is black, you, too, are a disgrace to our nation and a racist Bigot. And don’t give me any of that George W. Bush bull crap. He wasn’t running. If you’re voting color or gender, you are a bigot and that’s all there is to it. Furthermore, you don’t have the brains to deserve the privilege of voting. Hey – I warned you.
And, come to think of it, it may have been a dark and stormy night, that cruise ship may have well been the Black Pearl, and it could have been a fire cracker, or perhaps a shot that rang out, but I’m pretty sure about the bullfrog.