Sunday, April 27, 2014

#6: How I Got Paralyzed At The Polls (Polio)

I’m never voting again.

I woke up this morning excited to vote in my first presidential election. Being a part of democracy was great and all, but my local polling plaza was offering free popcorn! Who could turn that down? Today was supposed to be a good day.

Then, as I was about to leave my apartment, I got a call ‘reminding’ me of my tonsil surgery appointment. Today. I had scheduled it for next week!

The receptionist apologized for the mix-up but the next availability wouldn’t be until December. It was June. So I went in to get it over with. I walked out of the doctor’s office (exhausted from the drugs and with one hell of a sore throat) to find that it was raining. The weatherman said clear skies! And me, without my umbrella.

I had only an hour to get across town and to my local polling booth. Traffic wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be, but there was this one guy who kept cutting me off. When I honked my horn I guess it startled him. He sped forward and crashed right in front of my exit, making a huge pile-up that blocked both the highway and my exit. I had to get out and walk.

When I finally arrived at Grand Central Plaza Polling Center, the security guards stopped me. “What’s that smell?” one of them said.

I noticed it just then, too. It was foul. I checked under my shoes. I had stepped in dog shit. Of course.

“It could be some bioterrorism,” the guard said to the other. And just like that, I was a national security threat. I’m all for protecting the homeland and junk, but was it really necessary to make me strip down to my boxers? I don’t think so.

By now, I was quite irritated. When I walked into the voting area, I didn’t even care that there was no privacy: all the voting booths were not really booths at all, but computers with big monitors where anyone could see your vote. Whatever.

Of course I had technical difficulties. Someone had inactivated the account I needed to vote. I immediately knew who must have done it: Iggy, the woman I had gone on a blind date with a month ago, never called back, and was now stalking me. It took another thirty minutes to sign up for another account and reboot the system.

At long last, the candidates. There was GI Joe, who didn’t have a bio at all. The second candidate was Babyface, an R&B singer who was running on the slogan “Do it for the children: stop global warming.” The third was Albert Einstein, and his campaign slogan was a tad more ambitious: “Though the deficit’s at its peak, I’ll fix it in a week!” Finally, there was Clark Kent, who claimed he could end the War on Terror. He didn’t have a nifty slogan, but I had heard much about him. He planned to shut down all four branches of the US military, one by one, over the next 15 years.

I knew nothing about politics and was really itching for that free popcorn, so I went with the most popular candidate: GI Joe. I clicked on his name, and frowned.

“That’s weird,” I said. I tried clicking GI Joe’s name again. And again, Clark Kent’s box was checked. Again. And again. At first I thought this was more bad luck and then I glanced at everyone else’s computer. They had all voted for Clark Kent.

This election was rigged! The last pre-election polls I'd checked had GI Joe a clear favorite with 90%, but that wouldn’t matter if the damn votes were rigged.

Yeah, I know. Who cares, right? But now it was about more than just popcorn: it was about principle. Thankfully, I knew the law. I could vote orally if I didn’t want to use a computer.

I put in my request for an oral recording of my vote and, to my surprise; they led me out back to a dingy old cabin. They said that senior citizens weren’t allowed to use oral voting by law and, even though I have only a single strand of gray hair on my head, they checked my ID to make sure I wasn’t too old! This was all probably to dissuade me, but my throat hurt, I smelled like shit, and I was determined to have my vote heard. Besides, I wanted my free popcorn.

After the vote, I left the cabin with my free bag of popcorn and my 'I voted' sticker. I was about to finally pop the first kernel of popcorn into my mouth when, out of nowhere, Iggy came up and tazed me.

"That's for not returning my phone calls!" she said and then ran off giggling.

She left me there, writhing around on the ground. I spent the next hour trying to move my hand to grab just one of the popcorn kernels. I almost had it when an iguana came by and began to eat. Since when do iguanas freaking eat popcorn?!?

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