Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Well, it’s the big day at last.  I trust you will all attend to your civic duty?

I had thought of stopping by my own voting station on the way in this morning so that I could parade around all day with a smug look and one of those “I voted” stickers.  However, it looked extremely busy when I passed by, and as I had to get the middle gel to school I determined to fall back on Plan B, which is to down tools early and go back.  So no sticker.  The smug smile I can still manage.

I found myself musing this morning on past elections, trying to remember which one was the first in which I actually voted, and must confess that it’s really rayther hazy.   I believe my first time was Reagan/Mondale in ’84.  I was away at college at the time, so it would have been an absentee ballot, which is probably why I can’t remember that clearly.  (What I do remember is learning after the fact of a classmate who was so upset at the results that he wanted to find me and break my nose, but was so drunk that he couldn’t remember where I lived.)  I was overseas in ’88 so did not vote that year.  My first time in an actual voting booth would have been in ’92.

The first election that I was aware of as an election was Nixon/McGovern in ’72, although my grade school understanding didn’t reach much past chanting anti-McGovern slogans on the school bus.  Ford/Carter remains somehow very vague to me, overshadowed by the larger feeling that although it was the country’s bicentennial and should have been a happy milestone, the popular mood was decidedly flat, troubled and uncelebratory.

1980 was the first year that I really took an active interest in politicks in general and the election in particular.  I was a freshman in high school then.  There were no advanced 9th grade history classes that year, the school having decided to see what would happen if it mixed the brighter kids in with the mob.  The result was fairly disastrous.  There were about four or five of us in my class, bored out of our skulls at the lowest-common-denominator pace.  We amused ourselves by calling out Mr. Jennings, our long-haired, sandals-wearing teacher, whenever he tried to put his own personal political slant on things.  (We also tormented our classmates with our air of contempt at being saddled with them.  One time we actually convinced a gal that the Earth really is demarcated in lines of latitude and longitude, the lines being laid out in toilet paper.  “What about in the oceans?” she said, “Wouldn’t the paper come apart?”  “Oh, it’s laminated so it’s water-proof,” we replied.  “Ooooooooh…” she said slowly.  We weren’t very nice.)

Anyhoo, election evening we were all out to dinner in celebration of the Mothe’s birthday.   At some point somebody came into the room and announced that Carter had conceded.  A large, Aunt Dahlia-like woman at a table near us boomed out, “Thank God!”

Despite my general contempt for politicks, I nonetheless follow them conscientiously.  And although I always tell myself that it won’t happen this time,  Election Night inevitably finds me glued to the teevee, feverishly awaiting each new nugget of information on the results as it comes in.  I’ve no doubt that the same thing will happen tonight.