Here I sit about to scrawl my weekly column. It's grey and damp, around 52 degrees. A lit candle idles on my desk while on the floor, to my rear, I hear the cat licking her behind. What the gad could beat all that? Nothin'.
Three things now come to mind:
•First thing: The small paragraph you just read has nothing to do with the topic I had planned to write about, but is, instead, a line included in a note I sent to a friend earlier today. I reread the note and took a liking to how I used the word idle to describe the manner in which my candle burned. Not knowing when the opportunity would again arise to use the word idle to describe a candle as it burns-in the body of some future story-I thought I'd just up and write it for little good reason.
So, there you have it. The word idle can, in my humble, un-educated opinion, be used effectively for little good reason- to describe a candle as it burns.
•Second thing: You see I used the word gad? When you write, if you write-sometimes, when you're coming up to needing a word-do you reach into the pickle barrel that is your mind and extract a word that sounds good, but that you think might not mean anything near what you think it might mean? I do this much of the time; the word I chose ends up being the absolute perfect word for the space. Didn't happen that way with gad. I can't tell you what I thought gad meant exactly, because I had no clue; I just thought it sounded like the right word to use in the space.
After I sent the note, I looked gad up and it doesn't work in the space at all-or maybe it does. Or rather maybe it doesn't, but because I wrote it with purpose and conviction-and it sounds like it means what I want it to mean-it actually works fine.
Purpose and conviction: if while hiking you come across a bear and you're scared to death, but you act unscarred with purpose and conviction, the bear walks away (not sure that actually works, but it's what the guys who know lots about bears all say-at least the ones who haven't been eaten yet - I'm sure you know that there are two types of guys who know lots about bears. Ones who've been eaten, and ones who'll be eaten)
Or like when you're under age and you want to get into a strip club; act with purpose and conviction like you are of age and they let you in (this works).
•Third thing: Candidates-if they think they're right for the job, they're right for the job, and they'll get votes. Doesn't matter if they're actually more right at mending stinking heelless socks then mending the state; what matters is, they think they're right for the job.
While at my booth at the summer fair seeing thousands of all types of folks, I decided to conduct what so many others do regarding political campaigns: a survey.
1. Is Peter Shumlin for or against closing Vt. Yankee?
2. Do Brian Dubie and Barack Obama share or differ on the gay marriage issue?
3. What has Deb Markowitz' job been the last 12 years?
4. Brian Dubie's hometown?
5. (Bonus question) What is Michelle Obama's maiden name?
First survey: Thirty-five-year-old women, mother from Vermont's NEK, successful business person, drives miles and miles, hundred of clients, pretty, clean, bright, friendly. Got 'em all wrong. The answers were, she said, "on the tip of my tongue."
Second survey: I looked into the eyes of a guy, probably age 40, working-class guy, six feet two or three. I told him I was doing a survey-a political survey-and it had nothing to do with grading his smarts or intelligence; his answers where part of a group and wouldn't be credited to anyone, let alone him. He nodded gently. This guy was perfect; a strong, not young, not middle-aged working guy is the prototype for whom the politicians say they want to help. Surely this guy knows what's up with today's issues because his life depends on them right?
Maybe. I'll never know.
When I was about to ask the prototype the first question, the Shumlin/Vermont Yankee question, he looked at me like he'd just lost his dolly. He was at the fair, he wanted to have fun, he didn't want to take a survey unless it was about hunting or fishing, or making applesauce, or 100 things that have nothing to do with what I was going to ask him about. I didn't do the second survey.
Results: One fail, one DNA (Did Not Ask). I didn't dare. And anyway, the fact that I couldn't bare ask the guy gave me the overall survey result, that is-if we vote, we vote for the person we feel best about based on pure feeling, not on our knowledge of where the candidate stands on the issues.
Ok. Give me specifics on two major changes included in the new health care bill. Be specific, and be sure you've got the information one hundred percent correct, and be sure the changes will be carried out.
Nothing? I thought so.
Dear politicians, showing purpose and conviction, and being likable, 'ull help you get elected. The rest of the stuff is chaff. Believe me, I know, I did a survey-sort of.
P.S. I didn't include answers to the survey questions. If you look 'em up you're more likely to remember them. If you get three correct, you're at the top of the class my friend!
Rusty DeWees tours Vermont and Northern New York with his act "The Logger." His column appears weekly. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Listen for The Logger, Rusty DeWees, Thursdays at 7:40 on the Big Station, 98.9 WOKO