I’ve been watching a lot of football because it’s football season, and watching football and eating ridiculous amounts of charred animal flesh is what we do during football season. And one of the things you get from watching football and eating, say two pounds of sausage — in addition to clogged arteries — is lots of exposure to commercials.
Of course, the airwaves (or fiber-optic waves, I guess) are awash in political commercials right now, as the Nov. 3 election is less than a week away. Living in Alabama, most of our political commercials are narrated by someone with an accent that sounds like what someone from New York imagines Southerners sound like. Because — obviously — we wouldn’t understand someone with a non-regional dialect or even an actual Southerner who isn’t trying to sound like a hillbilly looking for a lost huntin’ dog. But maybe that’s beside the point.
In addition to telling me in mind-numbing detail what absolutely horrible people Donald Trump, Joe Biden, Tommy Tuberville and Doug Jones are, these commercials have let me know I need to “have a plan” in order to vote. I thought just going to the polls and filling in some bubbles on a Scantron sheet qualified as a plan, but it’s not! You need to have a REAL plan!!
According to these commercials, millions of people who wanted to vote in 2016 couldn’t because they didn’t have a plan. Millions of people! They wanted to vote, but just couldn’t. Because they didn’t have a plan ….
So, I wrote one out during halftime, and I think it’s completely worth ripping off to use as your own plan. Here it is:
- Check with yourself and make sure you actually want to vote. This could be tricky given the choices, but let yourself know there are exciting constitutional amendments to read and that should push the needle into the “kind of want to vote” category. Bribe yourself with a treat if necessary to build the proper enthusiasm. It’s not going to get much better, so we’ll call it “good enough.”
- Go to the correct polling place. Knowing where it is located is a critical part of the plan. That cannot be stressed enough. Without this knowledge, it is quite possible to end up in Waffle House asking to have your ballot scattered, covered, smothered and chunked. While delicious, this would count as a mission failure.
- Have an ID and a mask. Technically, you don’t have to wear a mask because it’s against the law to keep you from voting maskless, but let’s not stir up a bunch of trouble, OK?
- Be prepared to immediately take your mask off so you can be compared to the horrible picture on your ID. Do not breathe or create any “droplets” during this procedure. Do not contemplate the irony.
- Also, keep chit-chat with poll workers to a minimum. They don’t need to be distracted, lest some voting scofflaw attempts to double vote or otherwise “rig” things. Both presidential candidates have informed us the only way they can lose is if the election is rigged and you do not want to be an inadvertent cog in the rigging machinery.
- Fill in the ballot. Write in a local sports bar owner’s name for president.
- Place the ballot in the machine and score an “I voted” sticker for your shirt, blouse or non-gender-specific torso covering. Make sure the sticker is prominently displayed in order to elicit maximum shame points from nonvoters around on the streets and in the office.
- Go to Waffle House.
Yes, I’ll admit it’s a pretty basic plan, but I’m a pretty basic guy. Still, upon reflection, I realize there are a few contingencies we may need to account for in order to have a really top-notch plan.
First of all, let’s address fear. It’s perfectly normal to feel fear when voting. As we know from countless news stories, “people” are always trying to suppress your vote. How will this suppression come? It could be people looking at you while you vote. Or maybe your pen doesn’t have ink in it. Suppression! Perhaps your alarm clock didn’t go off on time. (What, you don’t think THEY can hack your alarm clock? Puh-leez!)
You might even be suppressed by unusual weather, heavy traffic or someone in line wearing way too much cologne. Stay strong. But if you see a bunch of guys with machine guns and swastikas at your polling place, you’re definitely being suppressed. Go to Waffle House.
That brings up the most important part of the contingencies portion of our plan — identifying people at the polling place who could send you into an uncontrollable rage that causes deviation from the plan due to shortness of breath or arrest. These people are very likely to be at your polling place. You must be ready to deal with it. Warning: Depending upon your political leanings, you may only see one of these problem groups.
Communists — Biden stickers or merch of any sort will be the easiest way to spot these folks, but also look to see if they’re riding bikes or any kind of vehicle that plugs into a socket and has a bumper sticker about cats. They will also seem extremely angry.
Fascists — Trump stickers and merch will also be the easiest way to spot these people, but arriving in monster trucks, SUVs or any kind of boat parade is also a tipoff. Bumper stickers with Calvin urinating on anything are a dead giveaway. They will also seem extremely angry.
Antifa — These losers will be wearing black and letting the air out of tires in the parking lot. They’re easily identified. Stay clear; they are very angry.
Third-party supporters — Most commonly identified by any kind of jewelry or clothing depicting pot leaves. These people radiate a palpable mix of superiority and desperation. They’re angry too, but pay them no mind.
Election Day promises a roller coaster of emotions this year, so try to stay hydrated and don’t overdo it with the alcoholic beverages, illicit herbs or modeling glue. Now that you have a plan, there’s no excuse. Get out there and vote, then wash the whole terrifying affair from your mind by losing yourself in a waffle drenched with Bert’s Chili.
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