As we walked to our vehicles after a stirring and physically taxing hour of pick-up basketball at the local YMCA, I turned to Dave and asked him to briefly give me a psychological profile of both presidential “candidates”. Dave served as a mental health professional for nearly four decades, and I had vested trust his abilities to give an impartial and entertaining synopsis of just who are the real Donald and Hillary hiding amid the layers of personalities dictated by the formalities of culture.
His response of a pointed ten-second bout of laughter and shake of the head deterred any faith I had in gaining additional perspective for my ballot. “I’m sorry Conn, I can’t help you. But I hope to see you at Wednesday hoops,” his head still periodically bobbed from side-to-side with full intent to mock as he walked off.
Mildly disappointed, I was left in the vacuous remains in the opposite corner of enlightenment from wisdom and purpose. How could I rectify the resounding the constituents within my soul which threatened to cast me into the realm of election purgatory and the dubious distinction and label of the “undecided” voter? With my mind sick from the plots and twists of reading Hiassen, Child and Thompson, “what would “blank” character do in an entertaining twist that would not require a meeting arranged by a bailiff with a judge?” Through the cerebral jungle noise wilderness of Harry Carey shouting “Cubs win! Cubs Win!” to a disturbing flashback of a college history professor showing a film documenting pirated gay porn circumnavigating the stringent wall of Castro’s machismo culture, the name flashed behind my visual cortex in implied and serene clairvoyance. “Joe.”
Of course, an idea accompanied the name, and with the connation of a plausible label of good ranging to bad, or vise versa, the plan of attack formed. What better way to kill two eagles with one Ak-47, than to alleviate my inability to decide on a candidate and pay it forward by doing a good deed for a friend in the form of providing the opportunity to participate in the election process for a dangerous and volatile convicted felon. The final piece of the puzzle was to implement the plan late at night or early in the morning, thereby providing the most intense and intrigue for “Joe” as he would be both startled and grateful by my surprise gesture.
Actually “Joe” was convicted of possession of marijuana with intent to distribute in a certain Midwest state 22 years ago and served 8 months in state prison. As an 18-year-old, it was his first and last brush with the law, but with the felony charge he has never had the opportunity to vote in an election. Over the last two decades, “Joe” earned professional certifications, married a beautiful woman and started a small business, which provides for his family today. He is a pleasant and caring gentleman, who enjoys playing golf and spending time with his kids. With the perpetual act of juggling his career and his role as a husband and family, he has never pursued the arduous route of clemency which involves a pardon from the state’s governor. Unfortunately, “Joe’s” plight does not apply to the 60,000 felons who were given immediate voting rights by Virginia Governor McAuliffe in assuring reelection.
As I passed along my ballot and thus my voting privilege into “Joe’s” outstretch arms and anxious hands, my only requests were that he not select a third-party and to please write in my name in any of the judge seats where both candidates were bordering on the zany and drunk with obvious idealism and zeal. At that moment he pulled out a handgun and instructed me to “put down your wallet and get the “blank” of my property!” Oh, the small lessons in life should never be learned.