Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sara(h) Smiles, Part 5: Candy From Babies

I’d tell you that knocking on doors and asking people to contribute to the Committee to Elect Sarah in 2012 while B. Hussein Obama was in Asia was like taking candy from a baby, but attentive readers will remember that the only experience I’ve had with babies’ candy involved slipping it to them in supermarkets when their mothers are preoccupied. My first choice has always been to drop odd items into strangers’ carts when they’re not looking, but there’s something about the sight of an infant or toddler riding in a shopping cart that renders me incapable of not slipping him or her a Snickers, say, or a Butterfinger while Mama’s gauging the relative ripeness of avocados, or the relative expensiveness of paper towels of comparable thickness and, one supposes, absorbency.

When people answered their doors I had only to point at my Sarah 2012 lapel button to inspire them to break into huge grins and ask me to wait while they got their chequebooks or piggybanks or what have you. One elderly fellow had a huge trunkful of pre-1960 cents (Americans do not have such things as pennies, you know), with olive branches and text on Abe’s flip side, rather than the Lincoln Memorial. He’d been collecting them for 50 years, and had had 5623 the last time he’d counted them, in 2007. I’ve always been rotten at math, but even if it were up to 8000, that would only be $80, and I wasn’t going to try to drag his trunk all the way to my car for $80. When he insisted on Sarah having the money, I told him I would return as soon as I could hire a couple of Guatemalan or Honduran day laborers from in front of the Home Depot in Fishkill to help me.

There are only Mexicans and the occasional Finn in front of the Home Depot in Fishkill.

Just about everyone agreed that there was something very fishy about Obama suddenly wanting to visit his childhood school in Indonesia at a time when his own country is going to hell. Many speculated that, in the wake of the beating he took in the midterm election, he’s trying to find comfort among his own kind — a kind other than our own. One person figured he wanted to see if the desk into which he’d gouged Marxism Forever all those years ago was still at his old school. A couple of people — one of whom claimed to have voted for Sarah in every election since 1988, which I didn’t find feasible, as Sarah was 12 then, and not old enough to hold public office even in Alaska — saw the whole excursion as proof that the president really is a Muslim. “Ain’t there enough weird furriners in this country that he don’t have to go flying all over the damn world to see some?”

A couple of blocks away, I encountered my first whack-job, as we volunteers are expressly forbidden to call them, but call them nonetheless. This guy was sitting around smoking in his own house in mid-afternoon in a coat and tie and black patent loafers he kept bending down to rid of ashes with saliva-dampened fingertips. At no time during my visit, which was at least four times as long as I’d have preferred, did he have fewer than two cigarettes going at once, and I’m pretty sure he absentmindedly lit a third a couple of times. He had nothing but the fiercest contempt for so-called birthers who believe that Obama was actually born in Kenya, rather than Honolulu. His view was that anybody with a drop of sense would have apprehended from his surname that our president was actually black Irish, and that his real birth certificate, a JPEG of which he claimed was readily downloadable as a PDF from the Internet, was in the name of Declan Hussein O’Bama.

I couldn’t help but laugh at the thought that anyone — let alone anyone smart enough to edit the Harvard Law Review — would change the Declan and O’Bama, but leave the Hussein. My host said, “What the hell is so goddamned funny?” and pulled a pistol from the inside breast pocket of his suit, as the Second Amendment gives him every right to do. It was nonetheless enough to make me wish I’d devoted the afternoon to getting the earlier guy’s collection of pre-1960 pennies back to CES2012 offices. But of course there are no pennies in America, but only possibilities — endless ones, wonderful ones.

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