I’ll initiate this column first by saying, Merry Christmas!
Now, I’ll get right to the point of this week’s column, a rather unusual one, as indicated by the title. Yet, whether this week’s column is “unusual” in theme or, rather, is straight-ahead, plain ole’ fact depends totally on the individual reader’s particular set of values, political stance, and personal views about life.
A few nights ago, a friend invited me over to his house, saying he had a Christmas gift for me. So, I hopped into my car and drove over to this friend’s house, only a couple miles from my residence.
Now, this friend I’m referring to isn’t your everyday type of man: In his mid-70s, he has seen and done just about everything a man can do, and lived to tell about it. Further, he can be a bit on the cantankerous side and has a cutting-edge wit that is borderline Joker, as in the “Batman” villain. Still, he consistently stays abreast of the political scene. He knows who’s promising do to better America, who’s not following through with those promises, who’s running for whatever office, and why he or she should be elected to that office.
Whenever I’m around this friend, I always keep my radar up because, generally speaking, I can expect something incoming from his vast arsenal, an amalgam of a rough-and-tumble life, good I.Q., vintage savvy, and most of all, not a “yes man” to any man.
I had been at this friend’s place for an hour or so, and we’d been watching his new, flat-screen television. About the only two things this friend watches on television are sports stations and politically oriented stations. So, that’s what we had been watching: sports and politics.
To no surprise, since election time is upon us, my friend came to a channel that featured candidates debating to become the Republican Party nominee for the 2012 presidential election. There they were, side-by-side: Michelle Bachman, Rick Perry, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum.
My friend and I listened intently as each candidate essentially talked about how superior he or she was and inferior that rest were, attempting to convince as many Americans as possible why he or she should be the GOP presidential candidate. Well, nothing new there. That’s what politicians do during election time. They point out and highlight their personal strengths, while pointing out and highlighting their opponents’ weaknesses.
After watching this Republican debate for about 15 minutes – the candidates going back-and-forth – my friend’s facial expression suddenly went from semiserious to a smile.
He said, “Oh, Mike, I almost forgot your Christmas gift.”
I told him that he shouldn’t have bothered buying me a Christmas gift, given our stressed economy, in addition to the fact that he lives on a fixed income.
Sitting on his couch, his mouth full of Skoal, he commenced acting rather strangely: shrugging his shoulders, as one does when amused, and smiling as though he had something quite special to share with me.
Spitting out his Skoal into a spittoon, clearing his throat so he could speak clearly, and with a wide, devious smile, his finger moving left to right, he said, “Mike, your Christmas gift didn’t cost me a penny. Just look at that bunch debating on television: Ho, ho, ho... Santa Claus has left the building!”
Well, it took me a few seconds, and we burst out into laughter at precisely the same time. The metaphor had worked. I’d fallen for it hook, line and sinker.
All kidding aside, may the Almighty intervene and appoint the right individual, regardless of party, as our next president. That would be the best Christmas gift any American could have for decades to come.
Mike Vinson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.