“They ratted ‘em out!” Mom yelled from the living room.
I looked over at Bill, who was busy designing user interface screens for our current project. “Ratted them out?” I whispered.
He shrugged and replied, “You better go check or she’ll come looking for you and by the time she gets here she’ll forget what she wanted to say.”
“Okay,” I sighed as I stood and started making my way toward the other end of the house.
“Who ratted out who?” I asked as I came into the living room.
“All three of them,” she exclaimed. “I just heard it on the radio.”
“Mom, you don’t have a radio in here,” I commented drily. “Do you mean you saw it on the TV?”
“No, I heard it. It must have been on the radio in the other house.”
“You don’t have another… Oh, never mine. So, who ratted out who?”
“I told you, the three of them. They all got ratted out.”
“What three. Are you talking about Trump and Hillary?”
“Yes, and the other one.”
“No, not him. I don’t know who that is. The other one trying to get elected.”
“Elected to President or some other office?”
“No, not an office. To President.”
Well, Mom, there’s only Hillary, the Donald, and Gary Johnson,” I explained.
“Not a Johnson. It was Hillary and Trump and the other one. That’s who got ratted on.”
“And what was the ratting about?”
“I don’t remember, but it was pretty good,” she said with a grin. “I just know I’m voting for the other guy.”
“What other guy?”
“The one they aren’t ratting on.”
“No, I told you, I don’t know who that is.”
“Don’t worry, neither does anyone else,” I replied. “But I still don’t know who you’re talking about. All that’s left is Trump and Clinton. There isn’t anyone else.”
“Are you sure,” she asked, squinting her eyes and looking at me suspiciously.
“Yes, I’m sure,” I concluded, turning to leave.
“Well that’s a pretty crappy choice.”
“Yup, pretty much,” I said, as I started back down the hall. “I’ll talk to you later.”
“I think you’re wrong and I’m voting for the other guy!” she called after me.
“Okay, Mom, you do that. An imaginary guy couldn’t be much worse.”
Mom stopped by the office doorway and waited patiently while I finished up the last sentence in an email before turning to face her. “Hi,” I exclaimed. “What’s up?”
“I want you to do me a favor,” she said.
“Sure. What do you need?”
“If that cactus out there gets flowers, let me know.”
“Okay. Do you mean this one?” I asked, pointing out the window at our ten-foot tall, armless Saguaro.
“No, the other one. The one out there,” she said, pointing down the hall toward the kitchen.
“Mom, we’ve got almost two dozen different kinds cactus planted around the house. Is there one in particular or just generally, when any of them start to blossom?”
“The big one,” she said, narrowing it down to a little more than a dozen possibilities. “It’s out front.”
“Okay, then,” I replied with a shrug. “I’ll let you know when anything in the front yard gets flowers.”
“No, no, just the big one with the bumps. They look weird, like they’re progressives and I’m just curious to see if they’re going to turn in to anything interesting.”
“What, like Libertarians, maybe?” Bill quipped as she turned and motored back down the hall.
“Maybe!” she shouted back at him as she sped away.
It’s over 500 days until the 2016 Presidential election. Over 500 days to listen to political commentary and insight from news casters and pundits followed by Mom’s interpretation of what she thought they said. Last week, Mom’s morning’s update started with, “Did you hear that Joe Biden has a brain disease and is going to die?”
“No, Mom,” I sighed. “His son just died from brain cancer.”
“Oh, I guess that’s too bad. But I wouldn’t have been surprised if it was Biden. I always thought there was something wrong with him. He says some really stupid stuff for someone who’s supposed to be the Vice President.
“I have to agree with you on that one,” I laughed. “Unfortunately, Joe Biden can’t blame his problems on a disease.”
I thought that would be the end of it, but she wasn’t done.
“Did you hear that they’re thinking about making the president into a royal family? You know, like a king and queen?” she continued.
That stopped me cold. “No, I didn’t hear that one,” I replied. “Who exactly is thinking about doing that?”
“I don’t know. Some guy on the TV. He said we can’t pass around being president from one family to the same family without making them royalty.”
“Oh, that guy. He’s running against Hillary and he thinks another Clinton and another Bush is one too many.”
“Hmmph,” she grunted. “Sometimes I think the first ones were one too many.”
Here it is, April Fool’s Day, 2015, a perfect date to remind us that the Parties and Pollsters and Politians are gearing up for the 2016 Presidential election. We probably get at least three calls a week from one campaign camp or another, asking for our support in the form of money. We continue to be polite, and say that we’ll donate once we decide who we want to support, which won’t happen until we’ve watched a few debates and attrition whittles down the field. If being polite doesn’t work, we say we’re moving to Canada and hang up.
Then there’s the mail. I know that the political litter that falls through our mail slot almost daily right now is minor compared to the avalanche that will start showing up next year. I try to weed out most of the junk and only give Mom a few pieces because I know she enjoys opening envelopes almost as much as opening her boxes with her Publisher’s Clearing House purchases. On those few and far between days when there’s no Publisher’s Clearing House drawing entry for her to sift through, I supplement with other piece of junk mail, including the stuff from various candidates, PACs, and other official Party line propaganda.
For example, yesterday Bill and I and Mom all got identical, very official looking envelopes from the Republican National Committee. Printed on the outside was the announcement “Membership Card Enclosed.” Since neither Bill or I are ‘members’ of the Republican National Committee, I threw our envelopes in the trash. Other than this piece of mail, the only other thing addressed to Mom was a notification from AAA that she could get discounted auto insurance. I handed her the envelopes and went back to the office to continue working on our latest project.
Ten minutes later, she called out from the living room, “Patty, you need to see this.” I expected her to tell me to call AAA and inform them that she doesn’t have a car anymore, but I was wrong.
“I guess these people don’t know I quit driving,” she said, tossing the AAA solicitation into the waste basket.
“I guess not,” I replied. “What’s up?”
“Well look at this stuff,” she said, handing me the contents of the Republican National Committee envelop. “I don’t understand why they think I joined their club, but now they want me to pay for it.”
“No they don’t, Mom,” I sighed. “It’s just a political solicitation.”
“Well I don’t think that’s right to make people pay to vote, that’s all I know,” she grumbled. “In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s illegal. Besides, I don’t use a booth, I mail in my vote so I don’t need to show my membership card.”
“They aren’t asking you to pay to vote or join their club. They just want a donation,” I explained, turning to go back to work. “So ignore it and throw it away.”
“Well if they’re going to try to trick me into sending them money they’ve got another think coming, she huffed, tossing the material into her little waste basket. “I might as well turn into a librarian. It’d serve them right,”
“A librarian?” I asked, pulling up just short of the hallway.
“Yes, you know, like that Rant guy. The one with the curly hair.”
“Rand Paul? He’s a Libertarian, Mom, not a librarian.”
Okay, fine, a Libertarian then,” she said with a nod. “I bet they don’t make you pay to vote.”