Column: Walking to the White House with the senior vote

It’s a Friday evening and the cafeteria at Bethel County Retirement Home in Alaska is noisier than usual, asObama retirees residents discuss the big news of the day. The two ladies seated in the corner, who often spend meal times grumbling about the lumpy gravy or unmashed potatoes, find themselves drawn into the excitement.

“Did you hear the news?”

“Of course I heard the news, Esther. I’m old, but I’m not deaf. I still can’t believe it. Our governor, heading to the White House.”

“Not the White House, Mildred. The other house. I dunno what it’s called, but I’m sure it’s big. Dick Cheney lives there, you know.”

“Dick who?”

“Cheney. You know, the guy who shot his friend while hunting.”

“Oh, that fella. Is Sarah Palin going to be safe, moving in with him?”

“She’s not moving in with him. He’s going to move out first.”

“Oh, that’s a relief. I was starting to wonder whether it was worth it for her to be president.”

Vice-president, Mildred. The only way she’d become president is if John McCain … you know … croaks.”

“John who?”

“McCain. You know, the guy who’s old enough to move here with us.”

“Oh, that fella. Why does Palin have to wait for him to die?”

“She’s not waiting for him to die. He’s the Republican Party’s presidential nominee. He chose Palin to be his running mate.”

“They’re running together? You’ve got to be kidding me. Does that old man really run?”

“Well, I’ve never actually seen him run. He’s always walking.”

“So he chose Palin to be his walking mate?”

“I suppose you could say that. They’re walking mates, like you and I.”

“Do they walk to the Bingo Hall?”

“No, they walk against the Democrats: Obama and Biden.”

“Obama? Who’s he?”

“He’s the tall black guy who’s always on TV but doesn’t play basketball.”

“Oh, that fella. He’s kinda cute. Are you sure he doesn’t play basketball?”

“I’m pretty sure. But as my grandson likes to say, the man’s got game.”

“Whaddya mean? Does he play bridge like us?”

“No, he knows how to campaign. He’s already going after the senior citizen vote. I heard he visited a retirement home in Kansas and told ’em he won’t tax bingo winnings.”

“I’m starting to like him already. That’s the best proposal I’ve ever heard.”

“Yeah, and that’s not the half of it. He also says he’ll offer us a government-funded replacement plan, in case we want to replace our teeth, our hips or even our hair.”

“I’d like to replace my daughter-in-law.”

“Well, he’s probably got a plan for that too. But here’s the best part: he says that if he’s elected president, he’ll make it legal for everyone to drive with their turn signals on at all times.”

“That’s wonderful. So are you going to vote for him, Esther?”

“I’m not sure. I kinda like McCain. He picked our governor and he knows what it’s like to be old. On the other hand, Obama picked a senior citizen, Joseph Biden, as his running mate.”

“Does Biden do any actual running?”

“Well, he’s like most politicians. He’s always running his mouth.”

“That’s good exercise, Esther. I heard that talking burns one calorie per minute. That’s why I’m always talking to myself.”

“Biden does that too. He always tries to finish his speeches, even if everyone has left.”

“I like to finish what I’ve started too, except, of course, this lumpy gravy. It’s horrible. Sometimes I wish I could go back to the ’30s and ’40s. Everything was made so well back then.”

“So true. That’s why I’m leaning toward McCain. He’s from our generation and he’s determined to win the War on Tourism.”

“War on Tourism? What’s that?”

“Well, he’s going to stop all those tourists from Mexico.”

“What about Obama?”

“He’s not from Mexico. I think he’s from Kenya.”

“No, I mean, is he going to win the War on Tourism too?”

“Well, you’ll like this, Mildred. I heard him say that he’ll not only win the War on Tourism, he’ll also win the War on Lumpy Gravy.”

“That settles it then. I know who I’m voting for. One candidate is head and shoulders above the other.”

“Who’s that?”

“John Obama, of course. Who else?”

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

Comments

  1. The senior center in Bethel Alaska can actually be viewed here.
    When you visit the senior center, http://theelderlies.wordpress.com/2005/08/06/when-you-visit-the-senior-center/
    Perhaps folks would like a tour of what the options are for older Alaskans under a Republican administration, especially those in rural Alaska?

  2. Chris Rock, at a stand up event in Melbourne, Australia, said “McCain is so old, he used to own Sidney Poitier!” I laugh each time I remember that one.

  3. Hahahaha! that was just so funny… war on tourism? LOL

  4. You had me rolling in laughter with this one! Wow! ‘War on Lumpy Gravy’? That is so hilarious! I’m going to be grinning any time I see a bowl of flakes, oats or gravy now. And I love the way you always stay neutral – you never take sides. Its good – but I want to see what you’ll come up with about Palin’s daughter.
    We are waiting!
    Thanks!

  5. This is the funniest piece you’ve ever
    written. I loved it!
    (via email)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: