Why Vote?

6 10 2010

Last night, for the second night in a row, in the name of being an informed citizen, I subjected myself to the debates for our state election. The night before it was the senatorial debate which was conducted mostly in that great New England style of intense hatred concealed by well-mannered smiles. Fangs were bared occasionally and then the gentility returned. Last night’s gubernatorial debate was a grudge match, a slug-fest with mics and three-piece suits and without the chair-throwing. I lost count of how many times the two called each other liars without actually saying the word “liar”. It was an annoying, tedious display which makes me wish there were another option out there. I was left with one question bouncing around my mind – with two candidates who I doubt could successfully figure out the way to the restroom, let alone how to sort out the state’s economy, why bother voting? I figured others might be faced with the same thought, so here’s my two cents.

Plenty of people can give good, solid reasons for voting. Some will talk about your patriotic duty as a freedom-loving American. Some can really get going, invoking the images of the service men and women currently deployed in harm’s way, the founding fathers, Abraham Lincoln, God, your mother, apple pie, Uncle Sam, and “Old Glory” to a point where you start looking for a large, robed choir to stand in rows, sway gently from side to side, and start humming the Battle Hymn of the Republic while a bald eagle flies overhead. Others will carry on about getting your message heard, taking a stand, and making DC hear your voice raised loud and proud about <insert volatile issue here>. After a good dose of that, you’re starting to think about marching around outside your town hall carrying a sign with your particular grievance aired on one side and “Fight the Power” emblazoned on the other. Well, while all of that stuff is important, I’m just not that intense. Perhaps I’m suffering from a deficit of patriotism or an overabundance of apathy, but the reason that’s drving me to haul my sorry carcass down to my local polling place, get in the little cubicle thing, and fill out a ballot is a little more pragmatic and a little less theatrical.

It is my personal belief that, if you choose not to vote, you have automatically forfeited your right to bitch about the outcome of that election. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people going on and on about what a terrible person Senator “X” or Representative “Y” is – they’re lairs, they’re criminals, they’re the child of Satan – and then, when somebody asks them who they voted for since their so upset, it turns out they didn’t vote at all. Usually there’s no good reason why they didn’t – just pure, unadulterated laziness. I hate that. I’m left wondering where all their passion was on election day and, even if their arguments for why the political figure in question should be incarcerated are perfectly valid – this is Connecticut after all – it all turns to noise pollution as far as I’m concerned when the complainer admits they never bothered to vote against their current nemesis. It’s hypocritical bull funky, I tell you! So, if you want the ability to firmly plant your forehead against your palm and bemoan the sheer idiocy of your elected officials, get thee to a polling place come November 2nd.

America, please, either get out and vote, or shut the hell up!

Thank you.

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The Masochist’s Guide to Self-Betterment – or- Beginning a Weight-Loss Plan

30 06 2010

*I wrote this a while back, but I thought it needed to be shared. Also, this is written as a joke. I’m the last person anyone should be turning to for advice on how to workout properly*

The first step to a cure is admitting you have a problem. Maybe one too many of your favorite articles of clothing “shrunk in the dryer.” Maybe you caught a glimpse of your naked self in the bathroom mirror and were stunned for all the wrong reasons. Maybe you were in the dressing room at your favorite store and txted you best friend (BFF) in a panic: ‘OMG! Im FAT! WTF?’ However you made the determination that there’s a little to much of you, now it’s time to do something about it.
First, tell your mother you want to start dieting. If you’re really as large as you think you are – and sometimes even if you aren’t, she will be overjoyed and begin to nag you mercilessly about your progress. Traditionally, this is supposed to work especially well if your mom is Italian or Jewish, but usually most mothers, regardless of ethnicity, will rise to the occasion with gusto. For extra “encouragement”, also tell a nosey grandma or auntie. Children, though generally very “persuasive”, are also, generally, very selfish and tend to reserve their fierce dedication and powers of annoyance for situations in which they are the sole beneficiaries. Translation – unless you want to keep bribing some little brat to keep after your lard ass, it’s better to leave this to the grown-ups. Why pay for something you could get free, especially in this economy? Besides, who nags you better than your mom?
Next, see all that yummy, bad-for-you food in your pantry and fridge? Well, it can’t stay there ready to tempt you in a moment of weakness, so what are you going to do with it? Those with a firm sense of resolve will get rid of it by throwing it away. How wasteful! The rest of us will have a “Day of Sin”/”*Jour de Gras” – whatever you want to call it – and savor the last bits of junk food we’ll be eating for quite some time. The next morning your stomach will feel very bad indeed and you won’t have much of a desire for most of that food for a while. Also, after you consider that your caloric intake for the previous day probably looked a hell of a lot like Bernie Madoff’s bank statement before the Feds got to the lousy bastard, you’re most likely already googling area gyms. Perhaps, if you have one, you could consider inviting your workout buddy to ensure continued dedication to the cause. Now is also the time to go grocery shopping if your constitution can handle being around copious amounts of food at the moment. You won’t buy out the store and what you do buy will be healthy because you’ve taken care of your craving for snacks and such with your “Day of Sin”.
Now it’s time to pick a gym and join it. Do a little research, pick a place where you think you’ll be comfortable, and then go and check it out. Does it smell of feet? Is the workout area such a mess that you wonder if it was a test site for anti-personnel weapons? Are the showers, locker room, restroom, ect… a health code violation? If you answer yes to any of these things turn around and leave, possibly placing a call to the Better Business Bureau as you do, and find someplace that makes the cut. When you do join a gym, and if it’s in your realm of financial possibility, hire a personal trainer or take classes so there’s someone there to hold you to your goals and otherwise whip your roly-poly self into shape.
Once you join the gym, GO! The money is already out of your pocket, so make good use of what you spent it on even after the “Day of Sin” guilt wears off. As you are jogging away on the treadmill or doing whatever it is that you do on an elliptical – ellipticaling? – take note of what bouncing that shouldn’t be and let that be a reminder as to why you’re there in the first place. Enjoy watch the little calorie-loss-counter-thing slowly go up as you huff and puff for a half hour, or hour, or whatever. Congratulations! It’s the end of your first work out and you’ve lost the caloric equivalent of a snack-sized bag of Pop Secret (without butter) and three carrots. Makes it hard to justify that post-gym trip to Dairy Queen now, doesn’t it?

Finally, as you lay on your bed, sore and tired, try to find the sense of accomplishment you should theoretically have.

*Jour de Gras – French – Day of Fat