Over Easy: Outlook uncertain for love outbreak

Dan Mackie (Courtesy photograph)

Dan Mackie (Courtesy photograph)


For the Valley News

Published: 02-01-2024 10:01 PM

Modified: 02-02-2024 3:21 PM

We recently voted in the New Hampshire presidential primary — you may have heard of it. I went to the polls in low spirits, but I am always cheered by the friendly poll workers in West Lebanon who have to make sure I’m not trying to steal an election.

Acting in accordance with state law, they checked my license, even though a couple know me and the Valley News runs my photo two or three times a month, and not in crime stories. State officials have put major effort into curbing the handful of improper votes that occur here from time to time. At least some of them come from people with troubled minds or in cognitive decline. Isn’t there some overlap with our state legislature?

Elections have that grand-old-flag spirit that’s in the air on July 4, at least before the beer and fireworks.

“Someone struggled for your right to vote. Use it,” Susan B. Anthony once said.

“You’ve got to vote, vote, vote, vote. That’s it. That’s the way we move forward,” said Michelle Obama.

So I felt I had to go to the polls, even if this year it was about as exciting as a trip to the dump. That sounds downbeat, but we are Lebanon landfill fans, despite confusion and controversy about dump tickets and the new purple bags. I would wear a Lebanon landfill T-shirt if they sold them, so someone should get on this brilliant idea pronto.

The election was lackluster because President Biden skipped the Democratic ballot, which was OK with me. I wrote him in with the official black election marker — fortunately it was Joe and not someone like Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, the fancy-pants Federalist candidate in 1804 and 1808.

I took a quick look at the ballot and out jumped (not literally) candidates Paperboy Love Prince and Vermin Supreme. I was a paperboy myself, but never a love prince. One-term president Donald Trump may have indirectly called me vermin as a member of the journalist class. But he and I don’t hold on to things, as you must know by now.

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Not so long ago, when there were many more reporters employed in this great land of ours, there was always someone with time on his hands who was assigned to write feature stories about candidates like Paperboy Love Prince and Vermin Supreme. If I had gone higher in the business, it might have been me.

Out of respect for the democratic process, I looked them up when I returned home.

Paperboy has called for a universal basic income, Medicare for all and spreading love. Vermin says he would pass a mandatory tooth-brushing law (nanny state!), use zombies for renewable energy and give every American a free pony.

For the record, Paperboy led Vermin 8-7 in Lebanon, which suggests the free-pony coalition is fraying. We do need love — the Beatles contended it is all we need — but the outlook for a national love outbreak is uncertain.

This election year is likely to be a long, mean slog, with 40% living in terror over a Trump victory, 40% in horror over a Biden victory and the rest distracted by TV’s “Dancing With the Stars.” They are the swing voters.

I could not ignore the Republican primary. There were 6,384 Nikki Haley ads on the TV station we watch, so many that I thought I might slip and call my own wife Nikki. It so happens that Trump mixed up Haley with Nancy Pelosi in one campaign stop. I think any man of a certain age might do that. If it wasn’t Nancy Pelosi, it could have been Nancy Walker, the late character actress who played Rosie the waitress on Bounty paper towel ads in the 1970s and 1980s. Remember the great slogan, “Bounty is the quicker picker-upper?” Biden wouldn’t be able to deliver that line nearly as snappily as she did, and Trump might confuse it with Brawny, so here we are in 2024.

Anyway, I am always pleased with myself for doing my civic duty. I received an “I Voted” sticker made by a fourth grader, which was pretty neat. The children are our future, so good luck to them.

I still don’t know what to make of that obscure Democrat, Dean Phillips, who also ran a lot of ads on the local station, blocking access to our regularly scheduled announcements about skin blotches, blood disorders and woeful constipation. Paperboy and Vermin have remained more on my mind, which says something about the power of political ads — or my aging memory.

Dan Mackie lives in West Lebanon. He can be reached at dan.mackie@yahoo.com.