Up the creek

God help me – my father has discovered e-mail. While the internet is a wonderful tool for keeping in touch with loved ones from afar, I think we all know that anything meant to ease the pain and suffering of everyday life is ripe for abuse. All I can say is, an emoticon support group can’t be far off. And while the “FW:FW:FW” is typically the first clue to hit “delete,” usually the jokes, chain letters and urban legends come in manageable waves. But lately, it’s been more of a tsunami.

I think it all goes back to that fateful trip home from college when I announced at the Thanksgiving dinner table that I had voted for Dukakis. Immediately, lips pursed, brows were raised and throats cleared in the awkward aftermath that typically follows such a blasphemous declaration. While the news eventually settled in with the ease of the tryptophan, it was never quite digested, so to speak. Anyway, over the years, it was easy enough to deal with the “pinko commie” tag of endearment and ridicule for owning a Japanese car from a distance of 1,400 miles. But the wonders of bandwidth changed all that.

Now, not only am I constantly bombarded by awards for the Irish lottery or special discounts on products to enlarge parts of the human anatomy I do not , or ever plan to, possess, but with the 2008 presidential race in full gear, I am now kept abreast of the latest drivel churned out by the Republican propaganda machine (a Model T, I’m guessing), courtesy dear old dad. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good Hillary pantsuit joke as much as the next threatened guy. And while I’m often tempted to click those offending e-mails straight into cyber oblivion, occasionally, in a fit of bipartisan spirit, I thicken my pinko skin and give in to curiosity. I figure it’s the least I can do to humor the man who financed my college education for four years, much of which was squandered on decidedly unconservative behaviors such as Jell-o shots, frequent trips to Red Rocks in an old Dodge van and walking to class barefoot.

Anyway, so there I was, Monday morning, reading a good one about Hillary and Obama going down the river in a boat. Naturally, it almost being river season, I read on: “Hillary and Obama were going down the river together, when the river got rough. The boat capsized and they both fell out. Who was saved?”

(Of course, in seeking the answer to this riddle, those of us familiar with river travel must set aside the obvious questions such as: Is “capsizing” the same as “flipping?” Weren’t they wearing PFDs? Why didn’t they just self rescue? Did they save the cooler?)

Anyway, if you’re still stumped even after suspending all basic river knowledge, allow me the honors. The answer is: America. (Don’t worry if you didn’t get it right away, it took me a few reads, too.)

Anyway, I guess the point is a) Hillary and Obama are bad swimmers and b) Their violent and simultaneous deaths would result in the end of all of the country’s current woes. We would be “saved.” Hallelujah!

Of course, what exactly we would be saved from is not entirely clear. (Recession? Too late. A $6 gajillion Mid-East quagmire? Ditto. $4 gallons of gas and weirdo polygamist cults? Done and done.)

Maybe a more accurate interpretation is that we, as Americans, have to be saved from ourselves. Not that I recommend abandoning ship and every man, woman and child swimming for his or her life. It’s bad enough that half of us are in the same boat, with some paddling for the Hillary shore and others to Obama’s camp. I’ve even found myself abandoned on an island somewhere in the middle. On one hand, I can see the JFK ghost and really do want to believe. I mean, my mother hasn’t gotten that excited about seeing someone live since Freddie Fender played the State Fair in 1978. But on the Hillary hand, I have to ask, what’s so wrong with being a bitch? You never heard anyone faulting Lassie when she was saving their sorry ass, did you?

Nevertheless, there is something I am 100 percent certain of: Captain McCain and Firstmate Cindykins is scarier than Obillary ever could be.

So, if you’ll allow me to continue on with the river analogy (hey, they started it) those of us fighting the current better figure out how to paddle together before we get any farther downstream. Whether that means a V.P. in pantsuits or the White House’s first firstgentleman, people seeking a release from this keeper hole we’ve been recirculating in as of late need to work together.

Because there’s one thing we can be sure of. If Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton do end up on different shores, we’ll really be up a creek.

– Missy Votel