Yeah. Yeah I know. I know. You’re sayin’ to yourself, “Just switch the channel, Cantrell. Just switch the channel!”

Believe me, I hear you. And you’d be right too. You absolutely would be… except that they’ve taken over. They’re on every channel. On every one of ‘em and everywhere else too… at the same time… and in Biblical proportions… like locusts… or kudzu… or TV evangelists.

“Well, then just turn the damn thing completely off, you idiot. Turn it off,” you’re now saying.

Believe me, I agree with that too… (well, except for the part about me being an ‘idiot,” of course) I’ve tried turning the TV off. But there is just no escape. None. They’ve taken over… taken the ‘whole place’ hostage: not just the TV, but also the radio, the Internet, those new gas pump cameras, and even the new “I-berry” thingy. You name it… they’re all over the place. This morning, while I was shaving, a commercial for one of these characters showed up in my bathroom mirror.


The alarm clock radio jolts me awake me at 5:16 a.m. The announcer is in mid-sentence…

“…the stakes are extremely high. Hanging in the balance is the fate of the state, the nation and the three outer planets of the Solar System. This will either be ‘Election Armageddon’ for incumbents or the ‘Election That Saved Democracy’ for their challengers,” I hear.

Sheesh. This sounds serious….

Still a little groggy from sleep, I turn on the television. Through bleary eyes, I see the host-anchor of network morning show, Today All-day Ad Nauseum, ‘Hal Goodlookinhair,’ as he urgently announces the results of a ‘just released’ poll. The poll sponsored by ‘The Daily Scream’ newspaper and the SNN News Network (pronounced ‘sin’) finds that “…23% of people, who identify themselves as ‘conservatives’ and who also own 1972 Volvos, prefer that their eggs to be cooked ‘sunny-side up’.”

At the end of the poll results, Goodlookinhair is joined by an attractive woman – another well-coiffed blonde – for the purpose of providing expert analysis. She and the host engage in interminable witty repartee and what has to be pre-written banter. The expert reveals that she, herself as only been a U.S. citizen since last Friday, but knows for a fact that the ‘sunny-side up poll’ bodes certain disaster for ‘the liberals’ in the upcoming election. She can barely contain her glee and a self assured smirk while Goodlookinhair, for about the fifth time in two minutes, reminds us that there are 51 days, 12 hours, and 56 minutes until the polls close – and ‘wall to wall ‘Election Night Network Coverage begins on his network.

The Today, All-Day Ad Nauseum Program breaks for a commercial. Without warning…

…there is a commercial ‘approved by” political candidate, Rob Balderdash. The commercial asserts that Rob is a family man and the only true conservative in the race for ___________________ (insert the name of any political office here). Furthermore, intones a deep voiced announcer, Balderdash’s opponent, Joe Malarkey, “…is a complete idiot and a known liberal”. The announcer also alleges that Malarkey is also the Devil-love child of Ted Kennedy and Jezebel. “Once, Malarkey was even seen shaking hands with that ultra-liberal, Al Gore.” Finally, pictures of someone who looks vaguely like Malarkey appear on screen. The pictures of Malarkey are unattractive and shadowy. It would appear that Malarkey has a frown on his face that suggests that that says he has just ‘stepped in somethin’ and “…damn! This #$%^&* is all over my shoes.”

By now, I’m desperately trying to change channels, ‘rapid-firing’ the remote control as if it was a six gun and I’m Wyatt Earp at the OK Corral. Drat! It’s the Balderdash political ad on every channel. The onslaught continues…

…The Committee to Elect Joe Malarkey, Balderdash’s opponent, runs their ad immediately behind Balderdash’s commercial. “The record is clear” says the announcer, “Joseph P. Malarkey is the most conservative person who has ever walked the earth. That Rob Balderdash is an imbecile.” Malarkey’s announcer says that not only was Balderdash not born in the county, the state, or even the country. Balderdash was not, he says, born on Earth and that he might be a space alien! Lastly, Malarkey says that he is the most conservative guy in all of politics – so conservative, he says, he loves the status quo and that he doesn’t want to change a thing about anything – ever again. Ever! To support his claim on conservatism, Malarkey holds up to the TV camera, a calendar from the year 1955 and says that this is the calendar that he uses daily and that he has personally subscribed to since the Eisenhower Administration. Furthermore, Malarkey says that his weekend hobby is ‘pretending to be Amish’.

On cue, one of those annoying holograms, pops up from the bottom of the TV screen and reminds me that it’s now 51 days 12 hours and 53 minutes until the polls close.

A few minutes later as I finish dressing and am about to leave the house, the phone rings. It’s a robo-call from a dead Hollywood actor who tells me what a great guy Malarkey is and that he is not the ‘devil-love child’ of Ted Kennedy and Jezebel but rather the reincarnation of Ronald Reagan.

As I leave the driveway, my view is littered with yard signs, bumper stickers, and people who are otherwise homeless, standing on street corners all yelling at me to “Vote for Balderdash” or telling me that “Malarkey’s da man.”

These scenes repeat themselves over and over again, in some form, all day, all night… in an endless loop. I’m now seeing both Balderdash and Malarkey in my sleep and in a few other places that I thought that I’d previously posted “NO TRESPASSING.”

With the seemingly endless political campaign, I wonder if I’ll ‘make it’ to Election Day or if my TV, radio, and I-berry thingy will?


All of this makes me think that there must be a better way to run campaigns, elections and to ultimately choose candidates for public office. I’ve been mulling this whole thing over for awhile and have come up with a few ideas.

Rather than have political debates aired on PBS and sponsored by the Junior League, perhaps we could have the candidates wrestle each other on WWE Smackdown. The winner will take office and the loser leaves town and promises never to seek public office again. (Of course, the thought of most politicians in wrestling tights is more than a bit disturbing. However, it would be far more entertaining than political oratory and debate.)

What about kick boxing?

A staring contest, perhaps?

Possibly revive Punt, Pass and Kick (using a football liberally soaked in gasoline then set afire)?

If we really wanted to be serious, perhaps we could give Balderdash and Malarkey dueling pistols.

Swords, maybe?



OK, OK, calm down. I hear you. I hear all of you… especially the woman reading ‘this’ over in the corner, in her breakfast nook: “Kick boxing, swords, boxing? Come on Cantrell, be serious. That kind of stuff you’re proposing will just never work. Never.”

Well, what about a game of chance then? Say, ‘roulette’? The ‘Russian’ version?

“Now you’re just being silly”, the woman in her breakfast nook says to me. “You just hoping for a bloodletting”, just like those people who go to bull fights, and NASCAR and The Jerry Springer Show. You need to grow up.”

OK, I give, I give. You’ve busted me. Well, a little anyway. I confess that just once, I wouldn’t mind seeing one of those slick politicians holding a real bloody nose. You know… as a result of getting a real thrashing from his opponent, not one of those nice clean “proverbial black eyes” as a result of some verbal gaffe. Let’s face it, we’ve got weeks and weeks to go before the election. And then, some dolt will inevitably start up a campaign for the election of 2016. It’s driving me crazy. Something’s gotta be done.

You wonder what makes people run for office in the first place? Call me cynical, but I’ve decided that oftentimes it’s because they’re up to something’ …and the rest of us don’t find out what it is until it’s ‘way too late’. So as long as we’re going to be inundated with Balderdash and Malarkey at every turn, we might as well be at least entertained.

“Hmmn, I see your point”, the woman in the breakfast nook says to me.

Whew! That was close. I was beginning to get worried. Anyway, I gotta run. I see Balderdash and Malarkey walking this way from ‘down the street’. Man… they are relentless.

I am pretty sure though, that I know where there are some old boxing gloves and since Malarkey and Balderdash are already here…

© Copyright 2010 Will Cantrell

Will Cantrell

Will Cantrell

Will Cantrell (a pseudonym) is a writer, storyteller, and explorer of the milieu of everyday life. An aging Baby Boomer, a Georgia Tech grad, and a retired banker, Cantrell regularly chronicles what he swears are 'mostly true'  'everyman' adventures. Of late, he's written about haircuts, computer viruses, Polar Vortexes, identity theft, ketchup, doppelgangers, bifocals, ‘Streetification’, cursive handwriting, planning his own funeral and other gnarly things that caused him to scratch his head in an increasingly more and more crazy-ass world.   As for Will himself, the legend is at an early age he wandered South, got lost, and like most other self-respecting males, was loathe to ask for directions. The best solution, young Will mused, “was just to stay put”. All these years later, he still hasn't found his way but remains  a son of the New South. He was recently sighted somewhere close to I-285, lost, bumfuzzled and mumbling something about “...writing' his way home.” Of course, there are a lot of folks who think that “Cantrell ain't wrapped too tight” but hope that he keeps writing about his adventures as he finds his way back to the main highway.