. . . and in even bigger letters: RESPONSE REQUIRED. Then “We must hear from you within the next ten days. An urgent, postage-paid envelope is enclosed.”
“Yikes!” I thought. “What have I done now?”
The return address (actually just a logo) seemed benign: The Atlantic. Good magazine. But the flip side of the envelope was a little intimidating: Office of the Publisher. That’s pretty high up in the organization, let me tell you.
I looked at my wrist. It was already Wednesday, and I had to spend the day in Maine. It would be Thursday before I could respond. Should I send my response via FedEx to be certain to get it there within the crucial ten-day window?
I let out my breath (I hadn’t even realized I’d been holding it) and opened the thing. It wasn’t bad news. In fact, I’d been selected to be a subscriber at a special rate. I let out a sigh that was ripe with relief but which quickly turned to guilt. I subscribe to The New Yorker. It’s dense and literate. It takes up all of my weekly magazine time. I can’t possibly make time for The Atlantic.
Guilt hits you when you don’t expect it. I happen to live in a small, triangular Northeast state that’s been in the news a lot lately due to the immediacy of the presidential election that’s only 17 months away. (My mother once gave birth to two babies in a 17-month span. I was the second one.) Anyway, we have the second primary, so we get a lot of attention. What I want to say now is “Don’t believe the polls!” Last night I got a call from an automated polling service. With such a small population in this state and so many polls, we get a lot of these calls. I never tell them the truth, especially when they are actual machines. This poll was fairly easy. Press 1 if you are Republican. Press 1 if you consider yourself a conservative. Press 1 if you strongly expect to vote in the Republican primary.
Easy. It was straight, lying ones for me across the board.
We finally got to the question I was waiting for, and then there was more waiting because this one had ten options (1 through 9, then zero). “If the primary was today, would you vote for 1) Mitt Romney. 2) Tim Pawlenty, etc.” The excitement rose, and they finally got to option zero (consider the irony) which was a former governor of Alaska. (No, not Wally Hickel, who held the post in both the 1960s and the 1990s).
I pressed zero. I felt elated. From what I know of these sorts of polls, they generally include about 1,000 people. So my disingenuous votes messed up their results by at least a tenth of a percentage point. Yes!
After a while I felt really, really bad about this. I’d just lied to an operative of the Republican party. What kind of person am I? Can you get in trouble for that? They obviously have my phone number. And the Atlantic has my mailing address.
I think I’d better lay low for a while. The U.S. Open starts tomorrow. Can I still enter? It’s the u.s. OPEN, so I assume any legitimate American can show up and play. Maybe not. It’s been a year since I swung a golf club, and I rarely shoot par (for any hole). And I don’t have the right slacks. I think I’ll play a couple of rounds with my son Jonathan this weekend instead.
Anyway, strawberries and lettuces are ripening all over this country of ours. Please buy some at your local farmer’s market.
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Published on June 15, 2011 12:54 • 241 views
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message 1: by Kim (new)

Kim Griswell It takes a lot to make me laugh when it's 9 minutes past quitting time at work. Now I'm wondering if I should go back to a land line for my phone so I can vote for "O" too! Maybe not...

message 2: by Rich (new)

Rich Wallace Thanks Kim! It's always good to make somebody laugh.

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