Trying to ignore the presidential election is like trying to ignore gradual but substantial weight gain or that gigantic, swollen, pulsating zit on my left cheek. We all see it. It makes us all uncomfortable and no amount of cover-up or concession speeches will make it better.
So I figured I might as well just jot it down play-by-play: election night 2004 — not my acne. Taking a cue (code for: unabashedly stealing) from ESPN’s Sports Guy Bill Simmons, I will provide you with a totally biased, totally useless and hopefully humorous highlight reel from my election night 2004.
Let the chronicling begin: Nov. 2, 2004
12:15 p.m.: After tearing a neck muscle the day before, I’m bed-ridden at home in New York, revved-up on Prednisone steroids and painkillers. I wish I had not cast my absentee ballot two weeks ago. If only I could get out there — unshowered and infirmed — and stand in line at my local polling site for a couple of hours. Now that would make me feel American. (Lets be honest, I live in Westchester: the only line I would have waited in was the valet parking line of housewives waiting to retrieve their SUVs. How much more American can you get than that?)
3 p.m.: CNN’s Wolf Blitzer is excitedly explaining how the walls of blinking screens are a technological revolution. Unless one of those screens is a portal into an alternate universe of the future, thus enabling us to skip the next 24 hours of nail biting indecision, I think Wolf is a little too excited.
6:05 p.m.: I’m fighting the CNN fix I’m craving. My palms are sweaty. My hands are shaking.
6:10 p.m.: I need it. Before I know what I’ve done the remote control is in my hand, and the soothing rush of Wolf’s yenta-like squawk washes over me. “Mmmmm. Yeah that’s right; give it to me Wolfy. Make me feel good tonight.”
6:58 p.m.: On CNN, a gigantic floor-to-ceiling clock is helping us count down the closing times of polls in various states. The only thing missing from this equation is a Botox-ed Dick Clark, Carson Daly with a girlfriend he will inevitably break up with and confetti.
7:30 p.m.: Larry King is like the Joan Rivers of CNN election night coverage: asking useless questions over and over again and spewing worthless commentary. Let us hope he is the first one voted off the tiny table. Or does this show not work like that?
8 p.m.: T.C.T.C. To Close To Call: an acronym we all must begin to employ when discussing matters of (in)significant relationships and academics. “So are the two of you still together?” “T.C.T.C” or “Do you think you’ll be well enough to attend class?” “T.C.T.C.” It is evasive yet upbeat. I like it.
8:34 p.m.: Judy Woodruff recommends I get a map so I can see the exact location of Allegheny County in Pennsylvania. If I weren’t lying immobile in bed — and yeah Judy, thanks for mocking me in my time of pain — I would rush into the kitchen, knock my 85-year-old grandfather to the ground and frantically rustle through drawers in order to get my hands on — oh wait, no, I wouldn’t.
8:55 p.m.: Tucker Carlson describes the disgraceful situation of polls having to remain open late in Ohio as “Third World.” And I am quite sure I have a crush on James Carville. Come on — the bald head, the drawl, the connections with Clinton — I’m feeling hot and bothered.
9:20 p.m.: Let us try to take the generally inane and abstruse polls of William Schneider and give them a real-life application. How helpful would he be as an analyst of my last breakup? “Jana, anger over general levels of stupidity was a more important emotion than your fear of sexual embargo.” Thanks Bill! Now that’s good to know.
10:20 p.m.: Barack Obama’s wife introduces him as “my man and the father of my baby.” Could the Obamas be any cooler? I not so secretly want to be a part of his family.
10:50 p.m.: CBS calls Pennsylvania for Kerry. I am reminded that chickens often run around for a little while after their heads are chopped off — then they drop dead. I’m just saying.
11:02 p.m.: Larry King just checked his watch on camera when one of his co-hosts used the word “chicanery.”
11:30 p.m.: All I hear at this point is “blah, blah blah, blah blah blah.” This could have something to do with the muscle relaxant I just downed.
12:15am: Florida is called for Bush. It is that moment in the evening when you just know things are going to get bad. I’m feeling queasy. I hate going to bed and not knowing which guy I’m going to wake up with.
And so this morning I awoke. I did not want to open my eyes because I knew I was not going to like the man who had sneaked into bed with me at some point last night. I cannot believe this hangover — otherwise known as our reality — is going to last four years.
That’s one f-ing mean hangover.
Jana Sikdar is having a menage-a-trois with Wolf Blitzer and James Carville.