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Days after election, pundits determine one thing: Florida's hot as hell

I know you're tired of hearing about it, but like every journalist (I use that term loosely) I am contractually obligated to talk about this year's presidential election. If I chose to do otherwise, I would be forced to write something of substance in future columns, and we all know that's not going to happen.

In order to truly grasp the politically intense (meaning insane) situation in Florida, we must take a look at the past. As many historians are fond of saying, "If we don't remember history, we are doomed to eat it." That may not be the exact wording, but it doesn't matter because, as many non-historians are fond of saying, "Historians are dorks."

This year's election is not the first time something unusual has happened in an election. Back in 1888 (give or take 20 years) Grover Cleveland defeated Benjamin Harrison in the popular vote. However, in a strange turn of events, Harrison was elected president when Cleveland got stuck in a bathtub after eating 30 pounds of yogurt. This year's presidential candidates have taken this lesson to heart and neither has bathed in months. Now, back to reality.

On the night of Nov. 7 this year, I rushed home to watch the live election footage, as did millions of Americans across the country. What I witnessed was astounding - juggling clowns, men on stilts, naked cheerleaders playing hopscotch. Actually I saw none of that, but we can dream, can't we?

What I did watch resembled a slow-motion presidential football game. There were announcers and analysts and a little scoreboard in the corner that displayed Gore's points and Bush's points and the number of time-outs each had remaining. The only thing missing was a crowd of 60,000 screaming fans eating buckets of nachos.

I flipped between the news channels watching Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Peter Jennings, and an old guy on CNN. The only difference between them was that Tom and Pete had high-tech equipment for following the election and Danny Boy was pointing to a computer monitor with a poorly sharpened wooden pencil. He was using a pencil! Can't the good people at CBS at least buy Dan Rather a damn mechanical pencil to point at his dinky screen! We're in the year 2000 here!

Then there was also Katie Couric, whom I don't believe had anything to do with the entire process, but she was a trooper and sat at the news desk the entire night. I believe staples were used to enable her to continually smile on national television for 36 hours straight.

Every once in a while there was a special news bulletin saying that one of the states had chosen Bush or Gore or, in some cases, both. If the news people didn't have any breaking news to report, they would make up something. "This just in - We can now project that Rhode Island is indeed a small state. What this means to the overall election, we can't quite tell."

It was a very exciting night. I watched as the reporters told us Gore had taken Florida. Then they told us they weren't sure any more. Then they told us Bush had taken Florida. Then they again told us they weren't sure any more. Then they told us Nader had taken Florida and run a good half-mile with it before police threw him to the ground and arrested him for being extremely weird.

By the way, can someone please explain to me why Ralph Nader can open only one eye. I feel like he's either drunk or constantly winking at me (quite possibly both). And when a man who looks like Nader winks at you on TV, you change the channel and bolt your door hastily.

So the next morning the entire country was wetting themselves except for the Firestone Company, which was going, "This is wonderful! Everybody look over there!" Nobody knew what to make of the so-called election, although the country did let out a sigh of relief that for the time being neither Bush nor Gore would be president.

On top of this, crazy reports were coming out of Florida that ballots had been found in churches, in the handbags of poll workers, and in Jeb Bush's pants. However the news stations were only able to confirm that Florida still was as hot as hell.

So it's now six days after the election, and the nation is still about as close to electing a new president as George W. is to passing the verbal section of the SATs. Now both the Democrats and Republicans have called in a crack squad (meaning they're on crack) of lawyers, politicians, and Frisbee dogs - merely for entertainment (I mean the lawyers are for entertainment). This brings up the age-old question, "Why doesn't Warren Christopher have pupils in his eyes?" He looks like the bass player from Limp Bizkit. But I digress.

I think we should decide this entire matter in a way the American public would understand - professional wrestling. It would make the procedure much more exciting. Every time Gore's batteries ran low, Bush would hit him over the head with a folding chair. And every time Bush became distracted by trying to think of a word bigger than two syllables, Gore would kick him in the nuts. Whoever could still lie straight-faced to the American public after three rounds would be elected president.

No matter who becomes president, whether it be Gore, Bush or the Taco Bell chihuahua, I think we've learned an important lesson from all this: Expecting the American people to successfully punch a hole in a tiny piece of paper without thousands of people "making mistakes" is asking way too much.

I conclude by reminding you of the most frightening fact of this political crisis. The entire process ran much smoother when Ross Perot was involved. (Don't think about that too long or you'll have a strong desire to close your head in a car door.)


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