Pardon Me, Your Chad is Hanging (Part One)

Out to Lunch, 2001

For those who are interested in such things, we are now, finally, in the so-called new millennium.out to lunch

We normally start counting things at 1, not 0, so the start of the next thousand years is 2001, not 2000, which was actually then end of the last thousand. Not only that, but the experts also say that 2001 is not truly the start of the third millennium, because roughly two thousand years ago we started counting at the wrong place.

Apparently Jesus Christ was born about for years earlier than we initially thought, so that 1997 was actually 2001.

Oh, well. Now, on to more important matters: chads.

It should come as no real surprise that if we can’t count years correctly, we were bound to have some trouble counting ballots.

I realize that everyone has just about had their fill of this, but I have yet to put in my two cents’ worth on the subject. And, after witnessing the parade of experts, opinion gurus, political pundits and talking heads who got way more than their allotted fifteen minutes of fame during ELECTION CRISIS, I think that my two cents is worth much more than theirs. Consequently, I’ve also decided to take up television journalism.

I say ELECTION CRISIS because the television reporters like to devise ominous sounding titles for every news event, and I have better start toeing the media line if I am to have a chance of unseating Tom Brokaw.

For instance, a tornado in south Alabama becomes DESTRUCTION IN DOTHAN. Floods in Colorado: DENVER DROWNS. Mad Cow Disease in Massachusetts: BOSTON BOVINE BELLIGERENCE. And their propensity for excessive dramatization is not limited to large-scale disasters. HANGNAIL IN HAWAII, FRANKFURT FENDER-BENDER, and SCHOOLBOY MISSES BOWL, FORCED TO SCRUB BATHROOM FLOOR are the types of riveting stories of worldwide import about which we are treated to round-the-clock coverage, commentary, and concomitant commercials.

Which brings us back to ELECTION CRISIS.

If you’ll recall, the Florida presidential election processes gave us chads. Scads of chads. Gads! at the chads. There were Swinging Chads, Hanging Chads, Dimpled Chads, Pregnant Chads, Perforated Chads, Glad Chads, Mad Chads and Very, Very Bad Chads. Where is Dr. Seuss when we need him!

Enough I think, is what I’ve had

Of all these very Ugly Chads

They’re Very Bad

They Make me Sad

I think I’m Mad at Scads of Chads

They Swing, they Hang, these Dimpled Chads

Pregnant, Perforated, Vote-Clad Chads

I hope there is no Plaid Chad Fad

Enough, I think, is what I’ve had.

Well, you get the picture. By the way, will the pregnant Chads give birth in August?

Unfortunately, THE 37 DAYS OF CHAD (a subset of ELECTION CRISIS), did, in fact, create a Chad Fad, however brief. I say THE 37 DAYS OF CHAD, because this significant phase of American history occurred during the yuletide season when we were all beginning to hear the familiar refrains of The 12 Days of Christmas, and, of course, I’m still angling for Brokaw’s anchor job.

I’m working on a jingle of the same name, sung to the tune of The 12 Days of Christmas, which will serve as an emblem for the era. “On the first day of Chad, Al Gore gave to me, a recount in Broward County,” and so forth. I’ll let you know when it’s finished.

THE 37 DAYS OF CHAD FAD spawned jewelry that mimics the shapes of Chad (that’s anchor talk for more than one Chad), and portraits of Al Gore made with Chad-shaped flakes. And, speaking of flakes, any day now I expect to see boxes of Chad Flakes gracing the shelves of the cereal aisle. No Sugar-Coating Added Chad Flakes for those who like unadulterated voting, and Frosted Chad Flakes for youngsters and chafed adults, with a Secret Vote Decoder Magnifying Glass in each box.

THE 37 DAYS OF CHAD also had profound effects on infant nomenclature. No self-respecting parent would dare name his son Chad, until long after the painful memory of the experience has faded from our collective consciousness.

For much the same reason, it has been quite a few years since we heard of any children named Bell Bottom, Shag Carpet, or Disco.

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