Andy Stone: A Stone’s Throw
So I was sitting at my desk this morning, feeling a little nostalgic about Herman Cain.You know how it goes: “Remember the cute way he would freeze up? That adorable blank stare? Those little noises he would make when he was trying to think? I loved all that. I just miss him so much!”That sort of thing.And then I thought, Wait! No, I don’t miss him at all. He’s just another bad dream – someone else’s bad dream at that – and I’m glad to be rid of him.(And, if I may digress for a moment, did you see those billboards someone was putting up in Texas, featuring a big old photo of George W. Bush with his trademark grin and the slogan “Miss me yet?” I couldn’t tell for sure who was behind them. Was it someone who thought that after a couple of years of Obama we probably all were missing Bush? Or was it someone looking to remind us of how horrible he was and that, no matter how bad things might seem right now, at least we don’t have that arrogant smirking popinjay as our president?)Anyway, I was thinking about how I wasn’t going to miss Cain – at all! – when I suddenly realized what the battle for the Republican nomination really reminds me of: last call at the Jerome.As a happily married man (25 years and counting, thank you), my memories of those desperate late hours are long faded, but here’s a phrase to jog your memory: “beer goggles.”Or, to drag in a slightly cruder version: Q: What’s the difference between a dog and a fox? A: Three drinks.Or, to go high-tone, remember that Ingmar Bergman movie “Through a (Beer) Glass Darkly”?The point is, as the hour grows later and adult-beverage consumption increases, everyone’s vision is distorted by their increasing blood-alcohol level.Those who are too drunk to drive are exactly drunk enough to hook up with whoever’s available.And so we get late-night musical bar stools, in which everyone looks for a partner before the music stops and the bartender shouts, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here!”Suddenly, the dogs are foxy. Suddenly, that wart is a beauty mark. Suddenly those crossed eyes are cute. Suddenly being too dumb to put together a coherent sentence is irrelevant – who’s planning on talking anyway?To quote Elvis, “I want you. I need you.” And even, if necessary under the circumstances, “I love you. With all my heart.” At 2 a.m., lust flowers.But, like all sudden blooms, those brilliant blossoms of lust fade by dawn’s early light.Oh yeah, dawn’s early light is often way too harsh for the dreams we hailed at twilight’s last gleaming.And so, in the final act of the last-call follies, we wake – hung over, for sure – desperately searching for our underwear and the door, making lame promises to call … um … next week. Really.In short, it’s the classic one-night stand.Now change “beer goggles” to “political goggles,” and you get the Republican Party’s current “Waltz of the Thwarted Dwarves.”Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Herman Cain – think of them all as those desperate late-night, last-chance hook-ups that are irresistible at the moment and then turn into some kind of zombie horror by that harsh light of the morning after.That’s why they have each rushed to the top of the polls (“I want you. I need you. I’ll vote for you!”) and then crashed so miserably (“Pick up your tacky underwear and get out!”).Bachmann: She looked good at the time, but man, she’s way too crazy for me. (We’ve all been there.)Perry: Great looking, but once the passionate kissing was over and he started to talk … whoa! Too dumb to take home to Momma. (We’ve all been there, too.)Cain: Sure, take a rich guy home one time. But then you find out he’s been hitting on every other girl in town. Forget it.And so now we’re down to the final two choices in the bar. Mitt and Newt, nip and tuck. Newt nips Mitt. Mitt mutes Newt. (Sorry. I just love writing headlines.)So how do they fit into our last-call drama?Well, Mitt’s the one over there in the corner, smiling bravely. Good looking, I guess, but somehow missing that spark that would make anyone want to take him home. Reminds everyone of their ex – and why would you want to make that mistake again?I keep thinking of this: What does a hooker say after sex? Hope you enjoyed it, sweetie. What does a mistress say after sex? Oh, darling, I hope that was as wonderful for you as it was for me. What does a wife say after sex? Beige. … We should paint the ceiling beige.That’s Mitt. Mr. Beige. Everybody’s ex. Some people paint the town red. Some people paint the ceiling beige.And then there’s Newt.The big, scary, ugly one who reminds you of your third-grade teacher.Why would you want to take someone like that home? Are you looking for a dominatrix? A little S&M?Well, we all have our private twisted fantasies, don’t we? (Don’t answer. Please. That was a rhetorical question.)But remember: One way or another, you have to wake up the next morning.And that’s when it gets scary.
Andy Stone is former editor of The Aspen Times. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
While I love to travel, it seems that more and more the best part of any trip I take these days is the part where I come home.