|The Nossiter Net
The net that shall enmesh them all
Edited, Written, and Published by Josh Nossiter
|The Morning Mendacity
Saturday, December 25th, 2004
|The Nossiter Net is cast to snare some of the riper rascalities of the day. Comments? firstname.lastname@example.org|
|In a dingy room lit by neon and furnished in Naugahyde, six men are gathered. Their shoulders are hunched, their heads are bowed, and they do not make eye contact. They are assembled for their monthly meeting, and none of them is happy to be there. A tall, gaunt, lantern-jawed man raps his knuckles on a chipped Formica table top.
“I hereby call this meeting of the Candidates for Office Never Achieved Anonymous to order. Is there any old business?”
By custom, participants refer to each other by their full names. The purpose of the gathering is, after all, confessional. A small, jug-eared man raised his hand: “John Forbes Kerry, why must you spell out the name of the organization every time you open a meeting? We all refer to it as CON AA, the word CON and the letters A, A. That’s what we say amongst ourselves, and that’s how we identify the society to outsiders. It’s as ridiculous to spell it out every time you mention it as it would be to say North American Stock Car Auto Racing, for NASCAR. Isn’t it?”
John Kerry gave his inquisitor a jaundiced look. “Very amusing. So I said ‘who among us does not love NASCAR?’ during the ’04 campaign. But I fail to see the relevance of your remark, Michael Stanley Dukakis, unless you’d like to discuss riding around on tanks in outsized army helmets.”
“Ahem.” A perfectly coifed, unnaturally tanned, somewhat overweight man chimed in. “This, surely, is unnecessary. We are here to unburden ourselves of past failures, to confess our mistakes, to seek the support of our peers. Gratuitous criticism simply won’t help us, or anyone else. Am I right?”
A balding, aged, righteous-looking man replied “You’re right, Albert Arnold Gore, Jr. We’re here to help each other. I’m prepared to support anyone, and criticize nobody.”
The silver-haired man in the corner was moved to speak. “George Stanley McGovern
you never spoke a truer word. I’m with you all the way, 1000%.”
“Walter Frederick Mondale, those are fine words. But we’re not going to do ourselves or anybody else any good at all by trading compliments. Criticism is healthy, gotta be truthful with each other, can’t just sit around bandying pretty phrases…” the saturnine man’s speech became an incoherent mumble.
“Speak for yourself, Robert Joseph Dole” McGovern replied equably. “We’ve all endured quite enough criticism without having to hear it from each other, in my opinion. What do you think, John Forbes Kerry?”
Kerry was in a brown study. He looked up from a newspaper he’d been carrying around all day and grimaced. “Sorry, wasn’t paying attention. I’ve been following the gubernatorial election in Washington State. It seems Christine Gregoire, the Democratic candidate, has won by 130 votes in the third recount. That was after the Republican declared a phony victory. It seems the state Democratic Chair, Paul Berendt, went on the radio at 6:00 every morning for weeks to debate his Republican counterpart. The New York Times quotes him as saying ‘It's time for Democrats somewhere to draw a line in the sand and say we are not going to let bully Republican tactics determine who our governor is or how an election is going to be determined.’ The Democrats in Washington state refused to concede, and insisted on counting every vote, again and again if necessary, until all legitimate ballots were accounted for. Christine Gregoire hung tough, never gave in, and beat the Republican Dino Rossi. Her people accused him of ‘hypoc-rossi.’ Cute. Kinda makes you think, doesn’t it?”
Gore flushed beneath his tan. “Are you talking about Florida in 2000, John Forbes Kerry? I decided that for the good of the country I would cease contesting the election. I believe to this day that my decision was the correct one."
Kerry sadly shook his head. “There was Ohio in 2004, don’t forget. I conceded too. Like you, I believe I made the right decision not to continue the fight, that it was better for the nation that I give in. It’s just that Governor Gregoire’s performance makes you kinda wonder about what might have been.”
Mondale, Dukakis, and McGovern all chorused their support for Gore and Kerry. Dole leapt up from his seat. “It takes a loser to know one, and you’re the sorriest bunch of losers I ever knew” he growled. “Christine Gregoire has more cojones than all of you put together, and you sit around congratulating yourselves? Pshaw, and phooey too.”
He reached into his coat pocket, pulled out a bottle of pills, and slammed them on the table. “You keep these. You need them more than I do” he said, and stormed out the door.
Kerry picked up the bottle. “Viagra” he read aloud. “Now why would he think we need that?”
.©Joshua C. Nossiter, 2004
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