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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA

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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!


#21. My first, and last, interest in politics came when I was twenty-one years old.

I was in college, and was nominated for fraternity secretary. Now, you have to understand — this was a pretty low-key position. There were a couple of official duties, but the main responsibility was to write and distribute a newsletter each week to the constituency. A humorous newsletter, with some wit and sarcasm mixed in to break up the actual news items. Dammit, I was born for this fuckin’ job!

So, the day of elections came. It turns out that I was up against a guy that was known as a slacker. A do-nothing, lie-on-the-couch, irresponsible layabout. But a popular layabout. When he wasn’t shirking responsibility and mooching other people’s food, he was getting along swimmingly with a certain faction of our group that was well-liked and respected. He was part of the ‘in’ crowd, I suppose you could say.

Still, I thought I had it won. Clearly, the guy wasn’t going to actually do anything if elected. Surely, people would see that. Plus, the guy wasn’t funny at all. If it was laughs they wanted in their weekly rag, then I was the man for the job. And what’s more, I wanted to do the job. I knew I could handle it, and I’d enjoy doing it. It was a perfect match.

So, of course, I lost. We left the room for the vote, so I don’t know by how much, but looking back, it may well have been a landslide. I hung with a smaller, less visible group of friends, and even a lot of them probably went with the crowd, just based on their personalities. Plus, I was never much of a ‘glad-hander’, nor am I very good at tooting my own horn. So while I knew that I could do the job, and wanted the job, probably few other people did. And so I lost.

And that was it for me and politics, or anything like it. I’d never been interested in elections or campaign details before, on any level, and this experience only deepened my distaste for such things. It was even more obvious to me than ever — elected offices are not filled on merit; they’re glorified popularity contests. It’s even worse in national elections, where most people vote like sheep for their chosen party, all the way up and down the ballot, ignorant of the virtues and vices of any of the actual candidates. But even at the lowest level, the ones who are elected are those with the right friends or the loudest trumpets, or both. And I’m not really the sort to have either, nor do I agree with any organization being run based on those criteria. And so, I’ve never really been interested in politics since then. Too many ignorant or mis-informed people sway the vote in any election; the signal-to-noise (or intelligent-informed-voter-to-blithering-idiot, technically speaking) ratio is just too low for me.

So, I choose to sit on the sidelines. Not the most noble way to handle things, I suppose, but I’m awfully busy with other shit in my life without trying to inform the masses of the various stances and platforms of every politico who throws his or her hat in the ring. Not to mention the fact that many people wouldn’t listen — it’s ‘Democrat all the way!‘, or ‘Republican till I die!‘, or even ‘Give me Green, or give me death!‘. Who can battle against such near-religious fervor? And who the hell would want to try? Not me. All I want to do is write funny notes, and sprinkle in a few news items now and then. So that’s what I’m doing. And I didn’t need anyone to elect me to the post, either. Suck on that, fraternity saps!

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