Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Moving the Merchandise

This past Saturday I opened my garage to pull my car out and run an errand when I saw my neighbors across the street holding a garage sale. No big deal. They do this about once every two or three months – I swear they have a warehouse full of this stuff because it always seems like they have at least one television set, a telephone, some type of hutch, and a table for sale at each one, and they’re not the same ones if you know what I mean. At any rate, in the time it took me to walk around my car and climb into the driver’s seat, I believe I saw between seven and eight vehicles pull up to my neighbors’ home and what seemed like hundreds of people come piling out of them like clowns out of a VW Bug at the circus. Of those seven or eight vehicles, I believe more than half sported bumper stickers for one or more Mexican soccer teams. Obviously, my neighbors had run an ad either on Univision or Telemundo – apparently, it’s not that expensive, and the reach those networks have is pretty vast.

By the time I had returned from my errand, all of the merchandise had moved except for the hutch. Have no fear, within another twenty minutes a woman pulled up in a station wagon and brokered some type of deal with my neighbors to take the hutch off their hands. With this extra money in hand, they could go buy more telephones and tables to be sold at a garage sale at a later date. Ah, the Circle of Life!

This year, we get to have a National Garage Sale – some of you more persnickety people out there choose to call it an Election – and move out some of the stuff that’s cluttering up our home and replace it with some other stuff we’ll invariably tire of in a matter of time. Come on, you see the similarities don’t you? Stiff, boxy accessories that just seem to be taking up space, gathering dust, and costing us far more than we should have paid in the first place – and there are the pieces of home d├ęcor, too.

Regardless of political affiliation, your choices in the National Garage Sale are all used products – some have a wobbly leg, others have a slightly scarred face, while others look pretty fresh but are rotting on the inside. In some instances, it’s a state giving up its Governor for a national position or a city surrendering one of their “greats” to run for a county or state seat. Sure, they stand there and tell you how wonderful he or she is as a leader. We never think to ask, “If they’re so nifty, why don’t you want to keep them?” Instead, we eat it up and tuck them under our collective arm and carry them to a new calling, all the while the city or state is standing there thinking, “Sucker!”
Nevertheless, vote with conviction! That’s your right and responsibility as an American citizen, for sure. (And if you’re like me, be sure to write yourself in for at least one position like Justice of the Peace – somewhere, there has to be a record showing that I got a vote.) But if you find yourself standing there at that flimsy plastic table with cardboard walls designed to be a voting booth (nothing says “Big Adult Patriotic Duty” like something that looks like a prop out of a third-grade school play), and you feel like you’re facing a moral dilemma by having to choose between candidates, just remember you can always put him or her up for sale at the next National Garage Sale. It’s one of the great constants in our universe: gravity will always keep us from floating away, water will always be wet, my mother will continue to buy the same style underwear for me at every birthday, and there’ll be another sucker willing to take the politicians off your hands the next time around.