I was sitting at a table at Avo's talking with my friend Seymour Sharpe when Sue Forebucks walked by. "Have a seat," said Seymour. "Just let me move Mike's purse off this chair."
"That's not a purse," I said. "It's a book bag."
"Yeah, right," he said. "I read Falwell's report about one of the Teletubbies being gay so now I know how to pick 'em out."
"It's Tinky Winky," said Sue. "He's purple which is the gay-pride color, his antenna is shaped like a triangle which is the gay-pride symbol, and he carries a purse."
"He carries a bag," I said.
"Well just to be safe, I better check your credentials," said Seymour. "This town voted down the equal protection ordinance, so I wouldn't want anyone thinking I'm hanging out with the wrong type of people." He started searching through my bag. "There aren't any books in here."
"Well 'book bag' is a generic term," I said. "It's actually a writing bag. I have a couple notebooks and some mechanical pencils."
"And a little mascara, and some emergency lipstick for those unforeseen occasions," snickered Sue.
"No way," I said.
"Let's see," said Seymour. He turned the bag over and dumped my collection of Highlighters and pens on the table. "Dental floss. Hand cream. It's looking more like a purse to me all the time. Aha. Lipstick." He grabbed a white tube and showed it to Sue .
"That's Chapstick," I said. "My lips get dry occasionally. Give me that" I started stuffing the scattered paraphernalia back into the bag. "I am NOT a Teletubby. You want to see my stomach?"
"I'm eating," said Sue. Seymour just shook his head.
"Why I oughta--" I stopped to calm down. "Hey I just thought of a sure fire way to prove my book bag is not a purse, Seymour. You want to dump out all the stuff in Sue's purse?" He shook his head. "I didn't think so. You don't touch a woman's purse. That's one of our social mores. But you didn't feel the least bit squeamish about messing with my bag. My BOOK bag. So there. Your actions imply that it isn't a purse."
"I'd better change the subject before you guys get any weird ideas," said Sue. "So who are you going to vote for in the upcoming city election?" she asked.
"He's not allowed to endorse specific candidates in the column," said Seymour before I could formulate a well thought-out excuse.
"But the editors always endorse someone" said Sue.
"They're professionals," said Seymour. "Mike's just some opinionated yutz with a word processor."
"Well I think it's to avoid my column becoming boring," I said.
"Too late for that," said Seymour. He turned to Sue. "You know. The election isn't really upcoming. It's happening now, a totally mail-in election with the final date being April 6th. You don't have to show up at a polling place and risk standing in line. Just fill out a ballot and mail it."
"That sounds ideal," she said. "It should increase participation to 99%."
"It should," said Seymour, "but I wouldn't hold your breath. Too many Americans see voting as bothersome instead of as a patriotic responsibility."
"That's true," I said. "Maybe if they threatened to close the liquor stores for the entire time a ballot is available to the public, then you'd get their attention."
"I hadn't thought of that," said Seymour. "Right now we're facing the possibility that some Fort Collins people may vote while drunk. Imagine what that would do to the government."
"I don't know about the government," I said, "but it just may increase participation. At least voters would have a built in excuse if they happen to vote in someone they don't like later on: I was drunk and didn't realize what I was doing."