Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 42: Politics As Usual

"Jane, you ignorant slut..."
"Dan, you pompous ass..."

Dan Aykroyd and Jane Curtin beginning their remarks on their Saturday Night Live skit parodying Point/Counterpoint.

We had been doing pretty well the first few nights here in Freehold. Lots of funny stories shared with Walt and Terry. Lots of laughs as we reminisced about the silly things we'd done 20 years ago.

And then we went to the Court Jester on Wednesday for a couple of drinks and dinner. It was loud at the bar, three different baseball games were playing on TVs and I was sitting furthest to the left of the four of us. I was lucky if I could catch every third word.

But I did catch one sentence as we finished our meal that settled a heavy cloud of doom around my head. My bride leaned into Mr B and said, "I don't want to discuss politics, but . . ."

A little history helps here. Back when we lived here, LK and Walt would get into the most spirited, don't-give-an-inch discussions of politics this side of Glen Beck and James Carville. I say discussion, but frankly it usually became a question of which person could state their point of view the loudest - and as the night wore on, which stated their view last.

There was never any chance of even the slightest middle ground. Walt is so conservative he thinks most Republicans are too liberal. And whatever points he tended to make, you could count on Linda readily carrying the flag for the flip side of the argument.

For the first few nights here, we had managed to skip the political topics. It helps that we don't live here any more and spend much more of our time worrying about Sydney property prices than whether Barack Obama is a socialist. And yet we all knew that moment would come, as it did, when LK was bound to lean in and say, "I don't want to discuss politics, but . . ."

Suffice it to say that a spirited defense of two conflicting opinions went on for hours, with the volume rising and - as Walt noted the next day - the amber alerts coming faster than usual. By midnight I had heard enough and decided it was my bedtime.

Just before hitting the sack, though, Walt reminded me that this was just part of what made getting together fun. "We're all friends, Don," he said and I went to sleep with the faint murmur of further discussions going on. However, I couldn't stop remembering the night Walt became so agitated at LK's arguments that when we were getting ready to leave he left the room and returned in his old Army uniform.

Apparently he felt saying good night to a patriot would shame Linda into abandoning her wayward beliefs. That was never going to work that night, and for that and even more obvious reasons, I am pretty sure that uniform is never going to get a second go 20 years later.

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