May 23, 2024
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May 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Over the past few months, I’ve gotten a lot of requests from readers to write about the upcoming historic election for what will probably be the last president of the United States. As of now, I don’t have an opinion, because I’ve been trying to ignore it. And hoping it goes away.

But a lot of people are wondering if they should even bother voting. Yes, we live in this wonderful country where our opinion matters, but it kind of feels like when you want your children to feel like they have some control, so you give them a minor choice of two options that are acceptable to you, like, “You can either brush your teeth before you get in pajamas or afterward.”

On the other hand, there’s always a third option. Take the recent story about a 68-year-old woman in Virginia who died and left the following obituary:

“Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass on.”

So a lot of people are kind of saying —along the same lines—that maybe we don’t have to pick either candidate. This is what our forefathers fought and died for? The right for someone to die so she doesn’t have to vote? Maybe we should all go back to Britain, right?

Wrong. Take the recent news story about the new polar research ship that the British government is putting together to monitor climate change. This ship will be the largest and most advanced British research vessel to date. And in order to promote interest, Britain’s Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) asked the public to help name the ship. People were urged to find an inspirational name that reflected the ship’s mission while also celebrating Britain’s long naval history. So the name they came up with was: Boaty McBoatface. Which—I don’t know—sounds like a really ugly Scottish guy who won’t stop talking about boats.

So how did that work? Did lots of people come up with that name independently? Was it named after the famous explorer Sir Robert McBoatface?

The NERC went into full panic mode. They spent two months having several emergency meetings as to what to do about the situation, until they finally decided that this is not the right name for a ship like this, because we are not living in a cartoon.

So in the end, they’re naming the ship the RSS Sir David Attenborough, after a 90-year-old explorer and broadcaster who’s still alive. But they were kind of justified. The “Sir David Attenborough” sounds like a powerful, impressive ship that will knock icebergs out of the way without flinching. “Boaty McBoatface” sounds like it might get eaten by a polar bear.

But good reason or not, can they actually do that? Can they just take the public vote and overturn it?

So now the British are all upset, and they’re saying that democracy is dead. I guess my point is thank goodness we got out of that country when we did. Also, there are benefits to voting that you didn’t even consider. Take what happened the last time I went to vote. It was right before Pesach, and my wife said, “You go vote, and I’ll meet you next door at the Man with the Truck,” so I went.

And no, I’m not going to tell you whom I voted for. Mostly because I don’t know. I think it was school board members. I wasn’t thinking about it. I was just trying to get in and out and over to the Man with the Truck, where my wife and kids were fighting over yarmulke sizes.

So I came out of the building and this photographer chased me up the block. And he asked, “Did you just vote in there?” And I said, “Yes,” expecting him to ask if he could take my picture. Not that my particular vote was so historic. And he said, “Good!” and walked away.

It’s nice to be appreciated. You think your vote doesn’t count, but apparently, it’s making someone happy.

Anyway, the next day a friend told me, “Hey, your picture’s in The Record!” So I looked, and sure enough, there’s a picture of me leaving the building, looking down, thinking about the Man in the Truck. And underneath it was a caption, “Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton…”

Okay, so what the caption actually said was, “An unidentified man leaves the polling location at Franklin School No. 3 in Passaic.”

So I’m in the paper! Though that’s not such a big deal now that I re-read that. I’m always in the paper. But this time there was a picture! And a caption that called me an unidentified man!

He really could have asked for my name. Or at least just written “a man.” “Unidentified man” sounds like I’m a body they found that they haven’t identified yet. Or I’m some kind of criminal. (“Unidentified man seen leaving the bank with cloth reusable bag with enormous dollar sign on it.”) They make it sound like they tried to find out who I was, but I just kept running to my getaway vehicle. Or my lawyer shoved the cameraman and was all like, “No comment!”

“The unidentified man was then seen visiting a second unidentified man with a truck. And paying in cash.”

My point is that you should vote. Maybe you’ll get your picture in the paper! Anonymously!

Maybe they should have a contest of what to call me.

By Mordechai Schmutter

 Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia, The Jewish Press and, among others. He also has five books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].


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