Columns » Bob Lancaster

Wail here

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You supporters of Tuesday’s winners can go on about your gloating; this column is for the losers and those who cast their aspirations on the no-good sons-a-bitches. No, just joshing. But this really is the place to come to if you backed the wrong horse. Just a few cheerful observations, words of consolation and encouragement, reminders to think positive and remember it could be worse.

They can’t screw you out of going to Franke’s and having a piece of the egg custard pie any time you feel like it.

Yes, the pump price for unleaded will probably zoom back up by $1 or $2 or $3 or $4 or $5 or $10 a gallon, but it’ll start coming down again in just another year and a half, and they can’t make it too expensive because, like the ads say, those friendly folks at Exxon, the whorehoppers, are drivers too.

They can’t throw you in prison uncharged and torture you to death and then deny the whole thing. Oh…uh, well OK then, as far as payback, it’ll most likely be a long time before they get around to you.

Coming home from the racetrack, one of our gang always says, “We’ll get ’em next time.” None of us believes that, of course, but just saying it somehow lets you turn the page and move on.

One of my favorite Arkansas politicians was an old chronic loser in Bradley County years ago whose campaign slogan late in his hapless career became, “This time it’s MY time!” I don’t recall if his time ever did come, but the slogan surely cleared his heart of bitterness after each election and allowed him to approach the next campaign with confidence and good cheer. I remember him and his slogan every time I buy a lottery ticket.

The No. 1 sure-fire way up out of post-election dumps is to rent a video or DVD of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” and watch the scene of Jonathan Winters tearing up the filling station. There’s a divine madness in his frenzy and it’s transferable, dissolving away gloom and negative feelings that accrue from losing elections or reading existentialist literature like the books of Albert Camus. It was “The Stranger” you’ll recall that turned President Bush from a genial fruitcake into a surly nutjob. A couple hours of “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” away from Cheney’s unrelenting pit-viper glare and sneer, wouldn’t hurt him any, either.

Read all the Ogden Nash you can get your hands on. Can’t find any you can borrow mine.

Jeff Davis, the Arkansas demagogue of yore: “I’m getting tired of politics. Politics will ruin any man. It has almost ruined me.”

The thrill of victory is even briefer than the agony of defeat, all of it whoofing away with the realization that win or lose pretty soon you’ll die and it won’t have mattered. It won’t have mattered who did and who didn’t, who was on top and how long. Who won and who lost in 13th century Gaul?

Re the brevity: Uncle Orv is who I always think of. So scary when he wore the iron glove, then overnight it seemed like a sad old jug-eared clown appeared in his place, broke and p-whipped and ridiculous. Huckabee’s had 10 years, too, and look at him.

Ponder his before-and-after side-by-side, then go ahead and weep.

If you failed to appreciate the fall colors during all the campaign hubbub, you’ve still got another week or so to make amends. Get out there and admire God’s handiwork, the hickories and maples and sassafras. You’ll be glad you did. (Yeah, yeah, this is a variation on the old theme of take time to smell the roses, and I’d also advocate that you take time to smell the roses but there aren’t any blooming this time of year, at least not in my woods neck, and you don’t want to be out there smelling around on thorns and dried up stems. That wouldn’t freshen your perspective or help your post-election outlook, and you might get scratched up by those thorns and then infection set in and gangrene and you might end up having to have your nose or whatever amputated and you’d probably get depressed again about that. I’m getting depressed again just waiting for this paragraph to get over with.)

Think about this. Not a single one of your many thousands of ancestors had sinus pills or nasal spray to help them breathe during the long stopped-up nights of the cold and flu season. You do.

Another blessing you can count that your ancestors couldn’t is birth control. All they had was old fuddies preaching abstinence like that was a viable option — in other words, all they had was the same thing today’s schoolchildren have, except instead of earnest preachers preaching it, it’s nowaday a big Bush/evangelical taxpayer-financed public-school franchised-out boondoggle. A pious scam. Between yesterday’s oldtimers who had nothing going in this area except conniving and anxiety and today’s youngsters who have nothing going except conniving and anxiety, you ought to feel mighty lucky.

Think on these things. And as they’re saying now hyperbolically at the fast food, have yourself not just a nice one but a truly wonderful day.

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