My family, friends and I do strange things when we’re nervous. We are a primitive, superstitious people.
We adopt rituals during certain important sporting events. For example, we won’t leave the room when our team is behind. Or we have to sit in a certain way that proved “lucky” in past games. Or we eat certain foods that have helped score points for our team.
Man, you don’t know how hard it is — when your gestures or food preferences or simple conversations have the power to tilt the universe or the gridiron. It makes you very, very careful. See, for example, this earlier post on a group of friends helping to win the Final Four for the University of Kansas last spring: http://www.geezersisters.com/politics/forget-the-free-throws-how-ku-really-won-the-final-four.
Anyway, if we get rendered hysterical and superstitious by a mere sporting event, just imagine what these pre-election polls are doing to us. I would say we’re all cautiously optimistic, but the truth is, we’re afraid to say we’re cautiously optimistic. The universe might frown on that.
The only people in this country who actually believe the Republicans can win this election are the Democrats. I read that quote recently. It was from Tucker Carlson, the Republican operative and bow-tie-wearing twit, I believe. “It’s very touching, really, how much faith they have in us,” he added.
He is so right, for once. We all fear we’re going to lose this one, somehow. No matter the polls, the economy, the incredibly inept McCain campaign — we can still drop the ball the way we did in 2000 and 2004. It’s never too late to fail! We can do it!
I realize, of course, I should never have said the above or written it. Who knows the demonic power of the negativity I’ve just unloosed in the universe? On the other hand, isn’t better and safer to be low-profile and prophylactically pessimistic? Isn’t undue optimism even more toxic?
Hell, I don’t know. It depends on which school of superstition you come from. All I know is, I’m not buying any champagne yet. Not till it’s over.
(Copyright 2008 by Ruth Pennebaker)