Adventures In Politics

I was a freshman in college and my inaugural assignment for the school newspaper was to cover the bi-weekly meeting of the student congress. I had no experience with politics to that point, I had not even voted in so much as a school board election, and my first thought after the gavel had sounded was, “What is wrong with these people?” Everyone was very upset with someone. Everyone was shouting as if they were defending their right to shout. Everyone, that is, except Tipper, the Student Body President. Tipper was a young Republican type with a banker’s hairdo and an eerily unflappable disposition that suggested he knew more than he should. No matter how loudly the mustachioed liberal from the Economics department bellowed at him, Tipper only blinked and tapped his pen on the tabletop.

I asked to be taken off that assignment, but politics would find its way into even the holy House of Creative Writing. I received a call from a stranger who had heard on good reports that I was a writer. Did I want to join the newly forming school literary journal? Why, yes I did. He told me his name and said I should mention that he had sent me when I attended the planning meeting to be held the following week. He repeated that it was important that I mention his name.

The small room where the meeting was to be held was crowded when I arrived. Soon a young woman appeared in the doorway. She was dressed all in black. This was at a time when young women were dressing mostly in bright colors and leg warmers. The woman in black looked unhappy. She said, “So you’re all writers?”

We muttered that we were, but this only upset her further. She marched straight to me. “So you’re a writer?”

I reaffirmed that I was indeed a writer. I told her who had sent me. She actually rolled her eyes at me. I was confused. She was so certain I wasn’t a writer that I began to doubt it myself.

It was then that my benefactor arrived. I recognized him as one of those men from the congress, one who had mostly been screamed at. Now the woman in black was screaming at him. She said that she knew what he was up to. She waved her finger at me and the other fake writers and said she knew he had recruited us only so that he could take over the literary journal. Money was somehow involved. I had to admit that he looked a bit like someone who would hatch such a nefarious scheme.

I snuck out and made my way back to my dorm room and to my mirror. Did I really look that unlike a writer? I had been told once I looked like a sincere politician. I blinked and reminded myself vaguely of Tipper. I stepped quickly away from the mirror. “What is wrong with me?” I thought. I did not know then that this was the worst question you could ever ask yourself.

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