Monday, June 4, 2012

They’ll just have to throw the book at me

I’ve come to a painful decision, and my answer is no. If you’ve been following this year’s national elections, you know it’s a very divided race. Giving both sides their deference, it’s a contest between shameless power and shameless wealth. Since I have neither, I was the obvious happy medium—or so insisted my candidacy’s myriad supporters on Facebook.

We all know, after all, how thoroughly a potential candidate’s every past moment is sure to be prospected. Somewhere in all that gold, there has to be some mud. So, with a heavy heart, I spare my supporters further disappointment and, while I’m at it, put legions of fiction writers out of work. If anyone is going to reveal my sordid past, it’s going to be me.

First, let me get the obvious one out of the way and admit it. I’m sorry, yes, I did kick my mother. Repeatedly. I did it while she was in a weakened state, and I thought nothing of it.

What the media won’t reveal, no matter how extensive their coverage, is one important detail: I was in her womb.

Which brings us to the other one, and I might as well give you the press version first—especially since I think the statute of limitations has run out. In short, I was a burglar. I entered a college campus with the sole intention of breaking into a building for the purpose of theft. And once I found the building unguarded, I smashed my way in with tools I’d purchased over the Internet. I found what I was looking for in its metal casing and snatched it. Within minutes I was miles away with the spoils of my crime, plotting my next caper.

I would have had to be an evil genius to purchase burglary tools over the Internet in 1980. But that isn’t the only way that what you would have read differs from what actually happened, and here’s the scoop. I did not enter the college campus with the sole intention of breaking into a building; that came later. It was a weekend, and I was in the middle of finals. I needed access into a building, I explained in detail to my college’s security guard in charge, and asked as reasonably as possible to be allowed in for a few moments.

Public servant that he was, his salary paid by my CUNY tuition and resident income tax, he gave the expected answer: No. “Come back on Monday,” he said. But I had more finals then, I explained, and needed what I needed today. He threw up his hands.

Soon after, I found myself sitting on the steps of a classroom building, casing another that was a few hundred feet away. It was one of several single-story temporary buildings Queens College had at the time—no air conditioning—and I was guessing at least one window had been left open. But a college-security sedan idled just outside the building…five minutes, then ten. Maybe the guard had gotten a warning call on his radio?

Eventually the guard drove off. I waited till he was out of sight and walked slowly past the little building. With a glance over my shoulder, I ran to its side. The window I needed was locked, but another wasn’t. I shoved it open and fell into the room. I listened for company, the only sound my heavy breathing. There was no time to lose! I ran from the room, down the hall and into the room I needed: the classroom where I’d had a final exam the day before. I looked under the desk where I’d sat—nothing. I looked toward the front of the room. Yes

In the trashcan was my multi-subject notebook, which I’d left behind the day before. Presuming I’d return to the car without being apprehended, I would soon resume studying for Monday’s tests.

So there you have the real story, and I have back my private life. No more campaigning, no more worries. And besides, even if the statute of limitations hadn’t run out, I could hardly be charged for burglary and theft in a building that didn’t exist anymore. Right?

But excuse me, someone’s at the door. A few people. And what are those bright flashing lights outside? Hmmm…on second thought, considering the charges, maybe I’m back in the race after all—for Congress.

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