McDemocracy

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Kelley Minars/Flickr

I walk into the church to vote which is, just as a first impression, kind of intimidating on account of me not being allowed in churches for a while after the unpleasantness. But I figure it’s blown over with all the election news drowning out any updates on my fiery campaign to bring back the McRib.

Those aren’t even ribs, my friends told me. The grill marks are like, Sharpied on. But I didn’t care because God isn’t real either but that doesn’t stop people from getting really excited about what kind of animals he would eat or cars he would drive or dictators he would approve of. So I pretended to listen to but set fire to the lawn of the Lutheran Church anyway and my protest got about as much respect as you’d expect even though this isn’t Mother Russia. I mean, I thought so.

So I walk into a different church to do my American duty and the lady sitting at the folding table gets out this checklist and starts asking me questions like, “Have you had sex with a man who’s had sex with a man since 1978?”

And I’m like, “Whoa. Am I in the wrong place? Because I’m not here to give blood and make a difference in anybody’s life, I just want to vote, man.” And even though she’s not a man, she gets what I’m saying but tells me that yeah, this is how voting works now.

So I’m like, “Uh, I don’t have my diary or anything with me but I could maybe call my dad?” And she says that’d probably be okay if she could talk to him afterward. So I call him up and I think he’s pissed because he was drinking milk and had to answer the phone and he likes his milk at a certain temperature and can tell that it’s going to get too warm during our conversation and he’ll have to throw it out. He also hates wasting food but, in situations like that, what else are you going to do?

“I’ll make this fast but you might want to put the milk down so your hand doesn’t warm up the glass while I’m talking,” I say.

He sighs like, “Duh, I already thought of that,” but I can hear the glass clinking on the TV tray so I know that he took my advice.

“Have I had sex with a man who’s had sex with a man since 1978?” I ask him. And he doesn’t know offhand but he says he can check my diary which is just sitting next to him on the couch anyway.

“Okay,” I say. “Maybe start with the summer of 2007 when I was being really self-destructive and had bad self-esteem because you and mom broke up.”

My dad agrees to look but suggests that maybe my bad self-esteem came from eating too many McRibs and getting kind of unhealthy and greasy and whining all the time which happened during the spring before and is the reason that he and mom broke up anyway so it amounted to the same thing.

“Whatever!” I say to hurry him along because a line of my neighbors is forming behind me.

“What if you used a condom?” my dad asks and I can hear him flipping pages, probably thinking about his milk the whole time.

I cover the phone and ask the lady behind the table and she says, “Better count ‘em all, just in case.”

So I tell my dad and he says, according to my diary, I haven’t had sex with anyone ever, but not for lack of trying.

“That’s what I thought,” I tell him. “Just making sure. Now tell this lady for me please”

So he does, then hangs up and I wait for the woman to ask me the next question but she says that’s it and I can just go into the booth and cast my vote then get my sticker, which is why I’m here in the first place.

“Okay,” I say, suddenly kind of nervous. “Who’s running again?”

She says that everything I need to know is written on the ballot so I head inside and fill in the boxes so that they make little lines like grill marks and I’m thinking, like, that arson thing was really the wrong way to go about the McRib issue and I’m glad that I’ve grown up a bit and can vote for what I want in this great country that gave us fast food and a 45 day countdown to Christmas and little stickers to reward us for doing the right thing.

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Molly McDonald is an Iowa native with abuncha college degrees and pretty big muscles. She has one published book of poetry and one cat. Coincidence?! Yes. Contact her at mccardoor [at] gmail [dot] com.